We have all been there — putting off important tasks, delaying deadlines, and succumbing to procrastination. Procrastination is a common phenomenon that has affected everyone at one point or the other.


A study found that approximately 20-25% of adults chronically struggle with procrastination, with prevalence among men.

Whether it is in academics, social relationships, or professional endeavors, procrastination can have a detrimental impact on your life. As students, it can particularly affect your grades and well-being.

However, here are practical tips to help break free from the grip of procrastination.

  • Recognise you are procrastinating

Acknowledging you engage in procrastination is the first step to making changes. Awareness is important.

Recognise the negative impact it has on your productivity and well-being. It can be hard to be aware of your actions so identifying your tendency to procrastinate is an incredible step.

This will help you to start taking proactive steps to address and tackle it head-on. After recognising that you procrastinate, you should also forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past.


It was found that self-forgiveness can help you feel more positive about yourself and reduce the likelihood of procrastination in the future.

  • Identify the reason

The next step is to determine the reason you procrastinate; the “why”. Is it due to fear of failure, lack of motivation, anxiety, your surroundings, or feeling overwhelmed?

Understanding the underlying reasons can help you develop targeted strategies to overcome them.

However, while trying to identify the reason, try to ask yourself when, how, and why you procrastinate.


Ask yourself when you procrastinate. By this, you will be able to identify which situation you procrastinate more in. Is it when the tasks are complex or when you work from home?

How do you procrastinate? Asking yourself this question will help you identify the task you procrastinate on. By this, you will be able to eliminate the distraction.

  • Plan ahead

After identifying the cause of your procrastination, the next to do is to set an action plan; a plan that will increase your chances of not procrastinating using anti-procrastinating techniques — one of which is planning your day ahead.

At the end of each day, map out the tasks that are needed to be done the following day according to importance and urgency.


You could also map out a routine you would like to follow that day. Having a consistent routine can help increase your level of productivity.

  • Set realistic goals

While setting your goals, you need to make them clear, specific, and achievable to avoid procrastination.

For example, setting a goal to exercise more is a good one but in reality, it is too vague.

Rather, identify how exactly you want to achieve it. So the goal to achieve this can be “going to the gym thrice a week” or maybe “exercising for an hour per day”.


This is more clear and specific. So the goal will be less ambiguous and you will be consistent with it.

While setting goals, you should also set a deadline that will guide you through it.

Your deadline should be concrete, create an exact date and time for each goal and task. This will help you get motivated and reduce the probability of delaying tasks.

  • Identify your most productive hours

You should try to identify the time of the day your energy level is high and you are more motivated to be productive.

Everyone is different so it is important for you to identify when exactly yours is.

Some people might be more productive during the first part of the day, while others might work best at night.

You can then schedule your most important tasks around those hours and leave your less important ones for the rest of the time.

Your least productive hours can be dedicated to eating, taking breaks, or tasks that do not require as much attention and effort.

  • Break your tasks

Most of the time, procrastination comes in when you find a task too overwhelming and don’t know how to begin.

However, breaking such tasks into smaller ones can make them more achievable and simpler.

You will be able to concentrate on one part of the task at a time, you will also be able to visualise how to get from one point to another.

For example, writing a final-year project can be a very ambiguous task. However it can be broken down into smaller phases to make it simpler; from finding a topic to researching, getting materials, drafting a proposal then writing the chapters.

You can also break tasks further if you realise you still procrastinate even after breaking them down.

Also, you can avoid your tasks from getting overwhelming by tackling them as soon as they arise. Do not let tasks build up.

  • Take breaks

When trying to overcome procrastination, don’t be too hard on yourself. Take breaks from time to time when needed.

When you lack motivation and are tired, take a break even if it is just 5 minutes to avoid burnout.

Taking a break can help you clear your head and recharge mentally, giving you the energy to go back to your tasks.

  • Get an accountability partner

Having someone you can rely on to give you an extra push toward your goals when needed and celebrate your success can be very motivating.

Both of you can keep each other on track, focused, and productive.

However, when picking your accountability partner; pick someone who is positive. A like-minded person you like, you trust, and align with your goals.

  • Eliminate distractions

Eliminating distractions from your environment is crucial if you want to stop procrastinating.

You need to identify your distraction first in order to get rid of them.

For most of us, social media and electronic gadgets are the distraction. So you can switch off your phone or turn off your notifications while doing a task.

This will help keep you focused and help you concentrate.

  • Reward yourself

Overcoming procrastination is not a simple task, it requires a lot of discipline and self-control.

So if you finish a task on time and did not procrastinate, you should reward yourself.

Rewarding yourself might help you stay motivated to finish a task and avoid procrastination.

Engage in something that you love and can help boost your energy level when you finish your task in time.

However, be conscious not to use the reward for your hard work as an excuse to procrastinate or put off your next task.

Procrastination cannot be overcome over the night, so take one step at a time and do not be hard on yourself.

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