Avoid application procrastination: Start your to-do list with less urgent tasks

By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer

When I took four Baylor courses last summer, I had nothing to do because I stayed in Waco for the entire vacation. I didn’t realize where my decision was leading —taking those four courses allows me to graduate with a double major in just seven semesters.

Though it appears to be good news, it wasn’t for me. I thought graduation was much farther. I was procrastinating applying to internships and preparing for graduate school. These things snuck up on me, and now I’m left with a ton of preparations that should have been done earlier.

I’ve been busy with application materials, my on-campus job and taking 15 credit hours. I hardly have days with nothing to work on. There are only days with urgent and less urgent tasks.

This is why I came up with the study strategy that works best for me to be productive: prioritize the less urgent tasks first.

Urgent tasks to me are assignments due that night or the next morning. The less urgent tasks are the things needing to be done, but with a more flexible deadline, like preparing for graduate school and internships.

Preparing graduate school and applying to internships is easier for me if it’s divided into daily smaller parts. Every day, I would start my afternoon doing these less urgent tasks.

After finishing these less urgent tasks, I do chores around my house. Even though I might be tired, I have no choice. I know I have to get them done anyway because I have other deadlines coming up. If I start by doing the urgent tasks first, I’d end up doing nothing after and procrastinating the less urgent tasks.

Although it seems illogical, this strategy works and helps me be more productive. Start your to-do list with tasks that have less pressing deadlines and break those down into smaller parts. Then, move on to what needs to be done in timely fashion. This will make it easier overall to stay organized and break down those larger daunting tasks.