Aug. 21, 2021

Why am I procrastinating?

Do Netflix and YouTube get in the way of studying? Do you wait until Sunday night to start a paper due on Monday? When you have an exam coming up, would you suddenly rather spend time doing laundry or cleaning your fridge?
Laptop Sandglass

If you’ve said yes to these questions, you’re likely dealing with procrastination. This means that you put off work that needs to be done, even though you know that this will likely lead to a worse grade. Procrastination also typically makes you feel bad about yourself.

Despite what you may have heard, procrastination doesn’t mean that you’re lazy or that you don’t know how to manage your time.

Instead, procrastination tends to be more about your emotions and how you feel about the work you’re putting off. Procrastination might be a sign that you’re a perfectionist and really critical of yourself. It also might mean that you’re overwhelmed, distracted, or feeling like you just don’t have enough time to get the work done.

If you’re struggling with procrastination, here are some things you can try out:

1. Seek additional support. 

If your procrastination is part of bigger struggles, you may want to get some help. The Wellness Centre offers resources and supports to students. You can also ask family or friends for help in keeping yourself accountable.

2. Keep track of what distracts you

You probably already know some of the things that distract you (phone, internet, friends). Start thinking of ways to change the patterns of distraction. Maybe you always procrastinate when you’re trying to study in your bedroom. Try out different locations for studying. If your phone is the biggest problem, maybe you don’t need to keep it with you when you’re studying or doing homework. You could also try out a distraction-blocking app, like LeechBlock, Forest, or Cold Turkey Blocker.

3. Try out the 15-minute rule. 

Whenever you catch yourself starting to procrastinate, commit to working for at least 15 minutes on the task that you’re avoiding. If you still don’t feel like working on it after 15 minutes, you can stop. But most people find that simply getting started with a task is the hardest part, and that it’s easier to keep going after you’ve put in an initial 15 minutes. For more suggestions, check out our managing procrastination video.

Procrastination is something that a lot of people struggle with. But you don’t need to let it be something that makes you feel guilty all the time. Be kind to yourself and don’t dwell on past moments when you put things off. If you’re not sure where you start, you can watch our videos on developing self-compassion and changing the way you think about procrastination. If you’re looking for additional help, also consider booking an appointment for Academic Support from the Student Success Centre.