The key is to learn the habit
of getting started on a task early, i.e. the procrastinator
needs to learn to initiate well in advance studying and
preparing for papers and exams. Practice starting studying
several times every day. As with exercising, getting in control
of starting and making it a routine are the secrets.
Other valuable suggestions
• Recognize self-defeating
problems such as; fear and anxiety, difficulty
concentrating, poor time management, indecisiveness and
• Keep your goals in mind
and identify your strengths and weaknesses, values and
• Compare your actions with
the values you feel you have. Are your values consistent
with your actions?
• Discipline yourself to
use time wisely: Set priorities.
• Study in small blocks
instead of long time periods. For example, you will
accomplish more if you study/work in 60 minute blocks and
take frequent 10 minute breaks in between, than if you
study/work for 2-3 hours straight, with no breaks. Reward
yourself after you complete a task.
• Motivate yourself to
study: Dwell on success, not on failure. Try to study in
small groups. Break large assignments into small tasks.
Keep a reminder schedule and checklist.
• Set realistic
• Modify your environment:
Eliminate or minimize noise/ distraction. Ensure adequate
lighting. Have necessary equipment at hand. Don't waste
time going back and forth to get things. Don't get too
comfortable when studying. A desk and straight-backed chair
is usually best (a bed is no place to study). Be neat! Take
a few minutes to straighten your desk. This can help to
• Decide you’ve had enough,
and it’s time for change.
• Think about the
activities that you use to procrastinate (email, TV, etc.)
and set clear time limits on them.
• Set clear goals for each
day (e.g., start CHEM problem set, do POL reading, go to
friend’s recital) and stick to them. Then when you are
done, you are free to do whatever you like.
• Break large projects into
• Remember that
procrastination is usually followed by serious academic
• Recall how awful it is to
stay up all night to write a paper. That can help you get
started on the next one.
• Know that overcoming
procrastination is sometimes easier if you talk out
strategies for change with someone else.
Balancing classes, homework,
working, and fun can lead to a great deal of stress for the
average college student. It’s normal to feel stressed with so
much going on. You may feel like your life has spiraled out of
control, but rest assured, your fellow students are feeling
somewhat the same way. In the next section, we’ll explore
stress, what causes it, and how to lessen it.