Take the 2-minute tour ×
Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question already has an answer here:

I am an MS student and I also have a part time job. I am facing the same producticity problem that has bothered me during my Bsc.

As to organization, I have a calendar on my desktop showing important events like exam\homework and the rest of the studies related tasks I keep in my head because there are not too many of them (although they are very time consuming e.g. reading chapters XYZ from book W)

Getting a degree in general is quite a burden and demands mastering complex concepts daily. This may be enhancing my productivity problem. What happens can be descriped in the following steps:

  1. I have a set of tasks to complete with various deadlines (homework, study material etc.).
  2. Before time pressures me I tend to lose focus. Then I end up doing something more attractive like watch a movie\series.
  3. Once I've had one "portion" of fun (say an episode of some series), I can't force myself to make the shift towards studying. The task at hand seems so complex or even scary, especially compared to the immediate satisfaction received by watching the episode.
  4. I end up having more portions of fun with little or no studying at all.
  5. Time begins to pressure as I've wasted days that were initially planned for task completion.
  6. Deadlines get very close. I am then forced to engage the tasks.
  7. I work under a lot of pressure, with little sleep and the outcome is not as good as I would've liked in the best case. (low exam score, pulled an all-nighter to manage the h.w. deadline etc.)

This has happend to me over and over again for as long as I remember myself. Even when the outcome is destructive(and it often is) it does not prevent the situation from happening the next time. Juggling studies with a job makes deadlines much shorter so I feel pressured much sooner but the whole process still happens.

I would love some advice.

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Dennis S., Gruber, Jan Doggen, 0x6d64, Rory Alsop Jun 18 at 22:58

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

3  
You've described procrastination. There are already several Q&A on procrastination: see here and here. –  Mei Dec 30 '11 at 19:52

2 Answers 2

Once I've had one "portion" of fun (say an episode of some series), I can't force myself to make the shift towards studying. The task at hand seems so complex or even scary, especially compared to the immediate satisfaction received by watching the episode.

I (as many many others) have had the exact same problem. What works for me is to start with something small and well defined, such as reading a a few pages of a relevant chapter. Don't think "Learn chapter 12-23", think "Read the first 5 pages of chapter 12". Reward yourself after accomplishing the task. Repeat.

share|improve this answer

David Allen talks about this phenomenon at length in GTD; it's one of the central themes of his book, which you should read to see if you thing would help (or at least peruse the questions on this site.

But the tl;dr is that "tasks" seem daunting when they're insufficiently decomposed. What you really probably have are a set of projects full of lots of little, not scary tasks.

Try breaking one "task" down into the real tasks and see if you can gin up the motivation to do one of those things that you're in the right place and have the right energy to accomplish. Little successes breed motivation and confidence.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.