How to Stop Procrastinating – 5 Tips for College Students

You know procrastination makes everything worse, yet you can’t stop. Here’s how to stop procrastinating – these tips for college students will help you get a grip on your assignments and schedule.

college students how to stop procrastinating In Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, Brian Tracy provides the 21 most effective methods for conquering procrastination and accomplishing more. He also includes updated information on how to keep technology (smart phones, iPads, apps, schnapps, etc) from dominating your time.

The causes of procrastination range from negative beliefs (“I won’t get a good grade, so why bother?”) to perfectionism and unachievable expectations. To succeed as a college student – and enjoy yourself at school – you need to figure out how to end procrastination.

It takes more time and effort to procrastinate than it does to write the essay, read the assigned chapters, or study for the test.

How to Stop Procrastinating – 5 Tips for College Students

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”  ~ William James.

1. Create the right environment

Eliminate or minimize noise and distraction. Make sure your lights aren’t too dim – or glaringly bright! Have everything you need at your fingertips, so you don’t waste time going back and forth to get the right books, pencils, etc.. Also – don’t study in bed. A desk and straight-backed chair may work best for college students struggling with procrasination.

If this is your first year of college, read College Success Tips – How to Succeed at School.

2. Figure out what works for you

Do you study better in a study group, or by yourself? Do you learn best by reading and highlighting textbook information, or by reading a paragraph and then re-writing it in your own words? To end procrastination as a college student, you need to create new study habits (if you didn’t in high school) and try different ways to tackle your studies.

3. Figure out if you’re a perfectionist

If you’re driven to get the highest grades or satisfy your parents’, siblings, or friends’ expectations of you, then you might have perfectionist tendencies. Are you a chronic overachiever? Are you scared of earning less than the best marks – or are you scared of failing? Getting to the root of why you procrastinate as a college student might help you end procrastination habit.

If you struggle with perfectionism, your might find 5 Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism helpful.

4. Find a “study buddy” or accountability partner

Set your daily, weekly, and monthly academic goals. Find someone who you can be accountable to: a fellow student, a peer mentor, a family member, or your boyfriend or girlfriend.

How to Stop Procrastinating Tips for College Students

How to Stop Procrastinating – 5 Tips for College Students

Your study buddy has to be someone you respect, someone who will help motivate you to achieve your academic goals.

Set up a daily check in schedule; a time when you describe which goals you’ve achieved and what you’re planning for the near future. You can even set up a consequences system, and pay your study buddy or accountability partner $5 every time you don’t reach your goals.

5. Focus on the benefits of ending procrastination

Procrastination – whether you’re a college student or not – can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt.

Procrastination interferes with your academic and personal success, and it creates unnecessary stress in your life. When you have tests to study for or homework to do, there’s nothing better than crossing those “things to do” off your list! Ending procrastination can increase your self-confidence and happiness – as well as improve your grade point average. So, when you’re ending procrastination as a college student, focus on the benefits of achieving your goals.

The steps are to create the right environment, figure out what works for you, decide how your perfectionism leads to procrastination, find a study buddy, and focus on ending the benefits of learning how to stop procrastinating as a college student. Start today.

If you’re struggling with finances, read 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students.

What have I missed? If you have any thoughts about these ways to end procrastination for college students, please comment below…


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6 thoughts on “How to Stop Procrastinating – 5 Tips for College Students”

  1. Thank you for these advices on how to stop procrastinating for college students. One more I would like to add is my personal secret of being productive. I usually use such project management tools as Trello as they really help to stop procrastinating and start doing stuff! I can see the progress, task that should be done and it inspires to move toward my goal. Hope you will find it useful!

  2. It really does take more energy to avoid doing something than to just do it and get it over with!

    I’ll be a college student in September – I’m going to UBC in Vancouver, to get my MSW – and I’m re-reading all my college student articles. This one on how to stop procrastinating is probably the most important….except for the ones about student loans, of course.

  3. i procrastinate a lot and i think i have found this article useful. I was a really good student but procrastination has gotten the better of me. Thanks guys.

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Christina,

    Yes — you CAN achieve your goal of being a career counselor! You’ll be great at it because you know how hard it is to figure out what you want to do with your life, and how to get what you want. Your first-hand life experience will make you a wonderful career counselor.

    It’s good to recognize where your perfectionism and procrastination in school comes from. I’m sorry that your dad was so hard on you — he may have felt insecure and unworthy as a man, and took it out on you. We often project our feelings about ourselves outward, to other people.

    Regarding achieving your career goals: focus on one step at a time, my friend! Don’t think about the long, arduous road ahead — that’s enough to discourage even then most motivated student. Think about what you have to do today.

    And, forget about getting perfect grades! They don’t matter unless you’re applying to graduate school (and even then, they may not matter as much as your other qualities, experiences, activities, etc). Grades do NOT matter when you apply for jobs. At least, they didn’t for any of the jobs I’ve had — and I have two university degrees! Nobody has ever asked me what I got in Psychology or Computer Programming…because it doesn’t matter.

    Instead, focus on doing the best you can. Not perfection…just a job well done. Learn to be happy with getting an assignment done, and with getting a B (or even a C!). Your grades aren’t what make you a successful woman.

    What makes you a successful woman is how you treat others, what you contribute to this world, what your life goals are, and your perserverance in taking one step at a time as you progress towards your future. Not giving up makes you a successful woman…not giving up. Not letting your dad win.

    One day at a time, my friend. Please come back and let me know how things are going! And, surround yourself with fellow students who motivate and encourage you :-)

    Best of luck,

  5. I have always been a perfectionist once i begin something. Beginning, is the hard part. I had a father who always told me that whatever i did wasn’t good enough. Any career choice, i made i would run it past him and he’d shoot it down. I now at the age of 37 have only 2 yr.s of school under my belt. I truly want to be financially independent, but now i fear i may not be able to attain these goals. To be a career counselor and help others know their goals as high school students and/or college students, i would love. Especially being there was no one to steer me towards a career better suited for me. The road looks hard and arduous and i do not know if i am truly able to attain this goal. . This has made my life difficult, always feeling that i will fail and will have to try something new and start over, as i did with my father. I would love to begin with just being able to do a paper without changing it over and over and over again. Mind you when i did i would get good grades only i would be depleted of everything. How do you keep your heart and emotions out of these projects?

  6. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Regarding procrastination: I hate having things to do or a full “in-box”, so I rarely procrastinate (though I think I did procrastinate alot more when I was a college student). I LOVE the feeling of checking things off my to-do list and decluttering my inbox!

    I found a similar article on Zen Habits, called “10 Ways to Give Yourself a Procrasination Innoculation” by Karen Leland. Here’s a great tip for ending writing procrastination from her list:

    “Focus for five minutes. The hardest part of overcoming procrastination is often just getting started. For a tedious task that you have been putting off try setting a timer for five-minutes and get to work. When the alarm sounds, if you feel like stopping – don’t be surprised if that first five minutes turns into 10, 15 and 20.”