Tips for Fighting LSAT Prep Procrastination
January 26, 2015
How do you fight procrastination during your LSAT prep?
When you’re preparing for the LSAT, even if you’re starting many months in advance, procrastination is a very real and very present foe. It’s all too easy to get just a couple days behind in your LSAT prep, which can turn into a couple weeks, which can suddenly manifest in a panicked cram session, the theme of which is HELP-ME-WHAT-AM-I-GOING-TO-DO?! right before LSAT Test Day.
Sure, if you’re not taking the LSAT for awhile, there may seem tons of time to get your LSAT prep done before the big day, but that thought process can create a slippery slope that has you sliding just below your target score. So let’s address your potential procrastination problem with some top tips for beating it back.
Short-Term Procrastination: The “Just One More…” Pitfall
Have you ever taken a break from studying or—let’s be honest—from starting to study, and instead decided to just quickly accomplish some other quick task: clean your room, watch one (1) episode of your favorite new show, check your email, take a power nap?
Unfortunately, if you’re inclined toward assigning yourself “just one more” non-study activity ad infinitum before you kick off what you’re supposed to be doing, you know that one episode becomes an all-night marathon, one email exchange becomes a six-hour restructuring of your inbox, one “power nap” becomes a luxurious night of slumber, and one chore in your apartment becomes a frenetic CLEANSTRAVAGANZA!
Before you start an activity during a study break, set a duration and stick to it. If you are taking a thirty-minute break, that’s what you get. It will be there later; don’t be afraid to come back to it.
Set an amount of time you will be studying before your next break. Want to know what happens after the “To Be Continued…” cliffhanger that just sneaked up to tempt you? That’s fine—in two hours, you can find out. It’s a tough ask, but you might even enjoy the long-forgotten feeling of suspense created by having something to look forward to when you turn your distracting weakness into a great motivating strength.
Long-Term Procrastination: The “There’s So Much Time…” Pitfall
Let’s assume you’re studying for the June LSAT, and right now it’s still January. June looks, feels, and sounds really far away, and it is—right now. Once June hits, however, you’re likely to feel as if no time at all has passed.
Falling for the distorted view of time that the present moment presents us is not the best idea. In hindsight, you will rage against what a fool your January self was, mistakenly acting like you had all the time in the world. Here are some ways to force that sense of urgency into your mental landscape and resist the siren song of LSAT prep procrastination.
Set up a long-term LSAT prep schedule, and stick to it. Treat it like it is a priority, an appointment you can’t miss or opt out of. Set up alerts on your calendar or cell phone and respond with same importance as getting up in the morning and going to work.
Set up specific, achievable weekly goals. This is the real key; don’t just think of your study schedule as “Monday, study for 3 hours; Tuesday, for 2 hours; Wednesday, 1 hour.” Sure, we know your long-term goal is a score increase, but what about your goal for next week? Maybe it’s to get 10 assumption questions right or complete all the questions for a logic game in 10 minutes. Whatever it is, let that small goal feed your urgency. The goal will be obsolete next week and you’ll be onto something else, so it’s now or never.
What are your LSAT prep procrastination pitfalls? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll help you with some study pointers to kick those bad habits and get the score you need. In the meantime, check out our free prelaw events.