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Breaking Free from Procrastination: Unlocking Enhanced Productivity and Well-being

10 Strategies College Students Can Use to Combat Procrastination

I taught at the university level for over 30 years. I learned that many students struggle to manage their time. According to college accreditation sources, students are supposed to spend 2-3 hours outside the classroom for every hour inside the classroom.

I realize this may be a surprise for many students.

That means that if they are fully going to benefit from their college learning, they need to be great at allocating and managing their time. Many of them have jobs, sports, and social activities that compete with their study time. And college, for most people, is supposed to be a time for trying new activities and spending time with friends while figuring out what to do with your life.

Here are some ways college students can stop procrastinating and get things done.

1. Break Large Tasks, Like Writing a Paper, Into Smaller Steps.
Large tasks can be overwhelming. Map out what needs to be done with paper and break those down into smaller, more manageable steps. Focus on completing each one.

2. Set Clear, Achievable Goals Every Day. Some people think goals need to be something they set once a year., such as “get through this semester.” Super productive people set goals each day. They plan them out and refer to them frequently throughout the day to make sure they are staying focused. I recommend that students define specific goals for what you want to accomplish during each homework session. “Read chapter 3” is better than “read until I get sleepy.” This helps maintain focus and provides a sense of accomplishment.

3. Create a Study Schedule. Allocate specific times and places for studying and stick to the schedule. Consistency can help in forming a routine, which reduces the temptation to procrastinate. I tell students that I write while flying on planes. I have done this for years. Once we reach 10,000 feet, I reach for the computer, and I write. I am writing on a plane right now. It is a habit that keeps me focused.

4. Eliminate Distractions. Everything and everyone is a distraction. Identify and remove distractions in the study environment. This could include turning off TVs, music, mobile devices, using website blockers, wearing headphones with noise cancellation turned on, and finding a quiet place to work.

5. Use Focus Techniques. Many people struggle with being productive when they study because they have not learned to focus. I suggest setting a timer and resolving to focus, and I mean, really focus, for 2 minutes on the homework in front of you. If you get distracted, you start the timer over until you can tell your brain to focus, and it will focus hard for 2 minutes. Then increase it to 3 minutes and then 4 minutes, until you can really focus solidly for 5 minutes. Students are always amazed by how much they can do in 5 minutes when they fully focus. Then take a 1-minute break for water or do pushups and get back to 5 minutes of focused studying.

6. Set Deadlines and Prioritize Tasks. Establish your own deadlines, preferably a few days before the actual due dates. Do not let your teacher’s deadlines be your deadlines. Your deadlines need to be earlier. Many students use the assignment due date as their deadline, which means if they get behind, they are now in crisis, and everything is late.

7. Seek Support and Accountability. Share your homework goals with friends and study groups. They can provide motivation and hold you accountable.

8. Understand and Address the Causes of Procrastination. Do you ever wonder why you procrastinate? Think about why you procrastinate—whether it is fear of failure, perfectionism, or lack of interest—and address these underlying issues.

9. Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude. Mindfulness can help you stay focused on the present and reduce anxiety that might lead to procrastination. Make a list of five things you are grateful for at the end of every day to de-stress. Being able to become better educated is a privilege many people do not get, so stay grateful for the opportunities to gain experience and accomplish life goals.

Implementing these strategies can help students overcome procrastination, be happier, reduce stress, and improve their productivity and academic performance. Good luck!




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