Procrastination 101: the Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Procrastination

student life

Thursday, February 23

Have you ever submitted an assignment due at 11:59 pm at 11:58 pm? Have you ever pulled an all-nighter for an assignment due the next day?

Everyone has his or her own work style, with some using procrastination as a driving force. However, this approach can prove to be stressful for many. Setting goals is important for maintaining a balanced lifestyle. If you want to start avoiding procrastination, here are a few quick tips.

1. Set reasonable goals for each day

Overloading yourself can lead to stress, which can cause avoidance of your tasks. Setting realistic, daily goals can help you be proactive. It is important to make a checklist with all your tasks for the day and then prioritize them. We all have many things we need to get done, so keeping these tasks organized will help you stay on track. Some may keep mental or electronic checklists; however, writing checklists on a piece of paper can be helpful. The pure satisfaction of crossing tasks off of your list can give you the motivation you need.

2. Create an organized workspace

Having a messy desk or workspace can clutter your work and your mind. An organized space gives you a fresh place to work every time you sit down. This can help boost productivity as it limits distractions and allows you to focus on your work. Making sure you have all your necessary supplies in your workspace ensures uninterrupted work time. As soon as you hop up to grab your computer charger, it is easy to find yourself baking cookies or on the phone with a friend a few minutes later.

3. Make an organized schedule

Making daily schedules to plan out your day is essential. Every week we have a lot of things that need to get done. Planning out your tasks and their due dates can help you stay active. This plan will keep you on track to have a manageable workload every day, so you aren’t writing the entirety of your fifty-page research paper the night before it’s due. Instead, every day you're working on pieces of the puzzle so the workload doesn’t build up and become unmanageable. This could help you make sure that you don’t leave things until the minute. A physical planner or a website like Google Calendars can help you fit all your tasks and meetings and give you a visual representation of your day.

4. Take breaks

Working for hours and hours straight can be both stressful and draining. The body and brain are not made to endure endless hours of math homework without stopping. Make a schedule that includes taking breaks! Taking even a five-minute break can help you in a myriad of ways. Even short breaks can help you reset and take your mind off your work. Going outside, exercising, and listening to music are all great ways to reset. Then, you can go back to your tasks refreshed. This can help increase productivity and mitigate later burnout.

5. Have a healthy lifestyle

Three words: sleep, eat, hydrate. Sleep is just so important; remember to get your 8 hours! Some days, it may seem like cramming is the best option, but going to bed when you’re tired will help you be productive the next day. Having an organized schedule can help you avoid cramming and prioritize sleep. Moreover, fueling your body with nutritious foods is just as important. Some great brain foods are avocados, kale, berries, and nuts. Finally, hydrate- 8 glasses of water a day is recommended!

6. Find the time that you are most productive

Are you a morning person or a night owl? If you can find a time in the day when you are most productive, you can finish your work more efficiently. With all the good intentions, we sometimes set our alarm at 5 AM thinking we’ll be more productive but end up yawning the rest of the day. By third period, we regret waking up early because we’re just not morning people. It is impossible to work at your peak capacity all of the time; however, by finding times when you are most productive, it can be easier to accomplish more tasks.

7. Have an accountability buddy

For some, checklists and calendars on their own work great; however, there are many of us that put things on our list and then reassure ourselves that “we’ll do it tomorrow.” Sometimes, all you need is a text from a friend to remind you to finish the project or study for the test. Asking a friend or peer to help you stay accountable for completing your work will help you stay proactive. This can be mutually beneficial as well. Buddies can help keep each other stay on track and focused, but also give each other the breaks that they need. By telling your friend to take a break and then resume in a set amount of time, you can help them keep the momentum throughout the day.

8. Reward yourself after you finish a few tasks

Sometimes, it is hard to find the motivation to complete the items on your to-do list. Seeing all you have to do can be overwhelming and create a turn-off. However, implementing small rewards into your to-do list after every few tasks can boost motivation. Including small but exciting rewards on your to-do list can help you find motivation. These small rewards can range from calling a friend to making yourself coffee to dancing to your favorite song. Next time you’re feeling unmotivated, put some little rewards on your checklist.

It’s amazing the wonders these simple steps can do for you. Implementing even a few can help you on your journey to a happier, healthier, more productive you!

Leena Mirchandani
1,000+ pageviews

Leena is a high school sophomore in New Jersey. She enjoys co-hosting her podcast "Dear Little Sisters," practicing a classical Indian dance called Bharatanatyam, and playing her cello. In her free time, Leena enjoys riding her bike, going to the beach, and spending time with friends and family.