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March Wellbeing Spotlight

This month’s wellbeing spotlight is procrastination and study skills.

march wellbeing spotlight

Being a student, your studies and academic attainment have a large influence on your overall wellbeing. This month, in the run up to deadlines and exams, we want to check in with you to make sure that you know where to go for support with your study skills, and to understand why you might fall into the procrastination trap and how to overcome this.

march wellbeing spotlight 1


In the run up to deadlines and exams, you may be feeling frustrated that you seem to be procrastinating more often - delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute – despite worrying that you are not getting your work done.

For students in particular, research suggests that procrastination is due to:

· Overestimating how much time you have left

· Overestimating how motivated you will be in the future

· Underestimating how long certain activities will take to complete

· Mistakenly assuming that you need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project

In fact, this last point is one of the biggest factors contributing to procrastination. We tend to assume that we have to feel inspired or motivated to work on a task at a particular moment. But the reality is

that we often do not feel very inspired or motivated to work on some projects like revision or study – especially if you find the topic difficult. This means that if you catch yourself thinking that you will wait until a better time to study when you might be feeling more motivated, you are likely to end up procrastinating and never feeling particularly motivated.

Tips to manage procrastination from Very Well Mind

  • Make a to-do list:To help keep you on track, consider placing a due date next to each item.
  • Take baby steps:Break down the items on your list into small, manageable steps so that your tasks don’t seem so overwhelming.
  • Recognize the warning signs:Pay attention to any thoughts of procrastination and do your best to resist the urge. If you begin to think about procrastinating, force yourself to spend a few minutes working on your task.
  • Eliminate distraction:Ask yourself what pulls your attention away the most—whether Instagram, Facebook updates, or the local news—and turn off those sources of distraction.
  • Pat yourself on the back:When you finish an item on your to-do list on time, congratulate yourself and reward yourself by indulging in something you find fun.

Don’t forget that it can also take some time to work out how best you study which can make the experience more pleasant and therefore alleviate procrastination. Is it at home or in the library? Do you need quiet or some background noise? Do you work well by setting yourself timers like a Pomodoro timer, or at various times through the day when best suits your schedule? Do you know what kind of learner you are?

Extended periods of procrastination or low motivation can also be a sign of an underlying result of mental ill-health. Speak with your GP if you are unsure.

Study skills

Study skills are transferable skills which you may have started to develop during your school or college years and may be developing during your time at Middlesex. Equally, if you started at Middlesex after a break in your studies, you may be re-learning your study skills.

Study skills involve organisational skills, time management, being aware of and using support available to you, effectively retaining information and more.

Hear from a high school student on how she changed her study habits by mastering the skill of time management:

Find out more about developing your study skills using the links below, and don’t forget to explore the support available to you from MDX.




Resources to support you at MDX

- Need support with academic writing or numeracy skills? Speak to the Learning Enhancement Team.

- Do you know how Student Learning Assistants and your Personal Tutor can support you with your studies?

- Counselling and Mental Health are running several workshops this month to support you with procrastination and study skills, and managing performance and presentation anxiety. Sign up and explore other workshops and groups from Counselling and Mental Health here.

- MDXSU’s advice service can support you on a range of academic issues.

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