How to Combat Procrastination | GUTS Tip

In this article, we will be discussing how to identify the causes of procrastination and the solutions to combat your procrastination. After figuring out why you are procrastinating, you can start to build your own plan to solve the problem.

Figure Out Why You Are Procrastinating

Is it because the task seems too hard, doesn’t interest you, isn’t motivating to work on? If the task seems too hard, separate it into pieces so you’re not overwhelmed. If the task isn’t interesting, find a way to reward yourself for powering through it! Here are 8 common causes of procrastination:

Reason #1: Perfectionism Perfectionism limits the definition of success to an unrealistic standard. Try to build up perseverance by working through mistakes, rather than starting over multiple times.
Reason #2: Fear of Unknown Knowledge is power, but knowing is only half of the battle—from there you have to take corrective action and try to push past the feeling of being unsure.
Reason #3: “I’ll Do It Later” People make different decisions for what will impact them in the immediate future and what will impact them down the road. Try to prioritize assignments that are due soon by working on them bit by bit each day.
Reason #4: Working on Smaller and Easier Tasks Sometimes the immediate hassle of having to wait for a payoff doesn’t seem worth the unknown future benefits. For your bigger assignments, try setting weekly goals for getting parts of it done.
Reason #5: You Experience a Lack of Motivation If you are able to clearly see how your work connects to your interests or goals, you are more likely to value your work and be motivated to invest your energy into it. How will accomplishing the tasks in this class move you closer to your academic goals?
Reason #6: You Are Unclear About How to Get Started Use the “getting things done” approach. To do this, you should try breaking down your complex task into a series of smaller tasks. If you still are unsure, visiting your professor’s office hours is also a great start.
Reason #7: You Often Get Distracted Remove any temptation and only think about the task at hand by blocking certain websites or deleting games and apps on your smartphone. Try studying in a place that has less foot traffic and noise.
Reason #8: You Know the Task Will Require Effort and Hardwork Working on long projects takes a lot of effort. This often leads people to lose their motivation and choose to set aside their projects for a later time. Try to chunk your large projects into smaller pieces so the amount of work doesn’t feel so overwhelming for you.

Make a Plan

Create monthly to-do lists and set deadlines oriented around your coursework.  You can break it down even further by creating daily to-do lists to keep you on track.

Set Reminders

Try to use post-it notes, write on a whiteboard, or even set alarms on your phone for the future. These will help you get back on track by reminding you what you need to accomplish.

Eliminate Distractions

Recognize what distracts you and get rid of them. If you get lost in conversations, try studying in the quiet section of the library. If you procrastinate through the internet, try turning off your internet connection or utilize apps that block the sites you visit most.

Try Reserving a Study Room at a Library

It will help you set aside a specific time dedicated to studying and will be an incentive to claim the reserved room.

Set Aside Times that You are Available for Blocks of Studying

Even if you don’t reserve a study room, block off the times each day that you will use to work on your schoolwork.

Tell Others

Tell a friend, parent, roommate about your intention to get a task done – anyone who will ask whether you’ve completed the assignment or who will suggest ways to get it done.


Written by Freya Wan

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*This is an opinion post. While the topics described here are mostly based on research, please keep in mind not to assume all of the information described above is factual.

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