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SAIM College | How to Stop Procrastinating: 6 Useful Tips for College Students

Do you ever procrastinate to the point where you know that you’re doing it, but you still can’t stop procrastinating? You constantly stress over the impending deadline, give yourself a pep-talk, but wind up putting it off again.


The end result? You pull in all-nighters, curse yourself for your lousy time management skills, complain about the heavy course load, and yet somehow, manage to submit your assignment. While requesting your college professor for deadline extensions can be tempting, they might not be as empathetic as you think, and they will most likely reduce your grades. The bad news is, despite living this nightmare, you still can’t stop procrastinating.


The good news is that you’re not alone in this. Studies have shown that 95% of the college students can’t stop procrastinating. But worry not, as fellow procrastinators who’ve learned from their mistakes, we’re here to help you save your grades with these useful tips on how to stop procrastinating:


  1. Distractions:

First things first: if your environment is cluttered with temptations and distractions, you’re bound to lose your way before you’ve even begun. Giving in to distractions is basically procrastination in disguise--you’re just delaying your work by scrolling through your news feed, double tapping on cute puppy videos, and tagging your friends in memes. Distractions don’t land you anywhere but in an endless loop where you can’t stop procrastinating.


The best way to counter this is by clearing up your space. Take control of your environment: put your phone on silent and out of your arm’s reach. Make sure to work on your project at your optimal study space. You can do this at a library, or your study desk back home. To boot, it’s also important to change your environment time and again, since it helps you to stop procrastinating and boost your productivity levels.


  1. From Clutter to Clusters:

Part of the reason why we can’t stop procrastinating is because the amount of work is overwhelming for us to deal with; it just feels like a huge clutter that keeps clogging up our college calendar. Here’s a tip: divide the work into smaller, manageable tasks that you can easily accomplish. Do things little by little, one bite-sized step at a time. This can help you focus easily, and visualize your next step to prioritize your work to stop procrastinating.


The best way to do this is by using the Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle. The steps are simple, you divide your tasks, and prioritize the ones that are both urgent and important followed by ones that are less important or urgent. Just like that, you’ll be able to complete the overwhelming portion of your work, and stay motivated enough to stop procrastinating until the end.


  1. The Pomodoro Technique:

Albert Einstein once said, “Time is an illusion”. To college students, time can be your worst enemy. But what if we told you that time can also be your best friend and help you to stop procrastinating?

Developed by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is a revolutionary time management system, it is at once deceptively simple to learn and life-changing to use, especially when you want to stop procrastinating. The process is simple:

Make the Pomodoro: Pick 1 task to work on, set up a timer for 25 minutes, work on it for 25 minutes, and once the timer rings, take a short break. Your break can simply be taking breaths, meditating or stretching.

Once you’ve completed 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break before starting again.

Why is it so effective when you want to stop procrastinating? This technique can help you handle interruptions (no more scrolling through your news feed), set up a fixed amount of time-based input for each task (you won’t have to achieve unattainable goals, you accomplish little tasks step by step), and finally, it keeps you focused on the task at hand.


  1. The Two-Minute Rule:

Did you know that you can turn a mind-numbing task like studying into a regular habit? No, this is not a useless clickbait to waste your time--you can actually stop procrastinating with the help of a simple tool called the Two-Minute Rule. This rule has two key ideas.


Idea #1: If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.


Can’t seem to complete your 30-page report? Start off by doing things that can be done in 2 minutes, such as creating a title page, drafting the acknowledgement, creating the table of contents, or writing an introduction. You see, most of the tasks that you can’t stop procrastinating on are simple until they form a mountain of work you’d rather not explore.


Idea #2: When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.


Want to nail that exam? Begin by taking menial notes in class, reading the first page of the material, or creating at least 2 flashcards. The thing is, the 2–Minute Rule works because of the inertia of life; once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it, until it eventually becomes a habit. That’s why it’s so compelling when you want to stop procrastinating.


  1. Challenge Yourself:

As a species that was essentially born competitive, it’s only natural that you perform your best when challenged. Start by setting a goal for yourself and include a deadline. Let’s say you have an assignment on the topic, ‘How to stop procrastinating: The ultimate guide for college students’. Setting a goal, in this case, can be something immediate like writing two pages in 30 mins. Keep track of your progress, and make a note of your distractions.


This doesn’t just limit to you; surround yourself with people who inspire you to take on challenges. If a TED talk on how to stop procrastinating can inspire you, imagine how effective being surrounded by a bunch of such people would be.


  1. Become self-aware:

Accept the part of you that wants to procrastinate. We all want to slack off to some degree. It’s just a matter of accepting that desire and keeping it in check. Assess yourself on why you can’t stop procrastinating. Try asking yourself: Why do I procrastinate? What can I do to stop procrastinating? What will happen if I don’t stop procrastinating? Think of the consequences of your actions, or as is in this case, a lack thereof.

Don’t hesitate to forgive yourself for the procrastinating you’ve done in the past. Studies have shown that self-forgiveness can help you to feel more positive about yourself and encourage you to stop procrastinating in the future.

So there you go, these are our tips to help you stop procrastinating in college. So start out by doing things now. Better late than never!