Just Get Started

With midterm week behind us, final papers and assignments are looming; it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. This inability to get started is often the root of procrastination. Once we hit a steady stride with a project, completing it is much less daunting. But how do we hit that steady stride? Just start walking.

Whether it’s studying for a test, conducting research, or writing a term paper, the most difficult part is starting. It’s hard to overcome the mental block that keeps us from sitting down to begin. Here are a couple tips to help you get started:

  • Habit Stacking: combine something you don’t want to do (starting your project) with something you love (listening to music, going to a favorite coffeeshop, having a cup of tea, etc.). This tricks your mind into wanting to start your assignment.
  • Cut out distractions: it’s a lot easier to put off homework if you can be doing something else. You may need to delete social media from your phone until you finish your to do list, or leave your apartment to get work done so you don’t busy yourself with cleaning.
  • Accountability: find a classmate and hold each other accountable to getting your work done. Whether you sit across the table from each other or text each other updates, having someone to encourage you is very helpful! Knowing someone is checking up on your progress can motivate you to get started.
  • Prioritize done over perfect: your goal is to start your paper, not write an award-winning essay on your first draft. Reduce pressure on yourself and just get started, even if it’s not your best work. After you’ve begun your work flow, you can revise and edit.

Once you’ve begun your assignment, it becomes easier to manage. The key is to just to begin. And if you’re putting off studying to read this article, time’s up. It’s time to get started.