How do you guys battle procrastination?

In your classes or in other things in life how do you fight off procrastination. I once heard from a psych professor that one of the reasons we procrastinate is due to the fear of failure.

So I am curious to know, what are some tips and tricks that you all implement to avoid wasting time?


A quote from one of the largest brands in the world - “just do it.”

Often times we sit down to schedule everything we have to do and then never actually take action, until the last critical moments.

Unplug from the distracts and just START. You’d be surprised how much you actually do by just starting SOMETHING. Don’t think to much about it, because you just end up with no action.

A small trick I have been trying recently in my personal life is writing a small list before bed of tasks that I need to accomplish the next day. So far it’s been working pretty well.

Good luck and get going!

Good question. I also heard the “fear of failure” theory with the added idea that if you procrastinate and then have to pull it together at the last minute, you can give yourself (and others) the excuse of how behind you were and how little time you had to do it - excuses any less than stellar performance.

So far, I have been losing my battle with procrastination more often than winning. My best strategy is to relocate - to the library, or classroom (no distractions, no food that I don’t bring). Can’t come home till I get thru my goals. As I want to come home for dinner, I tend to push thru my material better


  • Kate429 Said:
My best strategy is to relocate - to the library, or classroom (no distractions, no food that I don't bring). Can't come home till I get thru my goals. As I want to come home for dinner, I tend to push thru my material better


This is good stuff. I did, in fact hear a report on NPR talking about the different effective study strategies that students take by relocating periodically. Ironically, the report also related that students learn the most when it they are actually sitting in front of a test or an exam. I guess it switches on a specific part of the brain or something; hmph.

Definitely, procrastination can be due to the fear of failure, and one form of that is the fear of not being perfect. That is my trigger for procrastination. I struggle with it at work because I have a boss who is a perfectionist. Just the thought of writing reports or performing some calculations for him gets me all stressed. Usually the pressure builds to a maximum and I get things done at the last minute. But I’ve found that the results tend to be no better or worse than if I had just done the work sooner. So yeah, just do it. Getting started is often the hardest thing, second only to banishing thoughts of failure.


My new way of battling the procrastination monster is called the Pomodoro Technique. You work for short stretches take a small break and repeat. Google it, there is a free PDF. This is making my life so much easier.

I also find that I need to leave my electronics devices in a different location. The iPad is a major distraction for me.

Good luck!,

Well, I just think it’s really important to face each task head on. You should never wait. For example, if you know you are taking the MCAT next spring, you should start studying slowly… this summer, for example…and put in time each week. Waiting until the end and then trying to mass cram is simply non-productive. No matter how busy you are or what you are involved in, it’s best to not let things pile up.

Now…I can’t finish the rest of my thought, because I have to go analyze some more MCAT bio passages. Test is Saturday, and I still have 3 more sections to go through, and…

Yeah. I am the WORST procrastinator of all time, and the last person who should be answering this question. Basically, just wanted to chime in and say that you’re not alone. I struggle with it every day. Actually, I don’t. I wait until the last minute and consequences are most dire, and then I struggle.


  • Julio Cesar Said:
In your classes or in other things in life how do you fight off procrastination. I once heard from a psych professor that one of the reasons we procrastinate is due to the fear of failure.

So I am curious to know, what are some tips and tricks that you all implement to avoid wasting time?


Can answer that on Friday....

Actually I think fear of failure is good way to describe it. I know that in physical aspects, such my "emotional" fear of heights was overcome by "intellectually" learning how to rock climb. It was process and technique, steps that I could follow, that my emotional could hold on too.

Academically, I always found just trying to study left me feeling like what did I accomplish. So I make a metric for everything I do. For example, I have draw a small table on the syllabus or inside a text, with chapters or assignments along the side and my metrics along the top. Read (overview), Read (understanding), highlighted, reviewed, problems. So for each chapter I would have read it effectively 5 times, each time mentally funneling the information . I have a whole essay on this if you nudge me I shall recreate it.

I wrote a paper once on procrastination and I found that yes, anxiety and perfectionism are at the root, but that these themselves are usually driven by a whole set of fears, and amplified by general stress and anxiety.

I personally have successfully fought it off by “working with my mind” - sort of like self CBT (cognitive behavior therapy), that uses some pretty basic techniques in meditation to strategically pinpoint when the stress comes up, and with daily and weekly strategies to reduce that stress. I sat down one day and came up with a list of things that relax me on a daily, weekly and monthly level. I often avoided those things when I was really busy. One big one was exercising. So when I started trying to tackle my stress, I took to walking to a further subway stop on my way to school and again on my way home, which took an extra 30 minutes of my day. Now I run regularly, and find I have a better ability to both focus on what I need to do, and to retain the material because I am less stressed overall. And I lost a bunch of weight, so I look better, which was another source of anxiety for me. Also a lot of recent research indicates that exercise helps your memory and learning and focus.

I do what one of the above poster stated…I break things down into small and achievable chunks. 50 minutes on, 10 minute break.

of course with intern year…I finish the stuff that has to get done…but I am still behind on discharge summaries…:slight_smile:

That’s a great suggestion, Richard. I actually moved my list just for the day to the white board yesterday, and because I crossed it off after I got it done, and it wasn’t getting crossed off very fast, I ended up sustaining my effort more and getting thru everything on my list (which almost never happens!).

On my less successful strategies for battling procrastination…I’m here, aren’t I? However, often get some inspiration and go back with renewed vigor.

Onward and upward!


(I can’t believe noone commented when I changed my sig quotation 2 months ago…even though it went back and retroactively changed it in all my past messages

I just deal with it later…

I agree that some procrastination comes from fear of failure in some people. For others it comes from a desire for perfectionism. Other causes are uncertainty, indecisiveness, feelings of unworthiness or unavoiding unpleasanties can make people not take the steps they want to take or do the things they need to do.

I find changing location helps; in particular, using one or a few locations in which to study helps. Another thing is to get rid of the “escapes” – the things that you use as an excuse for when you should be studying. Getting rid my TV helped me. I also moved to a new living place. Change of environment.

Good suggestions. I was talking with a friend yesterday who went to a program at Marshall University designed to help med students be successful in med school. She took it before starting. Some suggestions.

set up your study space as a designated space. Have nothing there except what you need for studying, or you will be distracted.

(I went home and cleaned off my table which had MULTIPLE mail/bills/checking etc stuff on it and found I really did have much better focus when it was just my study stuff. Plus didn’t have to go looking for my pens/hole punch/etc.)

Also, study in 50 minute blocks. Set a timer and do 50 minutes, then give yourself a 10 minute break…no longer. You retain more if you take breaks, but the break can turn into a huge time sink (which it does for me!).

After you have done 4 blocks, take an hour break, completely away from it. Gives your brain time to process and helps prevent burnout.

Lastly - figure out when you are most productive (morning or evening) and plan your study schedule accordingly. If it’s morning, go to bed early so you can maximize your productive early morning hours.

Re distractions: she suggested deleting facebook. I may do this till after boards…

Thought they were all great suggestions.


I personally procrastinate because I am too scared that if I work hard at something and don’t get the grade I want I end up mad and discouraged. So by having my mindset on if I don’t study and get a bad grade oh well it’s because I didn’t study rather than I wasn’t smart enough or study enough. I guess I fall under both categories of perfection/fear of failure.

What has been very effective for me lately is that I make a list of things to do on sundays then I break it down day by day figuring out what I need to accomplish. If i realize I am behind task for whatever reason on a given day then I begin to set up timetables in which to accomplish things. I get very specific with these since I tend to dilly dally or ADD if not. So i will set aside for example 15 min for a snack or a 30 min TV break and hold myself accountable to these times by setting an alarm on my phone. Disciplining myself has been a very big struggle when it comes to my studied but I am slowly learning this way. So yes these are the steps that best work for me. I know slightly neurotic but it gets me through my days

Tough crowd.

Crooz–I actually SNORT laughed out loud at your comment.

I just couldn’t respond, because I put off studying for finals, so I was busy having to cram (at the last minute, of course.)

But I thought it was hysterical. Truly. :):slight_smile:

  • croooz Said:
Tough crowd.

That was pretty funny, LoL!!

I realized that I don’t have time to act like an 18 year old college student?

I can’t put things off. I have other things to do (work, kids, home…life). If I can squeeze in 30 minutes here and there, I’ll take it.

So I have a calendar and an old-fashioned to-do list. I break large assignments into smaller chunks and I pen them early just in case something comes up. I know that as long as I finish most of my list, I’ll keep up and be able to hand in my assignments proofread and on time.