Forget giving up procrastination

If you’ve previously resolved to procrastinate less, then you’re probably wasting your time. Instead try making a positive resolution and breaking it down into small actions you can take that will change your habit of putting things off. For example:

•   change the date of your essay deadlines so that you’re submitting two days earlier than the actual deadline - literally change them so that you write down the earlier date. Even though you know it’s a trick, psychologically you’ll commit to the earlier date and meet the actual deadline with ease.

•   Break every task into small components and do one a day. Reading lists, essays, modules, assignments, they can all be tackled a bit at a time and the process of achieving a small goal will propel you into the next piece of the task.

•   Start a bullet journal - while this may seem another way of procrastinating, there is a body of evidence to show that the satisfaction achieved by filling in a student bullet journal, alongside the structure that it imposes on what can otherwise become a chaos of tasks, fun and long meaningful conversations with your new friends, leads to greater success in completing activities.

Be braver - once a week

Most of us make New Year’s Resolutions because we want to improve ourselves or the world, and that’s really admirable. All too often though, our commitments are too much for us - we sign up for a marathon and crash out on the first training run, we give up sugar and fall into the Haribo trap halfway through our first essay. So it’s much easier to get brave on a weekly basis. You might:

1.     Introduce yourself to a fellow student every Wednesday

2.     Use a tutor’s office hours to ask a question or clarify a concept every Friday

3.     Cook a vegan meal every weekend

4.     Pick up litter every Sunday morning.

All these things make your life (and the world) better and don’t require a huge, frightening change of lifestyle that it’s impossible to maintain.

Cut down on social media

Spending time online is part of student life, but a few small rules and suggestions can stop it becoming a massive time drain and make it into a rewarding part of a full student life. For example:

•   Commit to never using your phone while walking. Tough, but possible. It will expose you to sights and sounds you’d never otherwise come across and who knows, the love of your life might be waiting for you on your next walk. What’s guaranteed is you’ll never end up on YouTube as one of those funny ‘student falls over while texting’ videos!

•   Swap Facebook for podcasts. While you’re studying or just relaxing, a great podcast can introduce you to new ideas or even give you the push you need to take up a new hobby or interest.

•   Go outside. Being outside is better for your health and much better for your social life. Simply take a ten minute walk or drink your latte outside the coffee shop instead of inside - you’ll be much less likely to sink into social media apathy and you’ll get fresh air and exercise too.