How to Avoid Procrastination

Picture this: You have a 10 page paper due in a couple of weeks, but also your favorite show on Netflix was finally released, and you have to watch it. You decide to put off the paper because you think you’ll get it done, but now fast forward a couple of weeks, and you have to pull an all nighter because the paper is due the following morning.
Procrastination is the bane of most student’s existence. With the semester being in full swing, and midterms looming ahead, waiting until the last minute can cause unnecessary stress, poor work being turned in, and having to pull all-nighters.

The main reason why most people procrastinate is because they would rather be doing something else that they enjoy. College is a time of freedom and a time to learn how to manage your time with school work, friends, and other activities. However, there are ways to combat procrastination to get your work done efficiently and effectively.
The first tip is to manage your motivation. Many students tend to procrastinate on assignments because they feel like their work is irrelevant to their career goals and life in general. Although it may be hard to find the practical value of a math assignment if you’re a political science major, for example, dig a little deeper and see how that task can help you in your career. Try to find that motivation to help keep you pushing forward, whether it’s how that assignment will add to your portfolio for future job positions, or simply the fact that once you’re done with that task, you’re one step closer to finishing the class.

College life can get hectic, and juggling school work, jobs, social events, and clubs is no easy feat. That is why the second way to help avoid procrastination is to get organized. Usually, when a goal is too large it becomes unachievable and you’ll be more likely to put it off. When looking at all your coursework, break it up into smaller short-term goals so that the assignments are easier to complete.

Dorothy Cleary, Director of Tutoring Services, suggests that students should invest in planners to help plan for important dates, as it is an excellent way to track your work. She added, “Investing in a planner is one of the best ways to track assignments and due dates. It provides a more orderly and measurable framework within which to work,” Clearly said. Having a planner is a great way of adding structure to your schedule.

Brianna Vazquez Torres, a sophomore chemistry student, is in favor of using a planner to schedule her week. She said, “It helps me lay out my weeks, and allows me to visualize what I need to do. If it is something that takes more time, I will chip away at it through the week rather than trying to do it all in one day.”

One of the main reasons many students procrastinate is due to the countless distractions that exist. In today’s digital world, our electronic devices and social media apps like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube can be very distracting, as they can pull you in for hours.

Xiao Li, a sophomore chemistry student, said that she cannot afford to procrastinate since she has so much homework to do. This is why she will turn off any electronics she is not using or turn her notifications off to not be enticed to look at them. “When I do homework, I will usually turn off my phone and turn off my laptop’s notifications. My work is significant to me, and I don’t wanna get distracted,” said Li.

While it is important to keep focused on the task at hand, it’s also good to take a break and reward yourself. Give yourself some incentives and don’t burn yourself out. Take some time to go for a walk, stretch, eat a snack, get some fresh air, or take a nap.

When it comes to incentives, Li has some of her own that keeps her pushing through her coursework. She said, “When I get all my homework done, I can go on my phone or computer for fun.” Turning off your electronics can help you stay focused on the task at hand, and remember that the time you spent on your phone could have been spent on finishing your assignment.

Overcoming procrastination can only help set you up for success and can even free up some time in your schedule. Remember, everyone thinks they have all the time in the world until that time is up, so don’t waste it.