I have seen many gifs saying that doing IB is basically about learning to procrastinate... but the truth is that if you want to do well (e.g. that well-deserved 45 points) you have to learn to eliminate procrastination from your study zone. Despite some common misconceptions, the reality is, it IS possible to do really well (yes, even 45 points) whilst still getting enough sleep, having a social life, and taking part in various other activities. I’m not lying, I’ve seen it done! Instead of worrying about making time to do more, what matters is making the most of the time you have, which basically means, NO PROCRASTINATION!! So here's a list of some ways you can reduce the amount of procrastination in your study/homework time 1. All social networking sites must be banned! This is an obvious one, but it is a trap we all fall easily into, no matter how sure we are we won't! Ideally, if you're studying or handwriting essays, you shouldn't even be on your computer or phone, but if you need the internet for research, or you're typing an essay, if you want to help prevent yourself from falling into the welcoming claws of Facebook/twitter/tumbl/tickld/IB survival (yes, it can be helpful, but the fact that I'm sitting here right now writing this is the proof of it's procrastination-aiding abilities!) you can try using an application like https://www.rescuetime.com to physically block these sites during your study times Although of course if you really want to you will always still be able to access these sites, the harder you make it for yourself, the less likely you are to do it. 2. Get someone to check up on you. This can suck, especially if it's your parents, and it's definitely not for everyone, but hate to admit it though I do, it REALLY helps. Even if it's just a friend you're studying with, or even a sibling, having someone glance over your shoulder every now and then to check that you actually are doing your work, is often enough to stop you from acting on any urges to procrastinate which may come your way! Personally I find that it really gets on my nerves, but that's usually mainly because I AM procrastinating, and this stops me If you're really struggling, you can even ask teachers for some supervised study time after school, where you can work in their office or wherever they happen to be, and although you won't bother each other, they'll be there to keep you on track! 3. Ensure in ADVANCE that you won't be bothered. This means, TELL your parents, before you start studying, that for however long, half an hour or three, they are not allowed to interrupt you at all. Ask them to request that anyone who calls you call back later, and to try to keep your siblings from bursting in on you too, if at all possible. I am well aware that we are not living in an ideal world, so if you know that your family aren't the type who are going to take heed of this, then organise in advance to be able to do your work somewhere else! If you have a local library, great, that's a fantastic working environment. You can also study with friends, but be realistic: ask yourself if it's someone whose going to talk to you and distract you. If it is, you're better off somewhere else or even at home. 4. Phones are a big no! Either turn it off, or if you feel incapable of this, then leave it in another room, or at the very very least turn it on silent and have it upside down or in your pocket so you won't notice if any messages come through. Not just phones, but any other items of technology too - eliminate anything that can be distracting from your study environment. 5. Have a scheduled study time, and stick to it. If you know when you're supposed to be studying, then you also know when you're not, and you can procrastinate to your heart's content without feeling guilty about it! 6. Know, IN ADVANCE, what you want to study or do during your study time. When studying, we love to convince ourselves that we need to make lists of things to do, or organise our notes, or spend eons of time making decisions about what order to do things in… all various things that seem vaguely useful but are in fact just another way of procrastination!! If you have all of this organised in advance, then you have no excuse for procrastination. If you actually do urgently need to get a bit more organised, then schedule time in for this, BEFORE your study time! If you get to study time and really don't know what to do, then simply go with the thing due the soonest, don't waste your precious time being indecisive. 7. Spend two minutes working out intensely before you start. Don't give me that look and say, "Exercise? I do IB..." I'm asking you to exercise for 2 minutes. You'll thank me, I promise. The blood flow to your brain will do wonders for your ability to concentrate! It could be jumping rope, trampolining, sprinting to the end of your road and back, jumping jacks, dribbling a ball, or break dancing to some funky tunes in your room... just get your blood pumping. Not only will you be able to concentrate better, but also come up with ideas more quickly, and feel better about the work you're doing, especially if it's something you aren't too keen on. If you're studying for long periods of time, try to repeat your exercise every hour or so. 8. Drink lots of water! Especially following that exercise, if you want your brain to be able to function well, it's really important to keep it hydrated - having a glass of water with you while you're studying can be helpful too. Bizarre though it is, many studies claim that a sip of water can actually help clear your mind if you're having a block. 9. Practise long blocks of concentrated study. By long, I DO NOT mean 3 hours. See below! If you're writing a history essay that you will have 45 minutes to write in the final exam though, then make sure you have 45 minutes, uninterrupted, each time you write a practise. Of course you will probably take longer at home than in the final exam, but it's important to get in the habit of writing it all in one go, without a break. The more you practise, the easier it will get. 10. Make sure you take frequent breaks!! Yes, I am well aware that it seems to contradict the above, but as countless studies have shown, once you go beyond about an hour, the longer you continue to study without breaking, the less and less productive you become. Take a break about once every hour, or after each task you complete, and even more if you're going to be studying for a long time! A proper break too, at least 5 minutes. Grab a drink, sit down and relax (no hard thinking allowed), try to go outside and get some fresh air if possible. This is a good time for sending a txt or having a quick gossip if you're with friends. Follow it up with that quick 2 minutes of exercise, and back into study mode! 11. Figure out what makes you procrastinate. Next time you're procrastinating, take a minute to think about why. Is it because you are dreading the task at hand? Remember that the longer you wait, the harder it will seem. Is it because you don't know where to start? This is often the case. If it's an essay, make sure you start with an outline so you know what you want to write. If you can't get that introduction, then write the paragraphs first and then come back to it! If you really don't know what you're doing, talk to your teacher and ask for clarification. If it's none of the above and you just get really easily distracted, then you know how important it is to eliminate distractions from your surroundings! 12. Remind yourself that there is always more to do than can be done. This is not here to stress you out, it's a reminder that if you are stressing about this, then there's no need - it's just a part of life. What's important is to think about whether, if you can't do everything, you're choosing to do the right things. Good priorities are key! 13. Make a to-do list which only includes things you're avoiding. There are some things that you know you're going to do, and some things that you know you're going to procrastinate. The things you know you're going to procrastinate come first!! 14. Break tasks down to make them seem less overwhelming. Do NOT procrastinate further by sitting there making a list of your broken down tasks, but instead do this in your head: If you struggle with an essay, then think, "ok, step 1 is the introduction, step 2 is paragraph 1..." etc, etc. Or even, “step 1 is an outline”. After you've written your outline, pause, look at it, and tell yourself that you've achieved something, because you have. Each step you complete is a mini victory 1. Just do it. Yes, I know... it's the most cliché and frustrating line - if you're procrastinating that's really not going to help! But at the end of the day, there is nothing I, or anyone else can do, to force you to get stuff done. It's up to you. So take whatever willpower you have, sit down, and JUST DO IT.