When Coffee Isn’t Enough | The Student Pocket Guide
by Charlotte Brimstone

Procrastination comes in many weird and wonderful forms such as a workout, cooking, walks, watching YouTube videos, spinning on your chair, staring at the ceiling… Then it’s 5am. The Nescafe is running low and you’re still knackered from all that ‘thinking’. Just how can you motivate yourself to get the assignment done?

Start Early
Yes, we say it every year and it never happens. But even if you try to just get one reference a week or 100 words a day done, you’ll really cut down the stress and late nights when the deadline dawns. But better late than never, so if starting early doesn’t seem achievable…

Set a Schedule
The hardest part is sticking to it so don’t fill every hour of your day with coursework sessions. One or two hours of solid work is more than enough to make a solid dent in that dreaded essay. Consider whether you work better in the morning, afternoon or evening. Set yourself a word count target and have a break every half hour so the studying isn’t as tedious.

Cut Down the Partying
Just cut it down, don’t cut it out. You need your night out to clear your brain and have fun with your friends; it is partly what university is about anyway.

Remember to stick to one type of alcohol and down a few pints of water before you go to bed to feel free from a hangover in the morning. Then at 9am, you’ll feel revitalised from a good laugh with your mates and ready to crack on with the academic part of your life.

Eat Right
You know that feeling where you’ve scoffed down a whole Dominos and just want to starfish the floor and melt into it? That won’t help you with your coursework unfortunately. Cooking a decent, well balanced meal will not only give you a break from your coursework but should give you healthy energy to help you concentrate.

It becomes procrastination when you’ve eaten 6 well balanced meals, taken 3 trips to Tesco and made 15 rounds of toast all before lunchtime.

Eat Tactically
Believe it or not, it is a fact that chocolate helps you concentrate and handle challenging tasks with more ease. A study carried out by David Kennedy from Northumbria University, which you can read about here, confirms this. If science says so, it must be true.

Also, chew gum. Another study by Kate Morgan revealed that chewing gum helps you concentrate for longer when carrying out tasks that require continuous monitoring. Chocolate and chewing gum could be the difference between a 2:1 and a 1st – I bet you’ve never heard that before!

Do Some Exercise
Having all your energy stored up can make you feel tired and stodgy, which can affect your concentration. Do 20 jumping jacks now and again or run up and down the stairs – maybe tell your housemates first so they don’t think you’ve gone mad. This will get your legs moving and blood flowing, making you feel more energized.

Keep Clean
Taking a bath or a shower can wake you up as well as keep you clean. When the work has piled up some students forget about basic hygiene, but who doesn’t feel much more refreshed after a good scrub and freshened hair?

Charlotte Brimstone is a fellow procrastinator and coffee addict who blogs for GKBC Academy to improve her writing skills for essays, exams and the future world of work.