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How to Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is to put off doing something you know you need to do.  

If you find yourself procrastinating, know you are not alone.  Most everyone does this with something.  Taking out the trash, doing laundry, doing dishes, doing homework, and exercising are common things many people put off to a later time - procrastination. 

Ready to Stop Procrastinating?  

Begin with one project that is a smaller, easier one.  Sometimes you just need to get started.  Answer these basic questions.  It might even be helpful to put them in writing.

What do you want/need to do?  What is the final objective, the end result?

It may or may not be obvious.  An example would be to complete a paper and earn a B or better.

What are the major steps to get there?

Don’t get too detailed, think big.  This may be something like brainstorm ideas, create an outline, write a rough draft, go to the Writing Center for help editing it,  write the final draft, turn it in before the deadline.

What have you done so far?

Every journey begins with the first step.

Acknowledge if you have already started, even if it is just thinking about it.

Why do you want to do this? What is your biggest motivation?

Do not be concerned if your motivation is negative. This is honest and a good beginning.

However, if your motivation is negative, re-phrase and re-work it until it is phrased positively.  For example, your motivation might be to get the paper done so you can hang out with friends.  But, a better way to think about it would be to write a well developed paper that earns a passing grade so that you can work toward your degree which will allow you to get a better job which in turn gives you more free time so that you can hang out with friends.

What are the positive results of achieving your goal?

Identifying these will help you uncover the benefits that you may be avoiding.  An example would be that completing a paper helps you become a better writer which will help you with your career.

Make a list of the things that stand in your way

  • What is in your power to change? Make a list of these too.
  • What resources outside of yourself do you need?
    • These are not always physical (computer, money)
    • Can include time, people, attitude etc.

Here are some YouTube videos that can provide some tips on avoiding procrastination:

How to Stop Procrastinating - Solving the Procrastination Puzzle

Brain Training to Beat Procrastination with the World's Easiest Learning Technique


What will happen if you don’t progress?

This could be things like failing the course, not getting a degree, disappointing someone.

Keep track of your progress

  • Create a timeline for yourself. 
    • This might include a start date, a date for having the rough draft finished, a date for going to the Writing Center, and a date for the final paper to be turned in. 
    • Reward yourself for sticking with your deadlines.
  • If you catch yourself procrastinating...
    • Be aware of it
    • Take steps to get and keep yourself on track.

Think positive thoughts and use positive self-talk to encourage yourself to help you reach your goals. 

  • “I can do this” 
  • “I am capable of accomplishing this if I put my mind to it”
  • Find someone to be your cheerleader and offer support if you start to feel discouraged.  This could be a classmate or someone in your family.

Once you realize that you can beat procrastination, you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals!