When Procrastination Rears Its Ugly Head

People procrastinate for all sorts of reasons. Which of the following are reasons that you procrastinate?

  • I'm worried or afraid of not doing well.
  • I feel that a project is too huge to tackle.
  • The task seems too difficult.
  • I get distracted by details.
  • I can never get a project to be perfect.
  • I don't have a big enough time slot in which to complete the task.
  • The work doesn't seem relevant.

Once you've determined the reasons that you procrastinate, identify which of the following suggestions you need to implement to conquer the beast!

1. Pinpoint the Fear.

Ask yourself what is preventing you from action. What is it that you fear? Determine if your fear is irrational or illogical. If you fear failure as a student, you can build your confidence in school by honing your study skills and getting extra assistance in courses when you need it.

2. Slice the Project Into Smaller, More Manageable Pieces.

Don't try to do the whole project at once. Get in the habit of dividing the first few parts of a project into such small steps that you can't possibly justify not doing it.

3. Be Specific About Each Piece of Work.

Make your steps specific and your goals realistic. (Don't promise yourself that you will get 10 pages done if you know that 5 is a more realistic goal.)

4. Make Lists of Things to Be Done.

Keep your list handy and check things off as you do them. Being able to cross something off will inspire you to do another thing your list.

5. Stop Trying to Be So Perfect.

Doing something is better than doing nothing at all. Tell yourself to just sit down and do whatever it is you're avoiding, and, once you're finished, you can go back and polish it up.

6. Avoid Distractions.

Think about your distractions. Are they really just ways of delaying yourself from studying further? Identify when and for how long you will take to study. Stick to it!

7. Reassess Your Goals. 

Do you have a habit of dismissing your classes, professors, and even entire areas of study by saying they are irrelevant? If so, try to motivate yourself for those classes by reminding yourself that each class you pass brings you closer to your career.

Adapted from: Wood, Nancy. College Reading and Study Skills. Chicago: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1986.