Fighting Procrastination: Three Quick Tips

By Serena Lin ‘25

Whether you’re a prospective student struggling with senioritis or a fellow college student juggling jobs, coursework, a social life, and everything else, we could all use more time. With the semester well along its way, the temptation to procrastinate grows by the day (there’s just so much fun stuff to do that’s far more enticing than that long philosophy paper!)

graphic of a timerWith that in mind, here are some tips that I have found helpful in fighting procrastination:

  1. Timers!

Timers are useful for two main things: setting mini-deadlines and reducing overwhelm.

To add a flair of gamification/accountability, try setting a timer and seeing how much of a task you can complete in that window of time. This is especially useful for projects with longer timelines (i.e. presentations and papers). Designate a chunk of time to work on the project each day/week. Once the momentum is going, the process will be less tedious.

Ultimately, setting a timer is beneficial because it provides a finite boundary for your task. It’s a lot less daunting to start that dreaded midterm paper when you know you only have to focus on it for 20 minutes.

open laptop with notebook in front of window   2.  Embrace imperfection!

One of my Writing Center mentors told me to embrace the “crappy first draft” because you can’t edit a blank page. By lowering your expectations to a more achievable level, it reduces the resistance that you feel towards starting it.

3.  Cultivate community!

Study groups are seriously underrated. They make the homework process less lonely, and explaining a concept to a friend or hearing someone else explain it from a different perspective helps to solidify your understanding.

If you REALLY need extra accountability, you can text a goal to a friend/ study buddy with a deadline and set a (reasonable!) incentive.

For example: “I will finish the first paragraph of my essay by 2 p.m. If I don’t, I’ll buy you a coffee.”

Stay tuned for another post in this time-management series: Building Balance. Now go start that work that you’ve been procrastinating on!