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Kendra Cherry

How to Deal With Procrastination

By May 31, 2014

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overcome procrastination

Procrastination is one of those things that even the most well-organized and punctual fall victim to at some point or another. Think about the last time you found yourself watching television when you really should have been doing homework. While common, procrastination can have a detrimental impact on your life, including your grades.

It may come as no surprise that procrastination is a serious problem among students. Experts estimate that between 25 and 75 percent of college students put off doing their academic work on a regular basis. So why is it students fall into this deadly time trap? Researchers Ferrari, Johnson and McCown suggest that some cognitive distortions help contribute to this tendency to put important things off until the last moment.

Students tend to:

  1. Overestimate how much time is left to complete assignments
  2. Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future
  3. Underestimate how long various tasks will take to finish
  4. Mistakenly believe that they need to feel inspired or in the right frame of mind to begin an assignment

So what can students do to overcome procrastination and avoid the stress, anxiety and poor performance that comes from completing assignments at the last second? Researchers suggest that developing a schedule, carefully planning academic tasks, and improving time-management skills are all effective ways to cope with procrastination.

Some techniques you might try include making a list of assignments that must be completed and breaking each assignment down into manageable portions. Next, estimate how long it will take to complete each step and then double that number. Chances are good that it will take you longer than you think to complete each assignment. Finally, offer yourself some type of reward for each task you complete.

Learn more about the psychology of procrastination including why we tend to procrastinate and some of the excuses we use to justify this behavior. Not sure if procrastination is really a problem in your life? Take this quick procrastination quiz to get a better idea of the impact that procrastination has on your day-to-day existence. If you do struggle with this problem, be sure to check out our tips for overcoming procrastination.

Image by Renato Benicio


June 2, 2013 at 7:45 am
(1) Ash says:

I find that procrastination almost always comes back to fear of doing something – whether it’s due to fear of the unfamiliar or fear of challenging my inertia … Here’s what works for me:

• Step back and become mindful of what’s happening around the thought processes
• ‘Peel back the layers of the onion’ and see what is really happening – Procrastination often masquerades as analysis paralysis and ‘deep thinking’ which in turn was driven by fear of the unfamiliar
• Acknowledge the underlying fear; feel it in my body (a large proportion of fear is felt physically according to me) and make a firm decision to act despite the fear

That’s it


June 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm
(2) kirstyburton says:

I completely agree with the above comment! It’s usually a fear of something or low self-confidence.

I had a good hard look in the metaphorical mirror into my mind recently, and came up with a really effective way of dealing with this and motivating myself to run! All I had to do was make sure I put my running shoes on every day, and reward myself if I do it. I don’t actually have to run, just put the shoes on. But once the shoes are on, I go!

I think this formula could work for most tasks.

Check it out at my blog in more detail: http://wp.me/p3paMc-7h


August 27, 2013 at 10:45 pm
(3) Sam Tornatore says:

Another method to stopping procrastination is identifying the reasons why you procrastinate in the first place. Usually they are either 1. Wrong goals 2. Unclear focus 3. No Action plan or 4. Mental barriers. Fortunately with a little bit of knowledge there are specific solutions for each one of these.

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