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To procrastinate means to postpone completing something that needs to be completed without a solid reason. Procrastination is a common self-obstructing behavior among writers, both beginners and experienced. In fact, it can easily become an occupational hazard and even the worst enemy of your productivity.
You know how it happens: you may have a story to tell, even some characters. However, for some crazy reason, you just can’t begin or stay motivated to complete the work. Even though you perfectly understand the dangers of putting this work on hold, you often can’t do anything about it. So the only thing you’re thinking about is how to not procrastinate.
Indeed, too much procrastination can be incredibly frustrating.
If you need to finish your writing – an essay, a book, a blog post, or something else – but just can’t get started, you need a reliable but not overly complicated method to get on with the writing.
So, if you think you have a procrastination problem, read on.
How to Stop Procrastinating
If you want to know how to avoid procrastination, here are some great techniques:
Step 1: Divide your project into manageable chunks
Regardless of how small or big your project is, you can break it down just for the purpose of eliminating the influence of procrastination. For example, if you’re working on a small project, you can resolve to write something – even if it’s 200 words – every day and concentrate on what you want to achieve in this small timeframe. Day by day, as you continue to work on the project, chances are you’ll find yourself writing more than 200 words and enjoying it.
The same rule applies to large writing projects as well. For example, if you’re writing a fiction novel, you can begin by crafting an outline, developing the main character, or building one of the main scenes. Focus on what you really want to write about, and procrastination will go away.
If this method still makes you fairly overwhelmed, feel free to break down your project even further until you find your pace.
Step 2: Limit your options for procrastinating by removing distractions
A smartphone is a common source of procrastination for most writers. Whenever they feel like postponing the work until later, they find themselves browsing an Instagram or a Facebook feed. As the result, they often avoid writing for hours and then regret it because they have accomplished pretty much nothing.
So, to finally write the first sentence and get some creative process going, anything that can distract you should be avoided. This may include a smartphone, a laptop, a tablet, a TV – any procrastination option. For example, take your smartphone to another room or turn it off; it is very likely that it will distract you with a new notification, an email, or a call.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to sit a concrete cell with nothing but a pen a sheet of paper. Eliminating procrastination options can be as simple as turning off your smartphone and installing a browser extension that blocks the access to social media and other sites that you often use to procrastinate.
Step 3: Schedule a time to begin writing
How many times have you been distracted from writing because of something you forgot to do? If you have, you know what is meant here. For example, when you finally sit down to begin writing your next blog post, you remember that you’re supposed to pick up bread at the supermarket. So, you have to stop and go do it.
It is much easier to work and avoid procrastination until everything else is done and you have nothing to worry about. In other words, if you plan ahead, you can get more done because you’ll have more time to actually write.
Do it right now, it’s very easy! Look at your diary. Think about your next week’s schedule. Allocate just one hour for writing, and make it an unbreakable appointment!
Step 4: Get your research done
Many people don’t realize that the source of their writing procrastination habit is a lack of ideas generated by poor research. Research is an important fundamental of writing; for example, if you’re not sure what to write about, you can easily start to procrastinate and waste precious time. Instead, as designers say, “you need to go back to the drawing board.”
Do your research and improve your research skills. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about social media marketing, chances are you’re not an expert in this field. Make yourself one! Read articles about it written by professionals and increase your knowledge until you feel like you’ve grasped every concept. As the result, you get unstuck because you figure out what needs to go into your own article. It’s that simple, folks.
How Procrastination Affects Writing a Paper
1. Poorer quality of writing
If you do not know how to overcome procrastination but begin to write without being truly inspired, your work may suffer in a profound way. Readers expect a well-written, well-researched, inspiring, useful, interesting, engaging, motivating, and quality piece. These characteristics show how much work should be put into writing. Can you produce such piece if you don’t beat procrastination? Of course not.
For example, if a writer procrastinates until the point where he or she absolutely has to begin writing just to make the deadline, chances are high the quality of work will suffer. Why? Because there will be no time to thoroughly research, proofread, and do other things that make a great text. That’s why universities teach their students about the dangers of procrastination; for example, Harvard has an entire section of their website devoted to this topic.
2. Late submission of work
The person waiting for your work to be done (this could be a publisher, a professor, or a supervisor) does not expect that you spend a lot of time procrastinating. Just a few of them can tolerate late submission, and if they do allow it, they typically require a solid reason.
Naturally, procrastination is not a good reason to explain why your work is delayed.
3. Poor health
Another way in which procrastination affects writing is by undermining your health. The current body of research provides significant evidence of procrastination being an impactful factor linked to various health issues. For example, one study recently published in Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that participants with higher procrastination scores were associated with higher prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Next, Psychology Today described that procrastination was associated with a greater number of acute health problems, higher stress, less frequent dental and medical checkups, poorer sleep, and the practice of fewer wellness behaviors.
By increasing your vulnerability to various health conditions and stress, procrastination has a profound impact on the quality of your life. Needless to say, your writing also suffers greatly.
Apps to Stop Procrastinating on Writing
1. Procraster – this app gets to the bottom of your procrastination problem by offering you answers for the most common reasons why you postpone working. For example, the user is given a number of options, including “I don’t know where to start,” “My task is too big,” “I’ve made a mistake,” and “I have to be perfect.” After the user selects one of these mindsets, the app gives a useful advice; for example, if you select “I don’t know where to start,” Procraster will prompt you to break down the project and guide you to the finish in an inspiring fashion.
2. Focuswriter – is a simple, distraction-free writing environment for your PC or Mac. Remember how we talked about removing distractions above? Focuswriter helps to achieve that. It works just like regular word document app but has a lot of useful features like live stats, timers, alarms, and daily goals.
3. StayFocusd – this app that also works as a Google Chrome extension can help you increase your performance by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites such as social networks. Or it can block a website or an app completely (for a limited time) via the Nuclear Option. Just create the blocked and allowed sites list and activate the app when you have to work.
4. RescueTime – a popular productivity time software that also works as Google Chrome extension, and an Android app. It has some useful features such as productivity reports, alerts, daily goals, and automatic time tracking to help you beat procrastination. For example, you can track time spent on apps and websites, and RescueTime will give you an accurate picture of your day in a detailed report based on your activity.
Remember, procrastination is a completely different thing from being lazy. You just focus your energy on something unrelated because you don’t feel like working. But there will never be a better time to write! So, you have to make time to work by beating procrastination before it gets you. Make sure you follow as many tips from this article as possible to ensure you have a productive day and keep adverse effects of procrastination away.
After all, you are doing exactly what you want to do with your life.
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What Is Educational Technology?
Educational technology is a systematic application of relevant technological processes and resources in teaching, with a goal to improve students’ performance. It involves a disciplined approach to identifying the needs of students, applying technology in instructions, and tracking their performance.
Many people are wondering: what do you mean by educational technology? There are many definitions of the concept, mainly because every educator implements technology in a unique way. If we tried to come up with a simple definition, the one we presented above would be it.
First of all, EdTech is a systematic approach. What does this mean? An educator cannot pick random tools and use them with random goals in the classroom. There still is a curriculum to follow.
Relevant technological processes and resources. This means that the processes and resources must be relevant to the curriculum goals and milestones. EdTech also has a purpose: to improve the performance of the students. Every tool and method that’s being introduced in the classroom should be driven by that goal.
Finally, EdTech also requires the educator to have a disciplined approach to revealing the needs of the students. Those needs will help them determine the relevant technology to apply in the classroom. All results must be tracked, so the teacher will know how effective their methods are. If the students are not achieving good results after implementing a specific tool, the teacher should search for a better one.
Not every teacher is ready to start using EdTech in their teaching methods. That’s exactly why universities are offering programs related to educational technology, so the upcoming generations of teachers will be ready to meet all needs of modern students. As for the current generations of teachers, they have a responsibility to upgrade their skills.
Why Is Technology Important in Education?
Now that we got a clear definition of the concept, let’s focus on another angle: what is the importance of technology in education? There are multiple reasons why all teachers should start introducing tech tools into their classrooms. Let’s list few of them.
The Students Demand It
These students NEED technology in the classroom. Just like previous generations of students needed colorful textbooks and we provided that for them, we have to respect the needs of modern students, too.
They are engaging with technology outside the classroom on a daily basis. They want to use their parents’ smartphones and tablets. They know how to play their favorite songs on YouTube. Technology is part of their lifestyle and they love it. As teachers, we have to respect that inclination. In fact, we can use it to our advantage.
When we introduce technology in the classroom, we’re using something they like. They will easily get engaged in the learning process. Technology is making learning more fun and accessible for today’s students.
New Teachers Are Demanding It, Too
The education of the latest generations of teachers has one significant twist: they are being taught how to use EdTech in their classrooms. They know how to use technology in many useful ways. Technology is making their jobs easier. It helps them assess the knowledge of their students as objectively as possible. It also helps them keep the entire class engaged.
New teachers know how to use technology to their advantage. They want to use it. The rest of us have to follow the trends. Since EdTech is now considered a necessity, we have to implement it.
They Have to Learn How to Use It
Technology is everywhere. High-school, college and university students have to know how to use the Internet to complete projects. When they hit the job market, the employers will demand these skills.
As a teacher, you have a responsibility to make your students responsible digital citizens. Responsible use of technology starts in the classroom.
Technology Improves the Learning Experience
What are the roles of educational technology in learning? This would be the clearest answer: it improves the learning experience. Stanford researchers found that when teachers implement technology properly, they can improve the learning processes and close the achievement gaps between the students. The same report showed that replacing teachers with technology is not a successful method. The students still need their teachers. However, pairing teachers with technology is currently the best method of providing high-quality education for students.
One of the biggest reasons to start using technology in the classroom is as simple as it gets: it will improve the learning experience for the students. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Testing Went Online
It’s a protocol that you, as a teacher, can’t control. Your students will take standardized tests that demand proper computer skills. Online testing has tons of advantages. The students can see their scores in real-time, and it’s easier for the teachers to track their performance.
When you start introducing fun online tests in the classroom, you’ll be preparing your students for the standardized tests. They will get used to the environment, so they won’t be overwhelmed by the big tests when it’s time for them.
How Does Technology Affect Education?
Does technology improve education? That’s the big question we have to answer. If it doesn’t improve education to a great extent, is it even worth trying?
The answer is yes, it improves education to a great extent. Let’s be specific: how can technology improve education?
EdTech Keeps Students Engaged
When teachers are using technology effectively, it will keep the students engaged in the learning process. That’s exactly what a study published in the British Journal of Educational Technology showed. The study doesn’t neglect the importance of the teacher. In fact, the researchers state that “when professors have more ‘sophisticated’ conceptions of teaching, it is more likely that they use instructional strategies that result in student learning and active engagement in the process.”
When teachers decide to use technology, the preparation process has to go beyond technological competence. They have to analyze the needs of their students and pick the right tools for specific tasks, tests and goals.
Since students are mesmerized with technology, we can find a way to use it with the purpose to boost the engagement.
Technology Helps Students Improve Their Results
The flipped classroom is a huge educational trend. When the teacher introduces digital tools to be used outside the classroom, they can use class time for evaluation, discussions, and interactions that matter. They can pay attention to every single student’s achievements and they can personalize the educational process.
The teacher can use different methods to capture the students’ attention and assess their progress. With that approach, we can enhance the learning process.
Students Can Learn at Their Own Pace
The traditional classroom makes that difficult. Today’s students still have to take standardized test and follow a curriculum. However, with the integration of technology in the classroom, they have the option to take things slowly. They can go back to lessons and concepts they don’t understand. They can get online instructions to support the learning process. Those who are advanced can go ahead with the online lessons.
Technology makes learning personalized, and that’s one of its greatest advantages.
Technology Improves the Entire Educational System
How does technology improve education? It makes every piece of information available. Anyone can learn anything. There are absolutely no limitations to what students can learn outside the classroom. If someone wants to become a carpenter, they can’t get the instructions at school. Online lessons, however, will teach them the basics. If an elementary student wants to be a scientist, they can take beginner and advanced science classes online.
When the teacher sets the foundations for responsible use of technology, they are opening the doors to a limitless world of knowledge. We should be proud of that.
That’s another huge advantage. Some of the best ways to enhance the collaboration between students in the classroom are hands-on projects and collaborative learning. Technology supports those processes. The teachers can create a safe online environment where the students can ask questions, discuss different topics, and help each other learn. They can also collaborate on projects without the need to get together outside the classroom. They can connect online.
The collaboration between teachers gets easy, too. Thanks to educational technology, we can learn from the experience of educators from all over the world.
So how does technology help education? Simple; it makes it better. When the teachers introduce EdTech through proper methods, it keeps the students engaged. It makes the evaluation easier. It prepares the students for the future.
Now that we understand the importance of EdTech, we have no other choice but to start using it in the best ways possible. Our students expect that from us. Both teachers and students are the driving force of the educational system. The students tell us what they need, and we find the best ways to provide such knowledge for them.
What do you think? Does technology help education? How? Do you think we’re still not ready for it? Maybe you’re one of the teachers who think technology imposes a huge risk of making students distracted? Share your opinions!
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Have you ever read an autobiography? Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, for example, is an exceptionally powerful one. “DEAR SON: I have ever had pleasure in obtaining any little anecdotes of my ancestors.” That’s how it starts. But, Benjamin Franklin was an exceptional person, after all. That’s the point: autobiographies are for exceptional people. You’re exceptional, too. You have a special story that’s worth sharing. The only thing to learn is how to write a life story about yourself.
If you think about it, most of us are already sharing our personal stories nowadays. What do you think social media is? We pour out pages and pages with our opinions. We publish photos as testimonials of our daily life. All that can belong to the genre of “creative nonfiction.” Turning a life story into a novel, however, is something else. It has to involve elegance, creativity, and some warmth and humor.
You want to learn how to write a life story about yourself? Read on. We’ll tackle the process step by step.
Why is writing important in life?
Even if you’re not planning to publish a novel about your life, writing is still important. Have you ever wondered why your professors have been trying to teach you how to write?
Writing is important for expressing opinions and ideas. Just open your Facebook feed for a moment. In between all those cooking videos and funny images, what do you see? Opinions and ideas. They are everywhere. Check out the comments under a post that shares important news. You’ll see that some people have strong opinions, others don’t. You’ll notice a classification among those that have strong opinions: some can express them, others can’t. That’s the big difference that writing skills can make.
Through writing, you’re creating ideas, too. If you set your mind free and you allow the flow of your thoughts to take you wherever it takes you, you’ll notice new ideas coming up. Creativity is a process, which the writing practice supports.
Writing about your life is important because it gives you a chance to reflect. Journaling is one of the main practices that therapists recommend for promoting mental health. It helps people manage anxiety, cope with stress, and deal with depression. When you maintain a journal and you go through your previous entries, you witness your memories without distorting the reality. You see your progress. You remind yourself of the important things you forgot.
So yes, writing about your own life is important. When you’re ready, you can turn those writings into a book that sells. How do you get to that point? How do you start? We’ll give you the tips you need.
Step by Step Guide: How to Start Writing a Novel about My Life
Read the Great Work of Others
Explore any online library and you’ll find a list of autobiographies you can start reading. Here are few suggestions to start with:
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography by Ignacio Ramonet and Fidel Castro
Whoa, that was a big list. It’s just the surface. When you start exploring autobiographies, you’ll find one interesting read after another. You don’t have to read them all. The important thing is to read as much as you can.
No, you won’t copy these authors. However, you’ll learn what it means to write well. You’ll understand how an experience can be structured as a story worth reading. That will give you ideas on how to tackle your own project.
Keep taking notes as you read through these autobiographies. What’s the author’s style? How do you feel when reading about the determining moments of their lives? What made you laugh and what made you cry? Did you adopt the point of view of some of these authors? Why? How did they develop their arguments?
Ask yourself these questions and take notes. They will inspire you to find your own voice.
Practice Writing Before You Start
Did someone mention voice? Before you start writing the book about your life, you have to find your own. Having a strong voice means you can leave impressions. It means you can present a clear description of events and heighten the emotions just enough to make them more powerful.
Practice different techniques. Remember what you liked about the way notable people wrote their autobiographies. They had a signature voice.
What’s the most important characteristic your closest friends name about you? Is it wit, humor, seriousness, logic, or anything else? Ask them about their impressions. If they think you’re witty, maybe you should focus on that aspect of your personality and turn it into your style of writing.
In writing, there’s a strange rule: you find quality through quantity. The more you write, the better you become. So write! Start a blog. Write in your journal. Write in a way that’s most comfortable for you. When you’re ready to start this big project, you’ll know.
Brainstorm and Develop a Plan!
Brainstorming is a great technique that gets you started on any writing project. Here is an idea how to do it: Try to summarize your life in three sentences. Think: what are the things and events that define you?
Once you’re done with the thinking, write whatever comes to your mind. You’ll find your focus through this technique. Maybe it’s a cause you’ve been fighting for. Maybe it’s a sad moment. Maybe it’s a relationship, or maybe just a feeling that has been present for years.
Whatever those defining moments are, you’ll identify them through the brainstorming process.
Then, you’ll develop a plan for the book about your life. Think of it as an outline. It doesn’t have to be too specific. Just list the most important events you’re going to write about and note down few ideas. When you start writing, the initial ideas will evolve.
You’re Mentioning Other People, Right? Ask for Their Permission
It’s important to do this before you get too deep in this project. You have the right to share impressions and memories. However, if you’re naming other people, you’ll need their permission. They also have the right to their privacy. Maybe they remember the events in a way that’s different from yours.
If you don’t get permission and you still want to write about those events, you’ll have to change their names and make sure the real persons behind those names cannot be easily recognized.
Make the Start Exiting
“I was born in a small town in Iowa. The year was 1963.”
This sounds like a boring start. It doesn’t promise much. Many other people were born in a small town in Iowa in that same year. What makes your life so special?
“Then there was the bad weather. It would come in one day when the fall was over. We would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in the Place Contrescarpe.”
That’s how Ernest Hemingway’s autobiography starts. He doesn’t start from the day he was born. He starts with an event that defines him: a moment spent at a cafe. He saw a girl that inspired him to start writing. That’s how the important part of his life began.
Think of a trigger event. Define that turning point in your life that made you grow into who you are. Describe that one, and you’ll have a great start.
You’re not writing this story just to get it off your shoulders. You don’t just want to describe your life. People may be interested in such a book if you’re really, really famous. It would still be stripped off literary value. If you want to write a really good autobiography, you must get to the bottom of things.
Ask questions about the most important events you’re describing. Why did you do that? Why did a person decide to leave you? Why do you care so much about this cause you’re devoted to? Why didn’t you make a commitment to something else?
When you get deeper into the events, you get material that will turn plain descriptions of events into a memoir.
Are You Ready?
We told you how to start. When you get through that point, it will be easier to continue. You will follow the plan and you’ll keep developing it. At one moment, you may even notice that the words are pouring themselves out. You’re finally expressing the things you’ve been carrying inside for so long. That may be a torturing process, but it’s also liberating in a strange way.
If you have a great life story, it would be a shame not to turn it into a powerful autobiography. Follow the steps described above and start with the process of preparation.
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