Do you ever wish you had superpowers to help you stamp out your to-do list? Time travel would give you more hours in your overbooked day. Super speed would help you examine and diagnose patients faster. And x-ray vision would eliminate the wait for imaging studies. Then maybe you’d be able to squeeze exam prep into your busy day—or maybe not.
People procrastinate for various reasons, and it doesn’t always have to do with lack of time. If you find yourself avoiding exam prep, you are far from alone. But how do you overcome your tendency to delay studying and actually get more done? The prescription for procrastination depends on the “why” behind it, so try out one of these 5 tips to finally put a stop to your procrastination.
Schedule Study Time
Add study time into your calendar to actually get it done. Scheduling is not really a procrastination issue—it can just be hard to do! Prioritize setting up a time for yourself to study and treat it as a regular appointment. Enter it into your calendar or planner, and don't miss it!
Planning ahead makes it much more likely that you will actually spend the time studying. And if you prioritize studying now, your future self will be eternally grateful on exam day. If you're short on time (who isn't?), don't worry! Our learning tools are designed to cut out the clutter and help you review exactly what you need to know without wasting your time on any extra fluff.
Manage Your Anxiety
Manage your stress and anxiety, and you will naturally procrastinate less. Anxiety and procrastination can be a vicious cycle: You avoid a task you’re anxious about, which compounds your anxiety and makes you procrastinate more.
It’s normal to be concerned about your performance on a high-stakes test, and you can work through it. Some great ways to help manage your stress about the exam are to start studying early, write down how you are feeling, think positively, take care of yourself, and focus on being mindful.
As you get better at managing your anxiety, you'll also get better at managing your tendency to procrastinate.
Stop Dreading It
You don't have to hate studying! When you are not looking forward to a task, you are more likely to put it off. Maybe you find study boring, frustrating, or unrewarding because you associate it with monotonous reading and re-reading. That's no way to learn!
We've developed the MedStudy Method to help you actively learn with Board-Style Q&A, Flashcards, Video Lectures, and more. Our learning tools work together to help you build better recall than re-reading and cramming and actually remember what you studied on exam day.
Don't Worry About Being Perfect
Fixating on perfection makes it very difficult to get anything done. Procrastination and perfectionism often go hand in hand. If your results must be perfect before you start, you’ll never begin!
Rather than seeking perfection, seek improvement over what you are doing now. Focus on making progress instead of achieving perfection. It's impossible to learn everything on day 1, but you'll surprise yourself with how much information you can retain over time.
The reality is that you remember more of what you learn when you get an answer wrong the first time, and then self-correct. So, if you’re not perfect, you’re on the right track! Don't forget that.
Find More Motivation
Injecting a little more motivation into your life can help you get over the procrastination hump. Are you feeling less than excited about exam prep? It's a great idea to find a study partner or group to keep you on track. After all, you’re less likely to skip a study session if you know that people are relying on you.
This is also a great opportunity to learn from others. You can ask your peers how they have overcome procrastination and share your best study tips. They might have insights that you've never thought of before, and you'll get to cheer each other on when boards come.
It doesn’t take superpowers to conquer procrastination—just the same determination and follow-through you’ve already demonstrated in becoming a physician. You can do it!
Want more study tips? Download The StudyWise Guide to discover the best, science-based approach that you should take to improve recall and stimulate deep learning.