7 Powerful Tips to Win the Battle Against Procrastination

Posted: October 24, 2023

Tomorrow's the day I start.

According to a study conducted by the University of Regina, approximately 29% of students admitted to frequently delaying tasks they initially intended to do promptly. In comparison, only 17% claimed to possess discipline when executing their plans. Of the 342 students surveyed, 96% expressed concern over unfinished tasks, while 63% confessed to experiencing guilt due to procrastination.

Procrastination may feel like the easy way out, but it is a slippery slope that can lead to falling grades, missed opportunities, and anxiety. To help you overcome this common habit, here are seven powerful tips to beat procrastination and become more productive.

Create a schedule:

The first step to overcoming procrastination is prioritizing your tasks and creating a schedule.

  1. Begin by cataloging all the tasks you need to complete, which can include assignments, projects, exams, and even personal errands.
  2. Assign each task a deadline and then reverse engineer your timeline, breaking down what needs to be done each day to meet that deadline.

This approach helps create a more realistic and manageable schedule. Be sure to include breaks within this schedule to prevent burnout and consider implementing a reward system for each completed task. A short stretch break, a favourite snack, or a quick walk outside can keep you motivated and make the process of working through tasks more enjoyable and less daunting. Flexibility is key; allow room for adjustments as unexpected hurdles arise.

The goal is to get all your due dates and major events plotted out in a format that lets you see the big picture easily. This helps prevent any assignments or big events from getting missed or growing too close without you noticing. – Semester-Long Success from Day One

Break tasks into smaller chunks: 

Large tasks can be overwhelming, often triggering a sense of dread, leading to procrastination. One effective method to combat this is by breaking down your tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks.

Let's take the example of having to write a ten-page paper. Instead of attempting to complete it in one sitting, which could be quite stressful, you could start by writing just one or two pages daily. This approach helps reduce the overwhelming sense of urgency often associated with large tasks and makes the task seem less daunting and more achievable. Furthermore, it allows you to focus on the quality of your work, as you are not rushed to complete it all at once. Over time, this strategy can significantly improve your productivity and reduce the likelihood of procrastination, leading to a more balanced and stress-free work or study environment.

Tips and Guides from the Academic Resource Centre (ARC)

Identify your distractions:

Social media, email, and phone notifications have become ubiquitous in our lives, but they can also be major distractions that hinder our productivity, especially when we're trying to focus on tasks or studies. It is crucial to identify these distractions and find effective ways to minimize their impact on your focus and productivity.

One practical method is to turn off your phone or log out of social media during your study sessions or work hours. This way, you eliminate the possibility of being interrupted by a barrage of notifications, allowing you to concentrate fully on your tasks.

Additionally, consider installing a website blocker on your computer. This tool will help avoid the temptation of aimlessly browsing the internet during study breaks, which can often extend far beyond the intended time. In doing so, you increase your productivity and enhance your ability to manage time efficiently.

Ultimately, remember that creating a distraction-free environment is a continuous process that requires consistent effort and self-discipline.

What if, following the latest product drop, our immediate questions were not, “When can I have it?” and “How much does it cost?” but instead, “Is it good for me?” or “What does it really cost?” – What Are We Asking of Technology?

Prioritize self-care: 

Procrastination is not just a barrier to productivity but can also lead to neglecting self-care, contributing to burnout. This often-overlooked consequence can significantly affect your personal and professional life. Therefore, taking care of your physical and mental health is essential as part of your overall strategy to overcome procrastination. Prioritize getting enough sleep each night, as a well-rested mind is more capable of staying focused and motivated. Regular exercise and eating mostly healthy foods also play crucial roles in maintaining energy levels and enhancing mood.

Additionally, making time for relaxing and rejuvenating activities you enjoy is equally important. These could range from going outside and soaking up some sun, hanging out with friends, praying, or even indulging in a hobby. These activities help relieve stress and provide a necessary break from routine, preventing feeling overwhelmed. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is an integral part of overcoming procrastination, as it equips you with the resilience and focus needed to tackle tasks effectively. 

Find an accountability partner:

Having a study partner or accountability buddy can also provide a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose, making your academic tasks seem less daunting. Their progress can inspire you to keep up with your own and vice versa. Furthermore, discussing your goals and plans with them can lead to new insights and perspectives you might have overlooked. Regular check-ins can serve as a gentle reminder of your commitments and help you avoid the trap of delaying tasks. Finally, knowing that someone else is aware of your tasks can instill a healthy sense of responsibility, boosting your motivation to stay on top of your work.

The people we surround ourselves greatly influence us and who we become. You have probably heard the saying, ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ – I Don't Live in Dorm: How Do I Find Community?

 Remember your 'why': 

Remembering the reason behind your journey through college can serve as a powerful motivator for staying focused and avoiding procrastination. It is essentially your "why," the core purpose that drives you towards your goals. As an acclaimed motivational speaker and author, Simon Sinek, says, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." Translating this to your academic life, it's not just about getting assignments done; it's about understanding why you're doing them. You may be passionate about your field of study or committed to building a better future. Remembering your "why" can help you see past temporary hurdles and stay motivated to do your work, even when the going gets tough.

Get started: 

Indeed, the first step is often the hardest, yet it's the most important in breaking free from procrastination. While planning and preparation are essential, it should not become a form of disguised procrastination where you're constantly "getting ready to get started." The perfect conditions rarely exist, so waiting for them can be a perpetual delay.

Instead, focus on taking that initial leap, no matter how small. It could be as simple as opening a book, writing the first sentence of your essay, or just organizing your workspace. Once you've taken that first action, you'll find that the inertia of inactivity is broken, and it becomes progressively easier to continue. This momentum can carry you forward, transforming what once seemed like an impossible task into a series of manageable steps.


In conclusion, procrastination can be challenging to overcome. Still, it's possible with discipline and a clear strategy. By creating a schedule and breaking down tasks into smaller chunks, identifying distractions, prioritizing self-care, finding an accountability partner, remembering your 'why,' and, most importantly, getting started, you can maximize your productivity, reduce stress and anxiety, and achieve success in college and beyond. Remember that overcoming procrastination is a skill that requires practice, consistency, and patience. You can overcome procrastination tendencies and accomplish your goals with determination and perseverance.