Are you still procrastinating or already studying? – Tips against procrastinitis

Read the text? Maybe later. The video of the lecture? It’ll also be available tomorrow. And the webinar this afternoon? It’s being recorded and I’ll watch it after I clean up.

Who doesn’t know it: procrastination. Especially in times of corona, the general conditions favor the postponing of work. The appointment for the lecture is cancelled (and so is the incentive to go for a coffee afterwards) and the lecture can be watched online at a later date.

Fortunately, here are a few tips on how to get your tasks back into focus. The best way is to use the SMART method to define the goals you want to achieve this semester. With these in your baggage, we set off for ALPEN (yes, read correctly).

Daily schedules according to the ALPEN method

If you don’t know where you’re going, don’t be surprised if you get out somewhere else. Having a plan is therefore the key to achieving goals and fighting procrastination. The ALPEN method can help you plan your day efficiently – and over time you will become better at it (if you follow the last point consistently). It’s best to take the time the evening before or in the morning to write down your To Do List as follows:

A – write down all planned activities, tasks and meetings (earning, lecture, follow-up, but also obligations such as cleaning, shopping etc.)
L – realistically estimate length of time
P – plan buffer time
E – establish decisions
N – note down level of success

Now you have an overview of what to do. After you have written down all the tasks and estimated the time each task will take, you should build in a generous buffer (30-50% of the time). Also consider breaks, meal times, and that your concentration will decrease over the course of a day.

Check your assignments: How much time is already planned including buffer? Do you have to delete points? Can anything be added? On this basis, decide which tasks you would like to focus on and what you would like to postpone to another day.

Pull up your list again in the evening and reflect: what went well, what didn’t go so well? How realistic was the time planning? Why did some tasks fall behind? Try to learn from the findings. This will improve your next daily plan.


There are too many items on your list and you would like to know how to prioritize your tasks better? We have something else up our sleeve: the Eisenhower principle. It allows you to sort tasks by importance and urgency. Use a piece of paper and draw a table like this:

urgent not urgent
Importance  important  A / I
Immediately do it yourself
B / II
Schedule and do it yourself
not important C / III
Delegate to competent employees
D / IV
Do not edit (recycle bin)

Assign your tasks to the following categories:

  • Important and urgent

Example: presentation this week in an online meeting

  • Important and not urgent

Example: study for the statistics exam at the end of the semester

  • Urgent and not important

Example: cleaning the apartment

  • Not urgent and not important

Example: sort old scripts

The Eisenhower principle allows tasks to be prioritized. However, there is a risk that important goals that are not characterized by urgency take a back seat – the classic is the exam or mast work, which has to be handed in in a few weeks. Yet, also supposedly less “urgent” items – such as sport, healthy eating or meeting friends – fall into this category. In the long run, it falls on your feet to neglect this category in particular. Plan tasks from this field consciously into the day!

Small tips, big effect - this is how time management works

Here are a few ideas to help you eliminate time eaters, defeat procrastination and gain control over your time:

  • Switch off troublemakers when working in a concentrated manner: mute WhatsApp, mails and Facebook. Every message tears you out of your thinking process!
  • Not up for the online lecture? Appointments create commitment. Make an appointment with fellow students for a lecture – and maybe for a virtual coffee afterwards.
  • Scheduling routines create clarity and structure. Determine when you get up on weekdays and when your study times are. The advantage of the home office: night owls also get their money’s worth – the learning phase can finally take place at your preferred time (even if most people have their concentration peak in the morning).
  • Bad day? Nothing works today? Then try the 10-minute tip: sit at your desk for at least a few minutes and try for a quarter of an hour to see if you can get to work. Maybe you’ll still find your way into the flow.
  • Breaks are important! Therefore plan them firmly. In the morning a walk around the block. An hour for lunch and doing whatever you feel like. An afternoon coffee. Breaks structure your day into smaller periods and even if learning is a bit strenuous, you’ll know when the next break is coming.
  • At least one day off per week! Treat yourself to one day a week when you are not studying or working. It’s important to recharge your batteries and do something good for yourself: keep your friends close, go for walks, enjoy the sun and fresh air, be creative, read a book, watch your favorite TV show and take a bath or just do nothing at all.