The Procrastination Tips Our Readers Swear By

You know what’s crazy? We’re left stressed beyond belief each time procrastination plagues us, yet we still fall victim to it time and time again. Isn’t there some way to finally put this bad habit to rest? That’s the question that’s been on our minds lately, so we turned to our readers for advice and asked, “What procrastination tips have you tried that you absolutely swear by?”

Check out some of the responses below, and then participate in next month’s trending topic here!

1. Some students create a sense of pressure by setting a timer. 

“Set a timer for 30 minutes and tell yourself you will do the task that needs to get done, and only that task, for the next 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes are up, take a short break and then set the timer again.”

– LuAnn C., Kent State University


“I set timers. When 25 minutes of studying have passed, I allow my self 5 minutes of fun.”

– Demyia G., Mississippi University for Women



2. For others, it’s all about environment.

“Don’t go home immediately after class! Go to the cafe or a coffee shop if your school has one! It has just enough action to keep me alert, and since I have my headphones in anyway, the noise doesn’t bother me. This is where I’ll rewrite notes or work on any assignments!”

– Rebecca H., Saint Martin’s University


“It’s hard for me to focus alone in silence, but I get distracted when I try to study with others! My trick is to sit at alone at my desk and play music without words, so there’s a bit of background noise that I’m not enticed to sing along to!”

– Elizabeth G., Johns Hopkins University


“As much as we love the comfort of our home or dorm rooms, go somewhere that’s more conducive, like a study room or the library. Also, don’t wear sleepwear or the clothes you chill out and do nothing in. You can wear comfortable clothes, just not the ones that entice you to do nothing.”

– Ernest C., Binghamton University



3. Many readers agreed that making lists does the trick.

“Create a list of everything you need to get done and physically check them off as you finish. You will want to keep going to attain the satisfaction of fully completely the list.”

– Heather F., Baker College


“Prioritize a list of things to get done and cross them off as you do them. You feel better seeing a long list of things crossed off at the end of the day.”

Barbara B., Saginaw Valley State University



4. And apparently, “false deadlines” work wonders. 

“Mark at least a couple of dates on the calendar before actual deadline to give you an opportunity to complete assignment before it’s due. I have a really big calendar affixed to my wall. Sometimes it just helps to have a visual rather than trying to remember in my head!”

– Michaela S., Wayne State University.


“I trick myself with false deadlines, or ask other people to hold me accountable for getting something done by a certain time.”

– Joshua L., University of Akron


“Trick yourself by saying the assignment is due tomorrow.”

– Fernando M., Austin Peay State University



5. Changing your plan of action often helps. 

“Every Sunday, I look at what’s due for the week and then break those down into steps. Got a test? Write down which notes I’m reviewing each day. Essay due? Each day has a certain number of pages to finish.”

– Emmalee C., Lamar University


“Awhile back I read a tip that said to tell yourself you’re only going to work on the project for 5 minutes. Typically, you end up working on it longer and getting more accomplished. If you do only work on it for 5 minutes, that’s still 5 minutes you don’t have to worry about later. This has worked really well for me the past few semesters.”

– Devon K., Lamar University


“Eat the frog. Tackle the dreaded or most difficult task first thing, and the rest of the day ends up being more productive.”

– Shanna M., Nevada State College



6. But sometimes, you just have to pester yourself with reminders. 

“I beat procrastination by keeping the important things I need in my head. I have reminders set on my phone that go off every 10-30 min. It’s so annoying that I end up doing the assignment, just so i can get rid of it for good.”

– Amber K., University of Southern Mississippi

Do you have any other tried-and-worked procrastination tips? Share them in the comments below!

Join in on next month’s trending topic:

Since February is Book Lover’s Month, we want to know what book you think everyone should read at least once. Share your recommendations here, and we may feature it in an upcoming blog post!


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  1. Altino Fernando says:

    Very good ideas!

  2. Nancy R says:

    Great idea!

  3. Constant says:

    The idea of preparing for false deadlines seems effective for me. I think I’ve tried this a bit before.

  4. Lisa Honore says:

    These are some amazing tips that I will start applying today!


  5. Dr. Sandra Morrow says:

    1. Cognitive-behavioral studies evidence that tackling the easiest assignment first may help you build momentum, and check one more thing off your to-do list, leaving the more difficult thing the only thing you then have to concentrate on. This works well for those who get bogged down if they try to tackle the hardest task first.

    2. I conquered test anxiety by setting that “false deadline” a day before the exam. But, I pretended to be the professor and imagined what I would want to ask on the exam to cover the material. You can be amused recalling what the prof emphasized. Make yourself write out the (predicted) essay questions and answer them in the time which would be alotted. Later, grade yourself and look up answers you fell short on in the textbook and notes before you are caught short on test day. Take the night before the exam off from cramming, reassuring yourself you are prepared, and relax.

    3. For major exams, practice the above with a small self arranged study group. You will benefit by interacting with a few others who may have understood a concept better or took more thorough notes about a topic you missed.

    (I earned my PhD. from Fordham with a 3.8 using above so passing success tips forward.)

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