Some people may think procrastination is helpful because it adds a sense of urgency to their work as time runs out, but for many it causes unneeded stress. Procrastinating when applying for scholarships is a bad idea because programs follow deadlines and you don’t want to rush completing an application. Rushing the application can lead to missing important details, as well as making spelling and grammar mistakes.

The results of procrastination are more than just being crunched for time. When you put off doing something, you may wake up the next day with added stress because the task still weighs on your mind. The effects of too much stress in our lives can lead to a number of physical and mental health problems. According to The Mayo Clinic, problems exacerbated by stress include: depression, fatigue, heart disease, tense muscles, eczema and digestive troubles.

The experts at Communityforce have created this list of ways to combat procrastination while applying for scholarships:

Prepare for tomorrow

Some students may find the hardest part about scholarships is getting started. For example, suppose you try to research and write scholarship essays a little bit each day. The thing you dread the most is starting your research at the beginning of each session, and you are more easily distracted during this phase. Try to make a to-do list for what you want to accomplish the next time you write. This way you can hit the ground running and not struggle to motivate yourself for another day’s work.

Create a schedule

Make a timetable for your work and stick to it. For instance, say you are writing an application for a botany scholarship, and the topic is about growing organic plants. You can allocate 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. for reading and understanding the application. Dedicate 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. to researching organic plant growth, and  2:00 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. for filling out the basic required information (name, address, school and work experience). Finally, 2:20 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. is the time you will spend writing the essay. Creating a schedule of deadlines is a nice tool for accomplishing goals because it makes you focus on what you need to do right now.

Fight the four pillars of procrastination

In a study by the American Psychological Association, four different pillars of procrastination were identified. These were: Low task value, personality, expected success and goal failure.

  1. Low task value means you believe you will not get much out of the task when it is completed. You procrastinate the task because it is boring or unexciting. A way to combat this is to associate the task with something you love. For example, the scholarship essay topic is about three things that inspire you to become a better person. You think the topic is boring, so you decide to brainstorm ideas while you are out for a run. You are thinking about topics while doing something you love, and it can make brainstorming essay ideas less boring.
  2. Personality means traits and characteristics we have that will distract us from accomplishing goals. For example, you might get easily distracted while writing at a coffee shop because you have a tendency to people watch. Move your workspace to a private environment where your habit of getting distracted by people will not be an issue.
  3. Expected success means if a task is believed to be completed easily, you will procrastinate. A way of combating this pillar is to simply finish the easy task as soon as possible. For example, one part of the scholarship application you’ve been avoiding is listing your previous work experience. You believe this task is easy, so just sit down and quickly write down your job history.
  4. Goal failure means you do not believe you will be able to complete the task successfully. The intimidating goal of finishing a scholarship essay can be tackled by creating small, more manageable goals. A small goal can be to finish the introduction in one session, and the first half of the body in another. All the small goals will add up and make the big one seem more accomplishable.

Hydrate and eat

A big cause of procrastination is appetite. Be sure to eat and drink enough before you start your scholarship work. A satisfied stomach will help you think clearer. Prepare your snacks for the session ahead of time. This way you won’t think to yourself, “Did I eat enough today? I should order food or cook something before I work on this.” A quick one-minute trip to the kitchen can easily turn into a quick break on the living room couch.

For more information about scholarships, please visit Communityforce website!