Procrastination: How to Fix It?

By Catherine Salgado on August 29, 2019

Procrastination is a very common problem for anyone who attends school or has a job. There are so many activities (particularly entertainment) available to us in the modern world that it is easy to come up with excuses as to why we cannot finish what we must do or ought to do. Each person ultimately has to figure out how to fix procrastination for his particular situation, but here are a few suggestions.

One method which I found extremely helpful in my school career was that I set a different deadline for myself for school assignments than the actual deadline. If the deadline is Friday, I make my personal deadline Wednesday. I push myself to finish by that new deadline, and it is amazing how early you can get assignments done with this mindset! A side benefit is that professors love students who seem to be putting a lot of work into the class, and nothing proves your zeal like finishing an assignment a couple of days early.

Another helpful method for circumventing procrastination is to have a partner for every (at least every important) assignment. Try to find another student in that same class or a friend who is generally a serious student who will hold you accountable if you are putting off the work too long or not doing the work as well as you should. Work with someone else if possible, too. An assignment usually seems less alarming if two or more people are working on it at the same time and dividing the work.

Finally, DO NOT rely on motivation—rely on self-discipline. For years I would groan as I dragged myself out of bed, reluctantly walked into the gym, or grudgingly began a difficult assignment, thinking, “I am completely unmotivated right now. Why can’t I wait until I am motivated?” Of course, for certain things, I never was motivated, while for others the motivation lasted a very brief time, and I would wonder—why was I not more motivated to accomplish these laudable goals? Surely they should be inspiring me more?

Ret. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink helped me to understand myself better and overcome that lack of motivation. As he puts it, motivation is an emotion, and therefore by its nature transitory. It comes at odd times and it simply does not last. If you are relying on motivation to accomplish your work, you will get nowhere. On the other hand, if you put in the difficult and often unpleasant effort to form good habits and increase your self-discipline, you will succeed, and achieve immense satisfaction. Do even the littlest, more annoying tasks carefully and faithfully.

Strange as it may seem, Willink declares that discipline equals freedom! In which case, the best way of ending your procrastination problem is by deliberately forming habits of discipline. The sooner you finish your work, the more time you have to do other things without being stressed!

Hi! I am a rising junior at Christendom College double majoring in Classics (Classical Languages) and Theology. I am the eldest child in a family of five kids and was homeschooled all the way up until I went to college. My hobbies include writing novels and articles, reading, knitting, drawing, playing piano and ukulele, and making jewelry. Post graduation, I hope to become a full-time journalist.

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