10 Tips to Avoid Procrastination

I have taken most of my classes online and by doing so have faced the temptations of procrastination and have sometimes given in. Procrastination can seriously hurt your grades and force you to pull an all nighter, which is never fun or easy. Being a college student requires taking responsibility and avoiding procrastination at all costs. Here are ten tips to avoid procrastination.

1. Anticipate future assignments. You will find that most instructors will stick to a certain pattern. You will, for example, be instructed to read a chapter and then answer the review questions at the end of the chapter. Be sure to ask your instructor which chapter you will cover. Nothing is worse than doing an assignment and finding out that chapter will be skipped. Sometimes it’s really easy to avoid procrastination because you are given a syllabus that lists all the assignments for the semester. If you are really dedicated to avoiding procrastination, do the assignment ASAP. For example, if the assignment is to be worked on Monday – Thursday and turned in on Friday, start the assignment on Monday and have it finished by Tuesday.

2. Don’t put assignments off until the last minute. Once you know what the assignment is, get started on it. Procrastination will tempt you to put these assignments off until the last minute, but don’t give into that temptation. Do your work early in the week and you’ll be able to hang out with your friends later in the week rather than staying in and doing your mountain of homework.

3. Do hard assignments first. It’s sometimes easy to get started on assignments that are easy or are of interest to you. It’s also easy to procrastinate on harder assignments and put them off until you absolutely have to do them. You will rush through these assignments that should have been worked on for at least a couple days and end up with grades that are lower than you expected.

4. Work on large assignments in chunks. If you have an assignment that is huge and is screaming to be put off until the last minute, break it up into smaller parts. For example, I have a paper due in Literature in a month. I have broken the assignment up so this week I will choose the short story I will be writing about, next week I am going to brainstorm and find out how I will approach writing the paper, the next week I will write a rough draft and probably have my instructor look over it. The last week before the assignment is due, I will write my final draft. This makes this assignment very easy. It’s easy to think about procrastination when it comes to an assignment like this, if you think about doing it all in one night, be easy on yourself and break it up.

5. Use a planner. Using a planner is a great way to avoid procrastination. First write down all the due dates for assignments and tests. Then go back and write down time slots for when you want to work on these assignments and study for the tests. I suggest you study two hours each day in your attempt to avoid procrastination. Procrastination is easier to conquer when you have a schedule. But you must stick to this schedule.

6. Expect the unexpected. No one expects to get sick or for a family member to die, but these things happen. You must schedule your time so that you have extra time to work on an assignment and study for a test if needed. This is when avoiding procrastination comes in very handy. Let’s say you have an assignment due Friday and you’ve put it off and it’s now Thursday night. You get a call from your boyfriend/girlfriend and they are extremely ill and would like for you to take them to the emergency room. Are you going to say no to your sweetie? I didn’t think so. So you rush to the side of your loved one and by the time you get home it’s 7am, one hour before class? You should have planned for the unexpected and had the assignment finished or at least 90% completed by Thursday.

7. Just get started. Sometimes all you need to avoid procrastination is to get started. Once you start working on an assignment, you may find that it’s really easy and you’re going to get done really quickly. Procrastination tempts us to put off even the easiest assignments, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Start out by reading the first page of a chapter that has been assigned. The next thing you know, you’re finished with the chapter and the review questions are really easy.

8. Page numbers. I find that one of the easiest ways to avoid procrastination when it comes to reading a chapter is to avoid looking and counting the page numbers. If you are constantly looking at what page you are on and counting to see how many you have left, you’ll never get done. Plus if there are a lot of pages left, you’ll be tempted to put the book down and take a 15 minute break which ends up turning into a hour and then the whole night, because you were tempted by procrastination.

9. Avoid distractions. If you want to avoid procrastination, avoid distractions. Don’t try to study in front of the TV or even in a place where you can hear the TV. You’ll be tempted to look up or listen to just about anything when you’re stuck studying a boring subject. Also turn off the ringer on your phone and completely turn off your cell phone. If researching something online, do not have your email open, it will only be a distraction. Once you see the little envelope pop up on the screen you’ll be tempted to check and see who it’s from, then you may be tempted to check other things like the news, anything to get you away from your homework. That’s procrastination tempting you again, avoid it!

10. Reward yourself. To help yourself avoid procrastination tell yourself that you’ll reward yourself for getting the assignment done early. If it’s something as big as a midterm or final exam tell yourself that if you study each day for the two weeks leading up to the exam, you’ll buy yourself that MP3 player you’ve been wanting and if you make an “A” on the exam you’ll get a subscription to an online music service to go along with that new MP3 player.

Avoiding procrastination isn’t as hard as it seems. If you follow these tips you’ll be on your way to a procrastination free life. Remember, if you avoid procrastination and get your assignments done early, you’ll have more time to do the things you want to do. Avoid procrastination and have fun without worrying about having to finish up an assignment.


  • Overcoming Procrastination