Tips to avoid procrastination

Mally Nichols, Reporter

A little procrastination never hurt anyone, right? According to a 2007 study by the University of Calgary, anywhere from 85 and 90 percent of college students procrastinate and almost 50 percent procrastinate so badly that it creates consistent issues. 

Surprisingly, many students don’t realize that procrastination doesn’t just apply to schoolwork. It also applies to all kinds of other situations. Students not only find themselves procrastinating with things they don’t want to do, but also procrastinating with things that they do want to do.

Most of the time, there’s an underlying reason behind procrastinating and putting off important tasks or events. Students aren’t just lazy. Mental health is a major factor when it comes to procrastination, and sometimes it can feel impossible to get things done. So, how can students work towards overcoming and avoiding procrastination?

Start by organizing your to-do list.

Things seem a lot easier when you get all your ducks in a row. Take all the tasks you have to do for the week and make a list. Divide it up by what day you want to do each thing on, or don’t divide it at all, just do things in order of when they need to be done. Remember that this means paying attention to deadlines is of the utmost importance.

Set new deadlines for your assignments.

Alright, yes. I know I just said deadlines are important, but it’s also important to note that they’re flexible! Deadlines can easily be set ahead of time for assignments or top to-do’s. If something is due this Sunday, try to do it by Wednesday or Thursday. This way everything is always ahead of schedule and if you lose track, there’s still time to recover.

Avoid distractions/interruptions.

Once you get in the zone, try to stay there! Lack of motivation can come about fairly easily when you keep losing focus. Remove distractions like social media, streaming, texts, and try to set aside a chunk of quiet time to get things done. Once the mindset of getting things done sets in, it’s best to just let it happen and do as much as you can while you’re in the mood.

Reward yourself for a job well done.

If treating yourself is more your style, try that to keep on track. Got that tough math assignment done? Go to the beach! Finished a big test for class? Ice cream time! It doesn’t have to be a major award, just something small and enjoyable that shows what a good job you did. Rewarding good behavior goes a long way.

Portion out the work.

Overwhelmed by the giant amount of tasks there is to cover in a short period of time? You’re not alone. If staring at your Canvas calendar and sweating is something you often find yourself doing, try portioning out the amount of work you have to do for the week! Do a piece of several assignments each day and then after a few days, all the tasks you have to do are finished!

Discuss your struggles with someone.

Sometimes tackling issues, assignments, and overwhelming tasks can be as easy as talking to a friend or family member about it first. Other people can provide outside perspective and maybe even advice on a tough assignment or situation that you haven’t even considered. They might even be able to directly help you complete the task at hand.

Just dive right into it.

Overthinking it isn’t going to do any good for anyone, so the best piece of advice is to just jump in and do the assignment right when you think about it. Sit down, open that blank Word document, stare it down, and start typing. Even if you only manage to get a quarter or half of it done, that’s still way more than before.

Remember that everyone procrastinates, and don’t be too hard on yourself if something gets pushed off a little too much. These things happen, so it’s best to just get back on track as soon as possible. 


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