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Get started and keep going Overcoming procrastination at university. This workshop was originally produced at the . Overview of the workshop This workshop aims to give you some strategies to overcome the dreaded ‘writers’ block’. It includes: . Reasons why we procrastinate
Get started and keep goingOvercoming procrastination at university This workshop was originally produced at the
Overview of the workshopThis workshop aims to give you some strategies to overcome the dreaded ‘writers’ block’. It includes: • Reasons why we procrastinate • How to get started and keep yourself going • Dealing with distractions
A bit of fun to start you thinking… What stops you from studying? From washing up to bathing the dog, checking your emails to inventing the perfect sandwich… we’ve all got our procrastination tactics. Working in pairs: • What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done, or heard of someone else doing, to avoid studying? • Discuss with your partner, then share these with the whole group – a prize for the best!
Why do we procrastinate?What stops us from studying? Procrastination is very common – and not just in students! One common reason this occurs: • While ideas are in our heads, they are still fluid and not open to judgement by others • Once they have been written down, they are fixed and in the public domain – they can be judged • Being judged provokes anxieties about failure
Thinking your way out…Be sure of what you’re meant to do • If you’re not absolutely clear about what you’re meant to be doing, you can’t know if you’re doing it properly. • Read the question carefully and set it in the context of your module – thinking about why you are being asked to discuss this will help to make things clear. • Check marking criteria, information in your handbook or on your VLE, talk to other students. • Ask your tutor if you’re still not sure – you won’t be the only one who is unclear. Ask specific rather than general questions.
Thinking your way out… Consider the scope of your assignment • A 1st year assignment will not be expected to look like a 3rd year assignment, and an undergrad assignment will not be expected to look like an academic journal article! • Word counts and deadlines give you important information about the expected scope of your work. • Remember that there is very seldom a single right answer. Your job is to justify your choice of answer with evidence. • To produce the perfect assignment, you would need infinite time and resources. That is not the task you’ve been set.
Thinking your way out… Don’t aim to be right – aim to learn • Write a draft to get your ideas down, then build it up with more evidence and critical thinking. • Try not to read and write at the same time. Do some reading to get your general arguments straight – write them up, then return to your texts to fill in gaps, add evidence and build your arguments. • Set a date when you will stop editing – and a reward. • Remember - you are aiming for the best work you can achieve within the time and word-limits, with accessible resources.
How to get started and keep goingStrategies that help get you past the block • Break your task down into its component tasks and tackle one at a time – tick them off to show your progress. • You don’t have to start at the beginning when writing up – start with whichever section is clearest to you. • If you’re not sure how to write what you want to say, think what question you’re trying to answer – then answer it. • If you get stuck, try explaining your work to a friend. Encourage them to ask questions. TRY THIS NOW…
Dealing with distractions It’s not just students who suffer…
Dealing with distractionsWorking out some possible solutions Working in small groups: • List three things on a post-it that distract you from study. • Hand these round the rest of the class, passing them on until do not know who has your list. • Discuss ways of dealing with the distractions listed in your group, then share with the whole group.
One last task……decide what you are going to change Working in small groups, or whole group: • Write down one thing that you’re going to do differently • Share it with the rest of the group • Once you’ve said it, you have to stick to it!
For more on time management and other study practices... LearnHigher time management webpages For guides and exercises on all aspects of time management www.learnhigher.ac.uk/learningareas/timemanagement/home.htm The LearnHigher network brings together the expertise and experience of 16 universities to produce research-informed support for study practices. www.learnhigher.ac.uk