These website links are provided for educational purposes. They offer generally accurate information from a neutral values stance. Counseling and Psychological Services does not specifically endorse any of the values-based advice offered on these links. In making decisions, you are urged to seek out sources of information and wisdom that reflect your personal values as well as the religious, ethnic, and cultural traditions to which you adhere.
By Amanda McKinney, Senior
Just imagine, it's your first day of college, and you are so excited about making a new start. In high school you were never very organized, but you have promised yourself that you are going to be responsible. In one of your classes you hear about a research paper due towards the end of the semester. The paper makes up a large portion of your final grade, but you don't worry too much since the deadline is three months away. Time goes by and you soon realize that the deadline is a month away. You promise yourself to go to the library the next day, but keep putting it off. Soon the deadline is only days away and you have accomplished nothing. The night before the paper is due you are in the library working all night long, and print the paper moments before class begins.
To some this may seem as an exaggeration, but for many, including myself, it is a reality. Procrastination is a problem that many people suffer from, but luckily there is help. One article I discovered said that 90% of college students procrastinate, and 25% are chronic procrastinators.
- The larger the assignment, the more likely you are to procrastinate.
- Background stressors such as noise, or a personal crisis.
- Difficulty concentrating. Often students begin to work on a project, and then start daydreaming about the upcoming weekend or boyfriends/girlfriends.
- Poor time management. When a student does not manage his/her time wisely, the consequences can be severe. You may actually find yourself wasting time by worrying about an assignment instead of completing it.
- Negative beliefs in oneself. Negative thoughts often get in the way of completing the task, and stop you from getting the work done.
- Unrealistic expectations about what you can accomplish in an amount of time.
- Lack of motivation.
Procrastination often leads to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and/or depression.
Luckily, there are a number of things a student can do to help overcome procrastination. By following these tips, hopefully you will be able to beat procrastination!
- Set aside a regular study time each day. If you are having a hard time managing your time, it is important to set aside a regular study time each day. Use this time to finish homework, or begin to work on upcoming projects. Having good study skills is a necessary skill to survive in college.
- Break work up into sections. If lack of motivation is the problem try to divide you work up, so you don't have so much to do at once. Write yourself questions at the end of each section and make sure you know the answers after reviewing all of the material.
- Find a good study environment. If your study environment is the problem, talk to your roommates about keeping the noise level down during study time, or try studying in a different location such as the library.
- Spend time gathering your thoughts before you dive in. By spending the first 5-10 minutes gathering your thoughts and organizing your workspace, you will discover that you can accomplish a lot!
- Keep a record of how often you daydream. If daydreaming is a problem, try marking down on a sheet of paper how often you daydream. Each time you catch yourself daydreaming, put a check on the sheet of paper. You will be surprised at how much time you are wasting.
These are just a few of the solutions to overcoming procrastination. For other helpful hints check out the web sites listed below.
- Overcoming Procrastination (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
- Study Skills:Overcoming Procrastination (University at Buffalo)
- Ten Tips to Help You Overcome Procrastination (Momscape)
- Tips to Help Avoid Writing Proctrastination (San Francisco State University)