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Anyone who is, or was once a student, will agree that university life comes with no set routine. You are free to wander around wherever you want, whenever you want, regardless of whether you have lectures or seminars to attend. Yes, what everyone quickly learns is that university isn’t school; there is no 9am-3pm structure anymore and with no one to chase you up if you fail to attend a lesson, many play truant. I would be lying if I said I’ve never missed a lecture. Whilst this has occasionally been the fault of my alarm clock failing to go off in the morning, I must be truthful and admit, it has mostly been due to laziness. Everyone has had days when getting up, showered, changed and out the door has seemed too difficult a task to carry out, especially at 8.30 in the morning. Days when crashing on the sofa with a duvet and watching endless re-runs of Friends sounded more appealing than having to listen to a guest lecturer drone on about something you neither understood, nor cared about. As a third year student myself, I am accustomed to wasting my free time, doing everything but what I am supposed to be doing. We all know the feeling of staring at a blank Word document on the computer, desperately wishing you could be somewhere else. 2,000 words to write, but all you can think about is getting up and making yourself a sandwich. Before you know it, ‘a sandwich’ turns into a Harry Potter marathon, and your Word count sits firmly at zero. You’re perfectly aware that you should be studying, but Harry’s name has just come out of the Goblet of Fire, so you convince yourself you’ll tackle the workload tomorrow by dooming yourself to an all-nighter. Procrastination really does deter productivity, and can seriously affect your grades in the long run. Unless you’re one of them students who can sleep through university and still come out with A grades, here are a three ways to limit procrastination and use it to benefit your studies: 1. Create a plan or To Do list – Sometimes jotting down what it is you need to do and when, can make life all that bit easier. Knowing when you are free can help you get tasks done more efficiently. For e.g. if you have a deadline on Monday but are working your part time job on the weekend, maybe spending time during the week in the library completing the assignment is better than tackling it after those long weekend shifts when all you crave is sleep. 2. Take small bites – Getting a head start on your assignments weeks before they are due may sound like the nerds’ way of working, but it will really benefit you when you get closer to the hand-in date. Researching your ideas, scribbling down essay information in your notepad and even writing parts of your assignment down in advance, will allow you to proofread, develop and improve your work later. Students who start their work late often realise they have bitten off more than they can chew and often fail to re-check their work for errors, which can cost them the high marks they could have achieved. Preparation goes a long way! 3. Relax and Recover –Your brain and body need rest, so yes- an hour powernap after university is fine, but make sure this doesn’t turn into five. It all boils down to your work schedule. If you start with enough time, you can afford to relax or even go out in the evenings. Many students find that working in short bursts allows them to better complete their work, and they make more progress than if they were to study for hours at a time. So allocate a time for your work and plan breaks in between to keep your mind fresh. It works out better in the long run.