Getting Control of Procrastination

There is no magic pill to overcome procrastination entirely, but you can get better control of it. Here are some tips to manage procrastination. 

  • Get started.
  • Break up the job into small pieces, and tackle the job one piece at a time.
  • Set specific small progress goals.
  • “I will read three pages of chapter four tonight, starting at 7 p.m.,” rather than saying, “I’ll read chapter four sometime this week."
  • Set small increments of time to work on a goal.
  • Be patient with yourself even if you are only accomplishing small goals at a time.  
  • Work on the hardest piece of the task first, so you don’t dread getting to the harder part while you work on the easier parts.
  • Tackling the easier pieces first works for some. Try out both ways and get to know your own personal style and preference.
  • Make lists of things to be done, and then check them off when you get them done.
  • Make a list of the pros and cons of procrastinating on a particular task. Set a timer and look at the list of disadvantages for five minutes. Often the urge to procrastinate will vanish.
  • Set up some rewards for not procrastinating.
  • Try “tricking” yourself. “If I don’t read this chapter by 9:00 p.m. then I won’t allow myself to watch my favorite television show.”
  • Set yourself up with a “study buddy” and set dates to study together or have someone with whom you check in on a regular basis and review your progress.
  • Accept you are not going to get rid of all your desires to procrastinate, ever. You are going to have to produce results despite these urges.
  • Do not expect perfections. Just get it done.
  • Make sure you take time to have fun without worrying about what needs to get done.

Remember – change happens very slowly, and in very small pieces. 

Additional Resources:

Tips to Manage Stress

Test Taking Help

Cook Study Skills from Virginia Tech University