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PROCRASTINATION

Procrastination is something that impacts many students for many different reasons. It involves putting off activities, such as schoolwork, until the last minute which can lead to falling behind.

There can be many reasons that someone procrastinates, including

  • Being disinterested in the material
  • Struggling to motivate themselves to work
  • Believing that they perform better when they wait until the last minute
  • Being distracted easily

There are also many distractions being a college student, whether it is related to roommates/family members, technology, being involved in many activities, the impact of distance learning, experiencing college related stress, or often finding yourself in poor study environments.

STRATEGIES FOR PROCRASTINATION

  • Do you procrastinate in all of your classes or just some of them? 
  • Are you more likely to procrastinate in certain environments, such as your bedroom? 
  • Do you have a go to activity when you procrastinate, such as looking at your phone or going online? 
  • Do you notice certain emotions coming up, such as anxiety, stress, worry, or disinterest, when you procrastinate?

Try to see if there are patterns with how and why you procrastinate. Depending on what you find out, you may find some of the below examples helpful (or it may be helpful to explore other topics, such as depression, time management, academic stress, etc.).

Some people are more likely to get work done if they have it planned out ahead of time. You can do this with a planner, an app, or whatever works best for you. It may be helpful to schedule not only when and where you will be doing your work, but breaks as well.

Are you very likely to procrastinate in your bedroom, but not if you try to study in a different room? You may find it helpful to go to that room to get some or all of your work done. Sometimes we have the most distractions in specific rooms or spaces. 

We may also come up with the most distracting excuses at home (e.g. suddenly feeling inclined to clean). Changing your environment may mean putting your phone in your backpack or disconnecting your laptop from wifi, if those prove to be some of the distractions.

If you decide that going somewhere else will significantly help you get work done, focus on getting yourself to that new space instead of telling yourself you need to get work done. Then determine what you need to do to increase the chance you go to the new place. 

For example, you may notice that if you get dressed, put your backpack on, and leave your residence hall room, you are likely to keep going to your car, where you can drive to a small park in nature where you find you can study much easier.

In this example, your goal could be to get dressed, put on your backpack and leave your room. You can hope that the rest will play itself out. If that does not work, you can experiment with different goals.

One issue that can arise when we procrastinate is that the amount of work can feel overwhelming. First, if there is a large task, break it into smaller tasks.

For example, if you have a lot of homework due in the upcoming future, sort by each assignment, then break each assignment into smaller, more manageable pieces.

While this might not change the amount of work you have, it may make it feel easier. You may also find it helpful to start with easier assignments and build your way up to more difficult ones.

THREE STRATEGIES FOR PROCRASTINATION TO TRY TODAY

See if there are two things you can change to improve your approach.
This should include your study location, for the next weeks worth of work. Track it and see what worked/what did not.
Create a checklist and check off after you have completed each part.

ONLINE ASSESSMENTS

If you are curious about learning more about you procrastination you may find it helpful to take one or more of the following screenings or click here for our general online assessment screenings:

We also developed a COPE stress test to further guide you as well.

ADDITIONAL LINKS