Putting things off -- we all do it, but for some college students,
procrastination is a very serious problem. As a result of putting things
off, we often feel guilty, lazy, inadequate or stupid, none of which is
conducive to good performance. If you find you are constantly turning in
assignments late and have a hard time motivating yourself to get started
with studying or projects, you may have a serious procrastination
problem. For someone who does have a procrastination problem, it is
extremely important to set up a time management plan. Designing a good
time management program and then sticking to it can be very effective in
overcoming procrastination. However, time management is very difficult
for a lot of college students, especially those who tend to
Possible reasons for procrastination:
Lack of relevance -- if you are not interested in the project you may
find it easy to postpone starting it.
Fear of the unknown -- being uncertain about your skills for a project
can make it difficult to begin.
Perfectionism -- some students set such high standards for themselves
that it is very difficult to begin because the goals they set are
Anxiety about evaluation -- sometimes students are so worried about
how they will be evaluated that the anxiety interferes with their
ability to accomplish the task.
Some suggestions for coping with procrastination:
Note how you procrastinate -- do you underestimate the time needed to
complete a task successfully or overestimate your ability; do you
substitute one "worthy activity" for another, thus avoiding the task
at hand; do you persevere on only one portion of a project or do you
find deciding between alternative choices paralyzing; do you convince
yourself that a mediocre performance is acceptable, and do you allow
distractions (friends, telephone calls, etc.) to control your study
time? Understanding how you procrastinate is the first step to doing
something about it.
Note what your procrastination is doing to the attainment of career or
Break big projects down into smaller segments. Make a list of each
segment to be accomplished and then cross off each as it is completed.
Write an intention statement where you not only set some goals for
your project, but you identify a reward for when those goals are
accomplished. After you have written your intention, tell someone
close to you about it. One very effective way to combat
procrastination is to make yourself accountable to someone whose
approval you respect.
Make yourself accountable to the person who will be evaluating you.
Set up a time to have your professor go over your outline or your
opening paragraph. Make these appointments well before the
paper/project is due.
Be reasonable about what you can accomplish, and remember to schedule
relaxation time as well as task time. This helps you to feel less
resentful of the task.
Visit Academic Support Services. Resources are available to help with
Remember that if your procrastination problem is interfering seriously
with your self confidence, your ability to sleep, or your academic
performance, you should talk with counseling services.