How to Stop Procrastinating

Instructor: Leah Salyer
Procrastination is a huge problem for people everywhere. Take a look at the article below to learn how you can avoid procrastination when it comes to studying and test preparation, and in your everyday life.

Identify Goals and Specify a Time Frame

When trying to avoid procrastination, a great way to start is by setting goals. Once you are aware of your goals, you can go about setting a time frame in which you wish to achieve them. Without specific parameters in mind for achieving a goal, it can be very easy to fall back into bad habits. When you're setting goals for a test or exam, think carefully about the outcome you wish to achieve and how much time you have to make it happen. From there, you can start creating a plan that will help you prepare in the best way possible. Check out this lesson on Setting Study Goals to find out how you can do this for yourself.

Develop Strategy

Life can keep you busy at times, which can make reaching your goals seem unattainable. When this happens, it's important to develop a strategy that will keep you from becoming overwhelmed by the work that it will take. It's not necessary to have a detailed plan right from the beginning, and you don't need to work on everything at one time. Just start with small steps that will get you going. For example, when you're studying, consider setting goals that consist of smaller achievable tasks. You can do this by separating the material into subjects, choosing a block of time for each, and then breaking this information down even further by topic. Having an appropriate strategy can go a long way in determining a positive outcome. If life seems too busy to dedicate time to studying, check out this lesson on Fitting Studying into a Busy Schedule to help you put an action plan in place, to deter procrastination.

Focus on the Future

Always keep your future in mind. When working on your goal becomes difficult, and you find yourself beginning to slide backward, think about what your future will look like once your goal is accomplished.Think about how it will affect your life and the people around you. This can keep you going when you're finding it hard to continue. For example, when you're preparing for exams, think about how you can improve your studying techniques for next semester and avoid procrastination from the very beginning. You can watch this short video lesson on Improving Study Skills to get additional tips on this topic.

Be Accountable

An important step in avoiding procrastination is making sure you hold yourself accountable. One great way to achieve accountability is to find a buddy or group of people who will offer consistent support. Often people like to work with groups that have the same goals so they can all support each other on their journeys. For instance, if you have study goals, you might consider joining a study group that has regular meetings and can provide encouragement when you need it. These people can remind you of why you're working hard, where you're headed, and help keep you on track.

Treat Yourself

It is vital to always take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well and taking breaks to clear your mind. Once you feel ready for a test, allow yourself some time to relax and wind down. If you're having trouble learning how to relax, or just need some new ideas, take a look at this short, but informative lesson on Relaxation Techniques. Taking a moment to de-stress can help minimize anxiety and ensure a better outcome. Reward yourself once the test in completed. Knowing you have a reward planned can help you continue to have something to look forward to while preparing.

Additional Resources to Help you Avoid Procrastination

Check out these additional resources from to help you overcome procrastination in all aspects of life:

  • Time Management and Job Stress offers a look into how to set goals and manage your priorities, avoid procrastination and manage time and stressors accordingly. The primary focus of this resource is on job stress. However, the material presented can be applied to many situations where procrastination may be an issue.
  • This lesson on Multitasking can help you find ways to manage the small goals that you set for yourself along the way.
  • Self-handicapping is a lesson that can help you identify ways in which you might unknowingly sabotage yourself and learn how to work through them.
  • It may also be beneficial to check out this lesson on Fear of Failure as procrastination often occurs as a result of being afraid to fail when attempting to achieve your goals.

To make sure you understand the concepts presented in each lesson, you can take an interactive assessment to quiz yourself at the end of each one.

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