Reasons for a Schedule
As soon as you receive the assignment for your research paper, you need to draw up a schedule. Few people are able to work effectively toward a deadline without setting a schedule for themselves. Many manage to complete the task on time, but only after spending a few long nights catching up on what they know they should have worked on earlier.
Create Manageable Tasks
A schedule divides your project into manageable tasks, each with a realistic deadline. Instead of working toward a completely finished project by a certain date, you will work toward a series of goals within that project. For example, it is much easier to reach a goal of finishing the editing on your rough draft by next Tuesday and then adding some maps and drawings by Friday than it is to vaguely know you have to do that plus much more in the next ten weeks.
People procrastinate for a variety of reasons, but the reality is that there is no time for procrastination when writing a research paper. Some people are so intimidated by such a large project that they can't seem to get started. They can be so afraid of failure that they are unable to get themselves motivated. Other people are confident they can do a good job, but they want the paper to be perfect. These are the ones who get hung up on picking the best topic or on gathering more research than they possibly could use. They can never get on with writing the research paper because they can't get past each step until they feel it is flawless. Still others intend to do the paper but allow too many other things to get in the way of their work.
Despite what some people think, procrastination is simply a bad habit. It is not a learning disorder or a personality disorder, and it is definitely not laziness. Furthermore, people who procrastinate can learn how to stop, so that it does not become a lifelong habit.
Schedules work well for anyone, regardless of work style. Those who are afraid of failure find it easier to deal with one step at a time, instead of tackling the whole project. Perfectionists benefit by the reminder to move on in order to keep up with the schedule. And those who have problems making time for their research paper are less likely to let things slide until the last minute because they can see how the project needs to progress at specified times.
If you are a procrastinator, you can sometimes force yourself to work on something you keep putting off as a way to avoid something that you are even less inclined to do. Suppose you are writing a research paper about the health benefits of chocolate milk. You keep putting off the research until you get an assignment in calculus that is much more work. When you sit down to get some work done, you are now more likely to do the research about chocolate milk, because you don't want to do the calculus assignment.