A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Making an Anti-Procrastination Plan

Things to remember:

  • Procrastination is a habit. 
  • Habits can be broken. 
  • Change Takes Time

Below are several lists of specific, concrete things you can do to confront and change your own tendencies to procrastinate.  Choose several and put them into practice.

Schedule your tasks for your project

  • Write down a list of the tasks that you must do to complete your project and prioritize them.  Mark each one off as you complete it and reward yourself.
  • Start with the most unpleasant task (to get it over with) and work down until you get to the easier ones.
  • Do something every day on your project; even it is only for 5 minutes.  Write down 2 or 3 things you can do toward your tasks that can be accomplished in 5 minutes and do one of them and then reward yourself.
  • Schedule a specific work time on one of your avoided tasks so that it is contingent upon something you already normally do and enjoy  For example:  I’ll work on my Psych paper in the library for 45 minutes before going to play racquetball.”

Take Action

  • When you are tempted to procrastinate, make yourself sit down for 5 minutes and thing about the consequences.  Envision the emotional, physical, spiritual, and academic consequences of procrastinating.  After you think this over, go ahead and do what you judge best.
  • Image how you would behave in the next hour, day, week, etc. if you were not a procrastinator. Get a picture in your mind of what that would look like and then act out that role for the next hour, day, week, etc.  When you are done evaluate your performance: Did you do a good job? How did it feel?
  • When you feel an impulse to work on your project, follow up on it and do it.  Keep working until you don’t feel like it anymore.
  • Decide on a specific reward for success (and/or punishment for failure).  Make it realistic and follow through.  For example:  You might decide you won’t take a bath on a day when you don’t work on your paper. 

Use your Friends

  • Make a contract with a friend or teacher to get a specific task done.
  • Make an appointment with a professor or tutor or someone you can consult with about your project.  Ask for help and advice.
  • Make a lunch or dinner date with a friend.  Tell your friend that you want his/her support and encouragement to finish your project.
  • If you have something uncomfortable to do (such as speaking with a professor) ask a friend to listen to you rehearse what you have to say.

Keep a Journal

  • Every day writing in your journal to give yourself credit for what you have accomplished, to forgive yourself for backsliding, and to plan your next anti-procrastination activity.
  • In your journal, identify rationalizations, confront yourself, and redirect yourself to your task.
  • Recognize negative attitudes and write out positive, encouraging attitudes.
  • If you get mad, write our all your frustrations and anger in your journal
  • If you make a mistake, write out the interesting, beneficial things you learned from it.