How To Stop Procrastinating In College

Just because you’ve always successfully worked under pressure doesn’t mean you have to keep doing that to yourself. Or maybe you’ve never really been successful when under pressure, but you continue to put things off until the last minute.

80-95% of college students procrastinate, but you don’t have to be one of them.

You can stop procrastinating! I used to procrastinate in school, and while I would be successful at it, I definitely didn’t enjoy it. But I didn’t know how to stop procrastinating, and I certainly didn’t know anything about time management. Now I do… and you have a chance to learn what I have learned!

Some of the links below may be affiliate links.

What is procrastination?


the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention: She was smart, but her constant procrastination led her to be late with almost every assignment.

Check out this funny and accurate description of what goes on inside the mind of a master procrastinator. Tim Urban of and learn why it’s so difficult to overcome procrastination

Tim Urban’s oh so accurate description on what happens inside the mind of a master procrastinator.

“I can’t stop procrastinating!”

Really? But have you ever actually committed to ending your procrastination?

Procrastination takes effort! Look at the definition – it’s the act of putting off/delaying something that needs attention. You are choosing not to work on your homework, and you do something else instead.

It’s Sunday night and you’re racing to get an important project submitted. You are so freaking stressed. “Why did I procrastinate again?! I can’t stop procrastinating!” You’re mad at yourself and disappointed that you didn’t force yourself to focus on your homework earlier.

Chalkboard that says deadline is tomorrow.

Does that seem familiar? If you’re one of the 80% to 95% of students who regularly procrastinate, I bet it does.

“See! I told you I can’t stop procrastinating! And neither can a lot of other students.” If you want to stop procrastinating, you can. Procrastination is a decision.

I’ve seen many students fail. I would say 99% of the time, it was due to them procrastinating or not managing their time correctly.

I was called a “talented underachiever” at one point in my life. You might be one, too. Do you work well under pressure? You had a project assigned a month ago, but you procrastinated for so long, you had to spend your entire Saturday and Sunday to complete the project. You ended up earning a B-, and you are so relieved.

But you know you could have gotten a better grade. If only you would have given yourself the time to concentrate on it.

Now it’s time to concentrate on overcoming your habit of procrastinating so that you can be recognized for the talented student/person you are.

You’ve said, “I can’t stop procrastinating!” for the last time.

The first 6 steps for how to overcome procrastination

Draw a picture

Draw a picture of what you want your life to look like in 10 years. I update mine every few years. Don’t worry about what it looks like – as long as you know what it is! 🙂

This will help you focus your energy on the things you need to accomplish to get one step closer to that picture. (I’m not kidding. This will help!) You need to have a clear sense of your WHY. Why are you in school? What are your aspirations? Figure out those internal motivators.

In 10 years, do you want be in grad school? Married with a career? Kids? Do you want to be living in a house in the country? What will you do in your free time? Draw it all! Then put it in a frame where you can see it every day. This will help you focus your energy on what you need to accomplish to get one step closer to that picture. (I’m not kidding. This will help!)

Make a schedule

The absolute best way to stop procrastinating is to get a handle on your schedule. Good time management practices will save you again and again. It requires discipline to create a daily/weekly schedule and stick to it.

I recommend this daily planner because I have ADHD and need to super focus on what needs to be done each day. If you’d rather plan out your entire week, check out this weekly planner. Either one is great – make sure you find a system that works for you!

Defeating procrastination is not an overnight fix, but once you acquire new time management habits, everything seems less overwhelming. Because you’re more likely to be staying on top of things.

If you have a routine of doing schoolwork at certain hours each day, prioritize what needs to get done first, and work on it. If it’s a big project that’s overwhelming, break it into smaller tasks. You don’t have to finish it all in one sitting.

Find external accountability

Some of us (including me!) need to find a source of accountability – especially when we’re trying to achieve goals we’ve set for ourselves. This accountability can be a person that’s going to make you get moving. I mean, they REALLY need to understand why you need the accountability. I just finished reading The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. I will write a whole blog post on that book because it shed light on my tendencies and now I know what I need to get shit done. 🙂

Stop feeling guilty and forgive yourself

Forgiving yourself for procrastinating seems silly, but there’s no reason to continue beating yourself up about it. You are not a bad person. You are a person with bad habits. Start right now to create new habits, and see yourself move forward! Where does guilt get you? Nowhere.

Stop focusing on your feelings

You’re never going to feel like writing that essay, so stop thinking about how you’re feeling, and figure out what it is you have to do first to get the essay started. Then do it. It’s actually easier than you think!

Get rid of whatever is getting in your way

Is it a friend who always wants to hang out with you? The feeling of overwhelm? Not believing in yourself? Whatever it is, it’s not doing you any favors by putting your focus on it instead of the things that will help you get closer to that picture you drew of your life 10 years from now.

See a therapist

Maybe you’ve tried all of this before and it hasn’t helped you. A therapist can help you work on things that may be influencing your procrastination habit. Maybe you have anxiety, depression, or ADD/ADHD. There are many things that medication can help with. If I wasn’t taking medication for my ADD, I never would have finished this post…

But… how do I stop procrastinating?!

I hate to break it to you: this is the hard part. This is where you have to commit to ending your procrastination and then do it. Refer back to the schedule you created and stick to it.

There is no easy answer. Anyone who tries to sell you on a program, course, or book on how to overcome procrastination… is just trying to take your money.

There are no guarantees

There is no magic pill, no “one size fits all” approach to overcoming procrastination. Anyone who says otherwise is – quite frankly – full of shit. The only thing that will ultimately help you stop procrastinating is a commitment to yourself. You owe yourself that much! Think of how much less stress you will have once you stop procrastinating. That, in and of itself, is worth it!

Final Thoughts

It’s pretty common to procrastinate, especially when you’re in college. Remember? 80 to 95% of students do it!

If you’re tired of being a talented underachiever and working under pressure all the time, go find some paper and start drawing. I’d love to see what your life will be like in 10 years!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *