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Overcoming Procrastination in College

March 8, 2023
By AdmissionSight
View of a woman sitting on the stairs of a school building.

Overcoming Procrastination in College

College life is an exciting phase filled with endless possibilities, but it can also be a breeding ground for procrastination. With so many distractions and responsibilities vying for your attention, it’s no wonder that college students struggle with it.

However, overcoming this is key to achieving academic success and enjoying college life to the fullest. In this blog, we’ll explore practical tips and strategies to help you with this problem and take control of your academic journey. So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and read on to learn more!

Is procrastinating the same as being lazy?

Is it the same as being lazy and procrastinating? Even though this is a common misconception, being lazy and procrastinating is not the same.

You procrastinate when you do something else instead of the task you know you should be working on. On the other hand, laziness means not caring, not doing anything, and not wanting to do anything.

Procrastinating is often done by putting off a daunting but more important task so that you can do something more fun or easier.

But giving in to this temptation could lead to some very bad things. Even short periods of procrastinating, for example, can make us feel bad and embarrassed.

a female student looking at the camera smiling

It could make us less productive and keep us from reaching the goals we’ve set for ourselves. If we put off doing something for a long time, we risk losing interest and becoming unhappy with it.

What is the cause of procrastination in students?

Why do students wait until the last minute to do their work? This happens when tiredness or nerves make it hard for students to control themselves and stay motivated. This group of problems includes things like anxiety and the need to be perfect, as well as interruptions and unclear instructions in the environment.

More specifically, when students need to study or do homework, they mostly rely on their self-control to get them to do it. Also, their determination can sometimes help them stay in control of themselves, which in turn helps them get things done on time.

On the other hand, there are times when students have problems, like being tired or worried, that make it hard or impossible for them to be self-controlled and determined.

They end up putting things off because these things are stronger than their ability to be self-controlled and motivated. They keep putting things off until the balance between them changes in their favor or until it is too late to do anything about it.

This helps to explain why so many students are always putting things off, even though they have the motivation and desire to study and finish their homework.

This helps to explain why so many students always wait until the last minute before a deadline to start their schoolwork. At this point, they are finally pushed to start studying or working on their assignments by increased motivation, which often comes in the form of stress.

So, here are some of the most common reasons why students resort to procrastination:

  • They have “abstract goals” that aren’t clear about when and how they plan to study or finish their work.
  • A feeling of being overworked, which is often accompanied by confusion about how to approach schoolwork
  • Perfectionism, which usually shows up as a refusal to turn in work that has any mistakes
  • A fear of failing, which is usually caused by worries about how their lack of success might make them look bad, either in their own eyes or in the eyes of others
  • Worried, which is often caused by the fear of getting negative feedback
  • Dislike the task at hand, especially if they find it boring or unappealing
  • A lack of motivation, which is often caused by the person not caring about their academic success, feeling disconnected from their future selves, or having rewards that are too far away to motivate them
  • Mental or physical exhaustion, which is often caused by a combination of things, like doing too much schoolwork and not getting enough sleep
  • Resentment, which is usually directed at the studying or assignments themselves, their source, or something related, like a parent pushing them to do well in a subject they don’t like
  • Sensation-seeking, which usually looks like enjoying working on things right before a deadline when there is a lot of pressure that can make tasks that would normally be boring more challenging and exciting
  • A bad working environment, which is usually caused by a lot of interruptions or opportunities in the area
  • A lack of communication from the instructors, such as when it comes to tying up loose ends

Self-handicapping is procrastinating so that if the student fails, they can blame it on putting things off instead of their skills, and self-sabotaging is putting things off because they want to slow down their progress. These are also common reasons why students procrastinate.

How does procrastination affect college students?

What kind of problems do college students face when they procrastinate? Students who consistently put off their schoolwork, grades, and health are setting themselves up to fail.

The effects of procrastinating may have an even bigger effect on college students. When they get to college and have more homework and bigger projects, students who wait until the last minute to do their work usually get lower grades than their classmates.

Three students smiling at the camera.

Students may find it hard to break out of the cycle of bad grades and low self-confidence that can come from this. This can cause a lot of extra stress and frustration at a time when students’ grades start to affect what they can do in college.

How can students overcome procrastination?

How can students stop waiting until the last minute to do things? Procrastinating is a trap that many people are prone to fall into. It might make you feel better knowing that you’re not the only one going through this, but seeing how much it slows you down might be discouraging.

You can break the habit of putting things off, just like any other habit. The following steps can help you deal with it and stop it from happening:

Step 1: Recognize That You’re Procrastinating

You might be putting off doing something because you had to change the order in which you do your work. If you have a good reason to put off an important task for a short time, you are not necessarily putting it off because you don’t want to do it.

On the other hand, you are definitely trying to avoid doing something if you start setting them aside indefinitely or switching your focus from one thing to another.

You might also be procrastinating if you:

  • Fill your day with things that don’t matter much
  • Don’t worry about how soon you need to do something on your list
  • Read emails quickly more than once without deciding what to do with the information they contain
  • Start working on something important, then make some coffee

Instead of working on the important tasks that are already on your to-do list, fill your time with small tasks that other people ask you to do. Wait until you are in the “right mood” or until the “right time” to start a project.

Step 2: Work Out Why You’re Procrastinating

Before you can start to fix the problem, you need to figure out what is making you procrastinate.

For example, do you put off doing a certain chore because you find it boring or unpleasant? If this is the case, you should do what you must to clear it up as soon as possible so you can focus on the parts of your job you enjoy more.

Poor organization skills are often the cause of procrastination. Organized people can handle it because they make to-do lists with priorities and work well from the timetables they’ve made. These tools will help them organize their tasks based on their deadlines and how important they are.

a woman reading inside a library

Even if you have a good plan for your work, you might still feel like you have too much to do. You might have doubts about your skills and be afraid of making a fool of yourself, so instead of taking on the challenge right away, you put it off and take comfort in the fact that you can get other things done.

Some people are scared of success just as much as they are of failure. They think that if they are successful, people will ask them to take on more responsibilities all the time.

Perfectionists often put things off until the last minute, which is interesting. People often would rather not do work they don’t think they can do well than do it poorly and risk embarrassing themselves in front of others.

Another big reason why people procrastinate is that they can’t make good decisions. If you don’t know what to do, you probably won’t do anything because you’re afraid you’ll make a bad choice.

Step 3: Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies

Procrastinating is a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior in which people always put things off. This means that you will not be able to break it in one day. The only way to break a habit is to stop doing it, so try as many of the tips below as possible to give yourself the best chance of success.

Forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past.

Practicing self-forgiveness can make a person feel better about themselves overall and less likely to put off important tasks in the future.

Take part in the activity fully.

Instead of ignoring things, use your energy to get them done. Make a list of the things you need to do and give yourself a certain amount of time to finish each one. This will make it easier for you to take charge of your task.

Reward yourself.

If you finish a hard task in the given time, you should treat yourself to something tasty, like a piece of cake or a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop. And make sure you remember how good it feels to finish some tasks.

Ask someone to keep an eye out for you.

Peer persuasion works! This is the main idea that self-help groups are based on. Self-monitoring can be hard if you don’t have anyone you can ask for help.

a group of college students talking in a staircase

Act as you go.

Instead of letting chores pile up over another day, do them as soon as they come up.

Rephrase your internal dialog.

When you use words like “need to” and “have to,” for example, it sounds like you don’t have a choice about what to do.

This can make you feel helpless, and you might even do something to hurt yourself. On the other hand, saying you “choose to” can make you feel like you own a task and have more control over how much work you have to do.

Minimize interruptions.

When you’re working, you shouldn’t sit down near a TV, and you should also turn off your email and social media.

Aim to “eat an elephant beetle” first thing every day!

Get the things out of the way early that you don’t like doing. Because of this, you’ll have the rest of the day to do things you enjoy more.

In conclusion, procrastination is a common challenge that many college students face, but it doesn’t have to define your academic journey.

By adopting practical strategies such as setting specific goals, breaking tasks into smaller chunks, and prioritizing your time effectively, you can overcome this and achieve your academic goals.

However, if you’re struggling with this matter and finding it hard to get back on track, it may be time to seek help. Here at AdmissionSight, we offer initial consultations to help you identify your challenges, set realistic goals, and develop a personalized plan to achieve academic success.

So, don’t let this hold you back from achieving your full potential. Book an initial consultation today!

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