A Procrastination Problem
Posted on Dec 17th, 2018
I figured I should start out only sharing the positive things, it wouldn’t make sense if I shared certain things I struggled with that weren’t about me alone. You will see at the end I can suggest the ways I found that worked better for me, perhaps it can help you too. Images are scaled slightly down, don’t really need to share my scribbles in HD.
There is only one thing that I ‘passed’ in terms of what has happened this year (not completely to do with subjects at university). I have found that I need to use completely different methods to study, never mind work on personal projects. Sure, I started making my studies an important ‘time sink’ in January. ‘Time sink’ is literally where I could have it, I didn’t allow myself to do anything besides studying mostly. If it wasn’t studying I would only allow myself to use minimal time for it. It just happened to be after this middle year ‘holiday’ I finally found what I needed to do.
The Initial Difficulty
At first, I started studying like I used to, finish assignments, pick up books and make minimized study notes. It felt like it should still be all I will need to do to study. It was paying off for how I studied in the past, it should be an awesome choice. With everything I got through in the studying, I went ‘oh, I can remember that!’
It wasn’t an awesome choice.
When the first few tests came back I could immediately see it wasn’t successful. I still didn’t have a complete understanding of how I should bring back my success in studies. This turned out to be the most difficult addition I learned I had in my life. Because of my struggle in the first term, I realized I needed to find a new method to study. I couldn’t rely on my short- or long-term memory completely.
I then spent the starting time in the second term rewriting the textbooks. Over and over, paragraph by paragraph. Starting on the next page, write it 4 times. Tomorrow, start a new page, rewrite the first page 3 times. The next day, start a new page, yesterdays 3 times, the day before twice, you can see how this went. It felt like I was wasting paper, and it turns out I was, unfortunately. Despite the feeling that I was having a more reliable short-term memory, it wasn’t completely successful.
The mid-year exam stress was compounded by the fact I wasn’t completely believed for getting exam concessions. I struggled to get enough reliable documents to prove my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). I initially wasn’t going to write an exam in a private venue, I wasn’t going to have extra time. The dean of science stepped in and he pointed it out that I wasn’t fabricating my TBI. A day or two before the first exam, with certain marks having slight delays, I was told I can have the private exam venue and extra time. I roughly was close to removing the stress for the first exam because of that. I have to say, unfortunately, that it turned out for timing that having the extra time and a private venue wasn’t completely successful afterward, that just isn’t the main point.
I wrote the exams, taking the extra time into account so I was as slow as I could be. For each exam, I made sure I finished the exam with 5 minutes spare to double check my answers (5 minutes from the end of the extra time). I’m sure you can understand that with the struggle being from long and short-term memory loss I should have seen it coming.
I passed the first half of Computer Science with a 50, I felt I had the struggle mostly with the Web history we were studying, though it could be from the functional programming. I probably should have checked up on that way more. I have the simple caveat that I figure out I should have looked at (or done) something completely different, long after it was handed in. The Math marks were abysmal for me.
The Mid Year Holiday
It was stressful to finally be at home and receive the marks. After waking up at 5:30-6:00 am every day, getting up and studying (well, rewriting notes and textbooks) till 6:00-7:00 pm I rarely had any free time during the day. My friends could see me in the evenings, I couldn’t do much about that. The results showed I shouldn’t have trusted ‘remembering’ things for a few hours after rewriting them over and over. I also stuck to those times in the day as that was the time of the day I could build my memories more reliably.
I took a look at MIT Open Courseware and several other similar sources. I found that seeing several different lectures was helping a bit. It just wasn’t enough yet.
I had roughly a month holiday in the middle of the year, and 3 or 4 days a week I spent ‘studying’. I was trying my best to find a way I could hold things in my memory. I tried several ways, and eventually found the reliable way to remember things was literally by redoing past papers. They didn’t need to be from Rhodes, they just needed to be past papers in the subject.
On the argumentative side, past papers weren’t always shared with us for all the subjects. Some people argue for, or against, that. My answer is that if you need something you can just spend the time it takes to find them from external sources. It took quite a long time, however, I used several fascinating Google searches for documents and helpers. If I didn’t have past papers in the subjects I wouldn’t be able to do pretty much anything. The final searching gave me past exam papers that fit the subjects perfectly. Thankfully it was possible to find past papers from other universities and sources for the subjects we were doing.
Using the papers from that search I studied as much as I could for the tests, things were getting exciting. My average extremely low mark for Math was unfortunate, so bad that I made sure I did things to pick it up. I increased it on the first test for Complex Analysis, then picked it up a bit more on the second test. Sure, ‘picked up’ meaning the fact the marks were amazing compared to my low marks before. It still wasn’t really getting to a pass but I was excited, I was finally picking my studies back up.
Sure, it is unfortunate that I was struggling, but fortunately I have found what I need to rely on to successfully learn things again.
Obviously, the results were unfortunately quite harsh at the end of the year, I was told after the first half of the year I would be excluded if I didn’t pass more than half of my subjects.
I, unfortunately, didn’t.
I haven’t been excluded though (yet), the dean is still helping me finish my studies. People haven’t understood the fact that I share, legitimately, that the university is doing absolutely everything that it can to help me. I just can’t currently go back to studying yet, I am clearly not close enough in my recovery yet. It isn’t good for me to rush things like this, despite the fact that I really want them. At least it is still important to have these results, even though they aren’t as good as I wanted.
I had to take a look at everything I did, and everything I was going to do. Yes, constantly throughout the year. At the start of this year, a book was suggested for me, Switch on your Brain, Dr. Caroline Leaf. I have ‘read’ through it several times this year. Wherever and whenever I could. I share ‘read’ because I still struggle with reading. Not reading the words, just concentrating on one book constantly. I learned a lot about how I was feeling and how things looked for me.
From what I, slowly but surely, learned from that book I looked around and finally found one to fit with the ‘procrastination’ when I
The Suggested Planning
This is to also help you beat procrastination if you need a new way to try.
This can help other people as well, especially if they struggle with certain aspects of their lives. This is now what I have to stick to for all plans, it has been working and should hopefully continue to do so. If I ever start working again, this is exactly how I will still map my daily plans. It’s not something I necessarily like doing, however, it has been paying off. It is the reason I actually completed my assignments, actually studied for tests, etc.
As you can see in the image above I have mapped what I am planning on doing and where I am going. I need to update a few days with what happened and what was planned. The planning has completely changed now that I received my university results. This is an excel document I use with automatic hiliting for ‘R:’ (record), ‘U:’ (upload), ‘(blog)’ and ‘[Done]’ as you can see. I have swapped this with the diary shown below, I can do more and have more space. I specifically chose excel since after doing things on pages I mapped on a wall I learned I don’t enjoy a messy wall of ‘what to do’, or to clean it up at all. You can see in the photos it becomes a scribbling mess for me.
This is the reliable way for me to beat off any procrastination. I’ve found I can rely on myself to read the calendar regularly (not that the excel is a real calendar). As you saw in the photo’s above, I pretty much tried as much as I could. When I make plans and write them into my custom calendar I can reliably stick to them. This obviously brings the new planning points (though they aren’t necessarily shown on the image above, it would be nice to hear the thoughts on some of them):
- Bring back the weekly schedule for YouTube uploads in January (I have remapped what we will be doing)
- Add in 2 game development project plans (SokoBomber 2, and a roguelike. I just want to start finishing projects)
- Completing my NaNoWriMo book from this year
- Finding a job (eventually, though there isn’t a rush at all)
- Figure out what to do for the 24th and 31st December blog posts (I have thankfully started 24th on NaNoWriMo, it feels nice)
You are welcome to add thoughts and opinions on all of this, I will just need to share the plans to help stick to them. Otherwise, I will unfortunately procrastinate, I don’t like it when I do, I just can’t completely control myself yet. If people can share what they would like to hear I can share things.
The blog post on the 24th will most likely be sharing more about my NaNo book, and hopefully, it will be more complete. I am building a tool to use for writing and editing, literally to have the features I prefer. If you have suggestions to help me with editing it, I am eager to learn. I keep swapping from the third person to the first person story, back and forth. I need to try my best to make it all first person for starters.
The YouTube channel happens to be a decent relaxing hobby. It took ages for me to find ways to keep myself relaxed and comfortable. As you will have seen above I literally mapped days into several hour-long study sessions. Study for an hour, have a 15-minute break. Mostly sticking to Minecraft it worked perfectly for me, I had things planned I needed to do. Studying for an hour, record Minecraft for 15 minutes and do some work on builds and things.
Then when I’m done in the evening it was literally relaxing to go over the little bit I recorded. Using the calendar planning I would make episodes on specific dates, and then upload them. Things are currently completely different for me, you don’t need to worry about that. I would appreciate any help on the growth of the channel, it would be awesome to become a successful YouTuber!
I can let you know, for free, that if you have a reliable method for whatever you need to do, it can definitely help you defeat any procrastination you have. You should find the methods you need to follow, there are always
Whatever you choose to do, or need to do, just do whatever you need to for you to never procrastinate. You will find everything feels better because of that. Sure, I didn’t completely pass at university this year, you can understand that I, however, defeated my procrastination which helped me improve my results (slowly, but surely).