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Procrastination - Writing Lab Tips and Strategies: Home

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80-95% of college students procrastinate; about 75% consider themselves procrastinators, and nearly 50% indicate they procrastinate enough to hamper their progress. Procrastination doesn’t indicate laziness or lack of discipline, but results from unproductive and deep-seated habits.


1.  Plan Ahead
Look at your schedule as soon as you receive the assignment and decide when you have time to do it so that it will be completed several days before the actual due date.

2.  Get Started
Start the assignment the day it is assigned.

3.  Manageable Chunks
Break up the larger assignment into smaller sections that don't seem quite so overwhelming.

4.  Limit Distractions
Find a place free from distractions to work.  Turn off your phone or put it out of sight.  Don't get online unless it is required to complete the assignment.

5.  Set Goal
Set goals and make steps to accomplish them before spending time with friends or doing other enjoyable activities.

6.  Be Accountable
Join a study group so you will feel accountable to accomplish assignments before the meeting.  Or, ask a friend to check in on you to make sure you are doing what you said you would.

7.  Say "No"
Learn to say no to additional commitments, especially if you have things that need to get done.

8.  Save the Best for Last
Look at each subject and decide what your favorite subject is.  Save this assignment for last so that you are looking forward to completing it.

9.  Change it Up
Alternate subjects so that you don't get bored or tired from studying one subject all at once.

10.  Rewards
Reward yourself after a certain task or assignment is completed.

What Causes Procrastination?

If less than perfect is not acceptable to you, starting a project can seem impossible.  Therefore, give yourself some room for failure.  Examine the reasons why you believe you must be perfect.  Recognize that no one is perfect and you are going to mess up at times.  Give yourself some grace.

Fear of Failure
You may have trouble starting a task because you are convinced you will not succeed.  Don't let this fear rule you!  You will certainly not succeed if you never get started.

Overwhelming Tasks
Sometimes the project you need to do just looks too big.  It's hard to start something that threatens to eat your soul.  So break it up into manageable steps.  It's still a big undertaking, but now at least it looks doable.


If you've been sitting at your desk for a long time and feel like you haven't accomplished very much, take a short break.  Do 20 jumping jacks or 5 push ups (or baby push-ups if you need to).  Getting the blood flowing will increase your productivity and break the cycle of procrastination.  If you are studying in a public place and don't wish to draw attention to yourself, get up and walk around for a minute.  Any movement helps.

What NOT to Do

--Find something "more important" to do

--Talk extensively with family or friends to avoid homework

--Finish homework that is due months away before even beginning the homework due now

--Help a friend with her homework before beginning your own

--Wait until the night before the assignment is due to begin it

--Try to justify doing something else by saying it will help you with your homework.  Example: "I need to finish watching Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure because it will help me study for my history test."

--Tell yourself that talking or thinking about your homework is the same thing as doing it

Subject Guide

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Writing Lab Consultants
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But I'm Not Procrastinating!

Procrastinating Comic

By Jasmine Hopkins and Anna Belcher

Intrinsic Motivation

There are many different reasons for doing things.  If you are having trouble getting a job done, think about why it is important to you.  Is it a step in achieving your life goals?  What value does it have in itself?  Once you have identified the significance of the task, it may be easier to begin the necessary steps to accomplish it.

Set Your Mind on Change

Take responsibility for how you spend your time!

Let enough be enough.

Examine yourself to unearth bad habits.

Don't talk about it; be about it!

Get Started

The hardest part of a job is getting started.  It is easy to think of all the reasons not to start, and all the activities that would be preferable to starting.  But frequently, if you go ahead and force yourself to begin the task, you will find it is not as bad as you had feared.  Every time this happens, make a mental note of it so that the next time you need to start a project you can call to mind the positive experiences of starting.

Works Cited

Carter, Carol, Joyce Bishop, and Sarah Lyman. Kravits. Keys to College Studying: Becoming an Active Thinker. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.

ESV: Study Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2007. Print.