How to beat your procrastination habit this semester


Samantha Weideman

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

It’s 2 a.m. as I write this, my eyes burning, my heart palpitating, and my brain ablaze. My deadline was hours ago.

I’ve struggled with procrastination for most of my life, and unfortunately, continue to struggle with it well into college.

Everything I do is simple enough if I think about it logically, but my Instagram handle isn’t “overthinkingsam” for nothing.

For those of you who struggle with procrastination as much as I do, here are some tips to see you through your semester.

Discover why you procrastinate
Everyone procrastinates for a different reason. I procrastinate because I am a perfectionist, and my anxiety plagues me. Kicking your procrastination requires treating the underlying issue, as well as the symptoms.

Treat assignments as if they’re drafts
Obviously, edit your papers and assignments for spelling, style and punctuation errors, but don’t aim for perfection, especially if perfectionism is something you struggle with. Your work will never be perfect, but it’s easier to receive feedback on assignments that are completed than those that don’t exist.

Put your phone away
It’s easier to jump down a YouTube rabbit hole when your phone is staring at you beside your laptop. What’s worse: the act of checking your phone increases the possibility of making errors by five percent. Put it away and turn off your notifications if you can’t turn it off.

Set timers and take breaks
The face of time staring at you is the best motivator. I’m most productive when I use the Pomodoro Technique, alternating between 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of breaks. Taking breaks can make you more productive and allow you to get fresh air (or check your phone).

Prioritize and single-task
Perhaps the thing that sets me back most often is getting overwhelmed with all of my responsibilities and becoming paralyzed with anxiety. When I single-task, my productivity skyrockets. Definitely finish the 12-page paper before your Canvas discussion. The longer it takes to finish the paper, the harder it is to work on. Apply this to whatever your responsibilities are.

Don’t beat yourself up when you procrastinate
Self-compassion is the key to success and growth. Understand that procrastination happens. Talking down to yourself will not make it easier to complete assignments or overcome your bad habit. Allow the past to live in the past, and work on improving future behaviors. Obviously, if it’s a reoccurring problem, it may be in your best interest to reach out to a professional to understand any underlying issues.