Life Hack: The Most Effective Way to Stop Chronic Procrastinating
I’m the girl who worked ninety hours per week during college, and had a hard time putting school first. The girl who slacked her way through high school, failed a class and landed on academic probation in her first semester of college, but completed her bachelor’s degree in a competitive business program with a 3.54 GPA and several semesters on the Dean’s List. The girl who took on three majors AND a minor, and conquered them all in four years. How did I go from a slacker student with mediocre grades (at best) to a successful college graduate? The answer is much simpler than you think. And it's not about creating a routine or meticulously scheduling every minute of the day in a planner.
The secret? I found my passion. The rest followed.
I entered college after a year of self-exploration, working full-time, and ultimately taking a mental break following high school, and I wasn’t sure where I was headed with it, but I had a feeling. I have ALWAYS been a chronic procrastinator, and a very wise and wonderful teacher helped me to accept and own that in my senior year of high school. And when I say always, I mean that I started pulling all-nighters in middle school to complete projects and other major school assignments. Sometimes I could pull together something decent the night before it was due. I would catch up on sleep the next night, and all was fine. However, especially as I got older and got into Lyceum, AP and IB courses, my procrastination often lead to poor grades, even when I fully understood the course material, because I didn’t give myself enough time to study for exams or complete assignments. My college years were easily the busiest years of my life (to date), but I managed to stay on top of my schoolwork.
After a rocky start in my first semester, which I began without a declared major, I started meeting regularly with an adviser at the university and she helped me narrow down my career choices. I started with a list of more than ten potential majors, but business was something I’d been thinking and talking about since high school, and when it came down to it, I knew that was where my heart was. To be honest, I didn’t know much about marketing and what all it encompassed at the time, but for some reason, that was what I wanted to do. I applied to the business school in the fall of my sophomore year and was accepted, on the first attempt, for the coming spring semester. I was enjoying the introductory business courses, but still found it a chore to keep my grades up. The fall of my junior year, I had the hardest and most exciting experience of my business education: my school’s I-Core program. This included three Introductory courses—Marketing, Operations and Finance—at the 300-level. The courses were all taken in one 4-hour block, in one classroom, with the professors rotating in to teach their respective fields. There was a group project that combined all three courses, lasted the entire semester with five deliverables for pieces of a business plan, culminated in a presentation in front of all of the professors, and carried a huge weight of your grades for all three classes. If you failed any of the three classes, you had to complete this whole project again along with the failed class. And if you failed the project, you failed all three classes and had to start over on everything.
The scope of the project was overwhelming, but as we started working, I got more and more into it and progressively more excited. I was the only marketing major in my group and I was ecstatic to get to create a realistic marketing plan from scratch while my teammates focused more on the numbers side. As I wrote, I found it pretty easy pulling the plan together, and mostly employed my real-world experiences with marketing in determining how we could best market our product. I even found that I enjoyed completing the marketing research, whereas I typically find research monotonous. We aced the marketing section in every deliverable, receiving 97% on the main marketing plan segment, from a professor who was anything but an easy grader. Additionally, this being the first marketing class I had taken, I pulled a typical “me” and arrived to take our first exam without having studied one bit. I hadn’t read the majority of the textbook chapters being covered, either. I walked out with a 95% on the exam.
I viewed my success in this course as my first real confirmation that I was pursuing the right career path. Marketing just makes sense to me, in a way chemistry, calculus and history do not. As I progressed further into my marketing courses, I frequently found myself excited to find the time to sit down with my computer and work on my assignments, or even to seek out blogs and articles detailing the latest marketing trends. Being naturally inclined toward writing as well, and having taken a few writing courses by then with excellent teachers who had really awakened that passion for me, I found I was easily able to ace even the longest and most difficult papers.
There’s a well-known quote you may have heard, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I feel like I have truly found that in marketing, and am now focused on finding the right company and position where I can really use my skills and passion to my full potential. I strongly urge anyone who doesn’t feel excited to go to work (or school!) every day to consider why that is and ask yourself if it’s time to make a change. Your happiness and mental health are always worth it!