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How to Overcome Procrastination

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideJanuary 18, 2012

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Procrastination is something that most people have at least a little experience with. No matter how well-organized and committed you are, chances are that you have found yourself frittering away hours on trivial pursuits (watching TV, checking your Facebook status, shopping online) when you should have been spending that time on school-related projects. Whether you're putting off studying, avoiding homework assignments or ignoring research papers, procrastination can have a major impact on your grades.

According to psychologists, procrastination is a widespread problem among students. An estimated 25 to 75 percent of college students procrastinate on academic work. According to Ferrari, Johnson and McCown, there are some major cognitive distortions that lead to academic procrastination.

Students tend to:

  1. Overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks
  2. Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future
  3. Underestimate how long certain activities will take to complete
  4. Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project

So what can students do to overcome procrastination and avoid the stress, anxiety and poor performance that comes from completing assignments at the last second? Researchers suggest that developing a schedule, carefully planning academic tasks and improving time-management skills are all effective ways to cope with procrastination.

Some techniques you might try include making a list of assignments that must be completed and breaking each assignment down into manageable portions. Next, estimate how long it will take to complete each step and then double that number. Chances are good that it will take you longer than you think to complete each assignment. Finally, offer yourself some type of reward for each task you complete.

Tara Kuther, black-rose-bielefeld.de's Guide to Graduate School, has some great tips for how to deal with procrastination. One excellent tip she mentions is to create a study or homework area where you can focus on your assignments free of other distractions. Be sure to check out the rest of her tips on how to overcome procrastination.

Image by Renato Benicio

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