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Time Management: Procrastination

Do you procrast… inate?

Yesterday, you said you would get that assignment done tomorrow, but now that today is almost over you’ve decided to get it done tomorrow. Procrastination is something a lot of people struggle with, particularly on tasks you do not want to do or see immediate relevance in. If you do procrastinate, it is important to recognize your habits.


Consider some of these tips:


Eat the frog.

This oddly named strategy suggests that you start each day by doing the task you want to do the least, otherwise called the “frog.” (The idea being that for many people, eating frogs is unpleasant and something to be avoided.) It makes the remainder of the day much easier without the “frog” looming over your head all day.

Create short term goals.

Have a 16-page paper due in two months? It might be tempting to put such a large task off until you have the time you feel you need to tackle it. But put it off too long, and starting the paper 3 days before it is due makes an already relatively daunting task much worse. However, if you break your paper down into smaller sections, your large paper can feel much more manageable. By the way, consider finishing your paper well enough in advance to get checked out at the Writing Center or by your instructor.

Start something.

The Zeigarnik effect suggests that a key to beating procrastination is starting somewhere. (Or even anywhere!) Once you start something, you’re more inclined to finish it. Our minds are likely to struggle with the idea of having unfinished tasks waiting to be completed (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008, pg. 122).