12 Tips to Overcome Procrastination

“When we procrastinate, we’re not only aware that we’re avoiding the task in question, but also that doing so is probably a bad idea. And yet, we do it anyway” 

  • Dr. Fuschia Sirois, New York Times article: “Why You Procrastinate”

I am sure that we have all felt the encroaching panic or anxiety as an 11:59 pm deadline inches towards us. As students, procrastination has always been an issue, whether that be waiting until the last minute to begin a project or starting a homework assignment the morning it is due. With the remote learning model prompted by COVID-19, this issue has only worsened. I would be surprised to find any student who is thriving with their time management skills right now. 

Procrastination is a dangerous issue for a few different reasons, but primarily because of the cycle that it can create. In short, we procrastinate to avoid unwanted feelings. It is “a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond” (Dr. Fuschia Sirois).  

Eventually, we will all get around to doing our homework because at the end of the day, we know that we need to do it. But that’s when the unhealthiness kicks in. Let’s say you start your essay at 11pm, when it is due at 11:59. You immediately feel the stress of the deadline. You somehow manage to write an acceptable essay and turn it in on time. Maybe you began to feel that pent up anxiety from the last hour of stress that you put on yourself lessen. But you are not actually relaxed, you are still stressed, and now it is time for bed. 

At this point, many of us will pick up our phones because “we deserve a break.” And  suddenly it is 2:30 am and we are deep into another episode of a various Netflix TV show. The next morning your wake up is torture. Even though you get through your online school day, you barely retain any information. So, at 2:25 you pick up your phone again and you are on it until dinner. Maybe you manage to do some work in that 4 hour timeline, but not enough to stop yourself from procrastinating. This is when our procrastination begins again and the cycle restarts. Our sleep schedule eventually adjusts to fit this late night procrastination. 

However, procrastination affects more than just your sleep schedule and grades. It also affects your mental health. Procrastination can cause anxiety, or it can indirectly create feelings of depression or worthlessness. I am no expert, but I have decided to compile tips that may ot help with our c unproductive schedules.

12 Tips for Procrastination: 

  1. Forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past and avoid as many negative emotions as possible
  2. Commit to the task. Write down the tasks that you need to complete, and specify a time for doing them
  3. Promise yourself a reward. 
  4. Ask someone to check up on you. Peer pressure is good in this situation
  5. Finish smaller or easier assignments as soon as they get assigned. 
  6. Minimize distractions. Throw your phone across the room!
  7. On free days with less homework, get the nasty assignments out of the way, so you are less stressed in the evening with the smaller assignments. 
  8. Use task- and time-management apps (or keep a to-do list/ set a timer on your phone/ chromebook).
  9. Give yourself 5 minute-10 minute breaks.
  10. Work when you feel most alert and efficient. Maybe go for a walk before sitting down to do homework)
  11. Put your homework in front of you. 
  12. Set a timeline for yourself and change your environment. 

*This won’t eliminate procrastination all together and I only just recently started using these tactics, but they really do help a lot more than I thought they would.*