Motivate me! I can't stop procrastinating!

I have an exam on Friday, and I haven’t even opened the books yet! It wouldn’t be so bad unless I had cut class almost all the time. We have three hour lectures, I go there, and I am so bored and fed up with our stupid professor who can’t ever get to the point, so I leave after one hour.

So it’s starting to freak me out. And the more freaked out I get, the less I seem able to do. Why do you think I’m posting? My computer shouldn’t even be on!

Please, help me! I need to feel as if there’s even a point of starting now, or else I will feel like “well, I blew it anyway, might as well clean the drain in the bathroom”. And I hate cleaning the drain. See how desperate I am?

The classic procrastinator trick is to give yourself either heroic status, or a great excuse.

That is, if you suck at this test, you can say you weren’t dumb, you just didn’t study enough! That’s all! And if you pass the sucker? Then you’re some sort of genius because you pulled it off despite having almost no time to prepare!

This is the story of my own life.

Accept that you’re past that point. You’ve got the excuse if you screw up, and you’ve assured you’ll be some sort of supergoddess if you don’t. It’s been established. Now crack the book and get going. Do what you can. Skim a lot, read the first part and last part of every chapter for the details and main points. Take notes. Give yourself a 15-minute break every now and then to let your brain process the latest info, and then get back to it.

And in the future, take a crossword puzzle to class instead of skipping. When it gets boring, tune out. BUT DON’T LEAVE. Being there means you’ll be apt to catch more, to take note when things get interesting. You’ll also have a better chance at getting someone to lend you their notes to fill in the holes. And you’ll be less likely to offend the professor.

If YOu DoN’T DO wELl oN YOuR eXaM… ThE KId DIeS! (imagine magazine clippings)

OK, let’s be serious here. I’m sure that all of the dopers value education and hard work and are more than willing to send you motivational tid-bits during this time. Be sure to check this thread every hour, on the hour to see if anyone posted anything like that. You may want to check other threads and even other forums, in case someone a “Motivational Thoughts for Soda” thread somewhere.

Although I should try to motivate you I know that I’ll find a better way than the one I’m thinking of right now and there’s loads of time to go anyway.

Actually, the most important question right now is “At what time is your test on Friday?” I never studied two days before a test. I always studied on the day of the test, or the night before if it was an early test.

NOTE: I did fail two classes during my college career because of this. (I took one of them a second time and got an A) So following that, the best thing to motivate you would be to fail the class and have to take it a second time.

Eh, I’ll motivate you tomorrow.

Dumb jokes aside, procrastination was a serious problem for me in college. I’d only study the night before an exam, and I wouldn’t even start writing research papers until the night before. I was proud of the last undergraduate paper I ever wrote- I started it a day and a half before it was due, rather than just 12 hours before or so.

What worked for me was to set aside a HUGE chunk of time. You only need four hours of studying? Set aside twenty. Say that you’re going to get through one chapter of the textbook every hour (or one page of the paper, whatever), and then gradually spread it out. Procrastinate, but make sure you have enough time to actually get it done.

It’d take me a lot of time to do something that I could normally do in ten minutes. Sure, clean the shower drain, or write an email to someone you haven’t heard from in three years, but stay at least theoretically in study-mode.

Reward yourself for each little milestone. Re-read that first chapter of the book? Take a break and watch a half hour of TV. Read the next chapter of the book. Go clean the drain, and count the holes in the ceiling. Read another chapter of the book.

Realize that eight hours have gone by, and you could have read the book in two. Get distracted by navel lint.

Read another chapter of the book, determined to go all the way through this one. Compare notes. Read. Daydream about how much cooler life would be if you had a million dollars. Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?

Repeat until the exam. Cross your fingers and hope for the best, and resolve that you’ll change your study habits, but know in your heart that you never will. (Sigh. So many missed opportunities.)

Or, try to find someone who has good study habits, and attach yourself like a leech.

Hi there, Soda.

As for motivation to study for Friday’s test - the first is: You’ll feel better the moment you start studying. A lot of the dread you feel is making you scared to even find out what you don’t know yet and that you do need to know by Friday. Here’s the good thing. EVERY single thing you learn now puts you in a better position than you’re in RIGHT NOW. See, I think you’re afraid of walking in there KNOWING that you only know about 25% of what you need to know. Forget that - we aren’t shooting for 100% here. On Friday morning, you’ll be wishing you had at least learned 1/2 of what you need to know - ANYTHING more than what you do know if you didn’t study.

Now, that said - there’s an obvious question here. What subject is this? Is it Calculus? History? That makes a big difference. If it is a subject that you really can’t learn on your own, then find someone who has studied and ask them to go through the highlights for you - and as a review for them. I swear, I passed some classes strictly on good buddies like that, when I had to.

Here is what I did in college to get me through some reading assignments. The trick is that you can’t let the task get so large that you dread even looking at it and finding out just how much you need to do. Let’s say I had 30 pages of physiology to read 3 days a week.

I would literally write down on a page of paper, the numbers between 247 and 277 (the page numbers I had to read) and after I read EACH PAGE, I’d cross off the corresponding number. TOTALLY ridiculous but made me feel like I"d accomplished something after every page. I liked seeing that I’d done something. It was gratifying. YOu need to break down the tasks you don’t enjoy into small enough little things which give you some sort of gratification so that you’ll actually do it. For me, I got gratification after every page (sometimes, after 5 pages, I’d take a 5 minute walk or chat) so it was easy to say, “Come on…one more page.”

Most - you’ll feel better and IN CONTROL when you do these things. The thing I dread is opening bills and knowing all my finacial information. I hate all of it. The only way I get myself to not completely avoid it is to take complete control of it by mapping when every single bill is due and keeping track of exactly how much money I have. I feel FAR more in control and don’t dread a single bill because I know exactly what to expect. Now I don’t have that sick to my stomach feeling about the whole thing.


Here’s what would really work for me…
Take the keyboard and leave it at my friend’s house. And make sure she realizes she can’t give it back until Friday at 6 pm. Better give her the mouse as well…
Honestly, I have skimmed one of the books. I’m a fast reader (when I want to). So now I’m going to treat myself to 45 minutes of television and some chocolate pudding.

It’s Linguistics; Language Acquisition. Not so hard really and in fact very interesting, but I really have a problem getting motivated to go to class when the professor really sucks. And I mean it. She was absolutely worthless.
Anyway, thanks for the tips you guys. And for the laughs!

slaps soda’s ass

I found out an interesting thing when looking through my daughter’s college textbooks. Her sociology text and one of her history texts had websites that outlined the chapters. The introduction to the books, or forewards, or someplace else might tell you where the site is. Another thing I found at the back of one book was a CD-rom diskette taped to the inside cover that outlines the text and hits the high points. She has since been using the computer itself to study, and flips back and forth between the study guides and other things she wants to do on-line. Hopefully some of your texts will have this option also.

Otherwise, maybe you can use some search engines to come up with some similar material that your textbooks cover. I hope this will be helpful to you.

Good luck!

----:)/ x o x o x

Sit yerself down, crack dem books, and don’t come up fer air 'til you got it all down cold, ‘cause if you keep this kind o’ stuff up, you’ll flunk out of college and end up working somewhere that won’t let you read SDMB! :eek: