Homework Procrastination: Why You Procrastinate on Homework and How to Stop
Homework procrastination involves unnecessarily postponing working on homework assignments. For example, if a student delays starting a homework assignment until right before its deadline for no good reason, even though it would have been better for them to start earlier, that student is engaging in homework procrastination.
Homework procrastination can take various forms, from wasting hours trying to bring yourself to start writing an essay, to putting off an important project until the end of the semester. This is a problem not only because it can harm your performance at school, and therefore cause you to receive lower grades , but also because it can cause you to suffer from various other issues , such as frustration, anxiety, and stress .
If you often procrastinate when it comes to doing homework, know that you’re not alone. Procrastination is a common problem among students ; in terms of statistics, studies show that approximately 80%–95% of college students engage in procrastination to some degree, approximately 75% consider themselves to be procrastinators, and approximately 50% say that they procrastinate in a consistent and problematic manner.
Fortunately, however, there are some things that you can do to solve this problem, as you will see in the following article. Specifically, you will first see an explanation about why students procrastinate on their homework, so you can understand your own behavior better. Then, you will see what you can do in order to stop procrastinating on your homework, so you can start getting them done on time.
Why you procrastinate on homework
You procrastinate on homework because issues such as exhaustion and anxiety outweigh your self-control and motivation. These issues include personal factors, like fear and perfectionism, and situational factors, like distractions and unclear instructions.
Specifically, when you need to get homework done, you rely primarily on your self-control in order to get yourself to do it. Furthermore, your self-control is sometimes supported by your motivation, which helps you complete your homework on time.
However, in some cases, you suffer from issues that interfere with or oppose your self-control and motivation, such as exhaustion and anxiety . When these issues are stronger than your self-control and motivation, you end up procrastinating, until you reach a point where the balance between them shifts in your favor, or until it’s too late.
This explains why you might end up procrastinating on your homework even when you have the necessary motivation and you truly wish that you could just get started. This also explains why you might end up procrastinating on your homework until right before deadlines , when the increased motivation, often in the form of stressful pressure, finally pushes you to get to work.
Accordingly, common reasons for procrastinating on homework include the following :
- Abstract goals , in terms of being vague about how and when you intend to do the homework.
- Feeling overwhelmed , often while being unsure of how to complete the homework.
- Perfectionism , in the form of refusing to create work that has any flaws.
- Fear of failure , often because of concerns over how such failure might reflect on you.
- Anxiety , often in light of potential negative feedback.
- Task aversion , especially in cases where you find the homework boring or unpleasant.
- Lack of motivation , often as a result of feeling disconnected from your future self or having rewards that are far in the future.
- Physical or mental exhaustion , often due to a combination of reasons, such as a high academic workload and associated stress .
- Resentment , generally toward the homework, toward its source, or toward something related, such as a parent pushing you to do well in a subject that you’re not interested in.
- Sensation seeking , generally in the form of enjoying working on things right before the deadline, when there’s intense time pressure.
- Problematic work environment , generally as a result of having many distractions or temptations around.
- Lack of sufficient communication from instructors, for example when it comes to not having clear directions and due dates for a certain class project.
In addition, other issues can also make you more likely to procrastinate on your homework. For example:
- Problematic behaviors like self-handicapping , which involves procrastinating so that if you fail you can blame your failure on procrastination rather than your abilities, and self-sabotaging , which involves procrastinating as a result of a tendency to sabotage your progress.
- Personality traits like distractibility and impulsivity .
- Underlying issues like lack of sleep , ADHD , and depression .
Finally, note that some of these issues can lead to problematic procrastination cycles . For example, this can happen if you’re anxious about your homework, so you procrastinate on it, which makes you even more anxious about your homework due to the added negative emotions that you now associate with it (e.g., guilt and shame), which in turn makes you more likely to keep procrastinating on your homework in the future.
Understanding why you procrastinate on your homework can help you learn how to overcome your procrastination. However, while understanding why you procrastinate can be helpful, in many cases you can reduce your procrastination even without figuring this out. As such, if you find that you’re struggling with this step, don’t worry, and don’t get stuck; simply move on to the next step, which involves trying out various anti-procrastination techniques, until you find the ones that work best for you.
How to stop procrastinating on homework
To stop procrastinating on your homework right now , you should identify the smallest possible thing you can do to make progress on it, and then modify your environment to make it as likely as possible that you will do it.
For example, if you need to write a paper for a university course, the smallest possible step that you can take toward finishing it might be opening the relevant document on your computer, and writing just a single opening line, even if it’s poorly phrased initially. Once you realize that this is all you need to do, you can start modifying your work environment to help yourself achieve that, for example by going to a room with no distractions, leaving your phone outside, and turning on airplane mode on your laptop to disable your access to online distractions .
There are many other anti-procrastination techniques that can help you stop procrastinating on your homework. You don’t need to use all of these techniques, since some won’t be relevant in your case, and since you will generally need only a few of them in order to make significant progress toward overcoming your procrastination. As such, try skimming through this list, and finding the techniques that you think will work best for you.
Improve your planning:
- Set concrete goals for yourself. For example, instead of a vague goal, such as “finish my psychology paper over the weekend”, set a concrete goal, such as “start writing an outline for the psychology paper on Thursday at 5 pm in the library, right after I finish the last class for the week”).
- Break your homework into small and manageable steps. For example, if you need to write a research paper, you can start with steps such as “(1) brainstorm three potential topics, (2) figure out which topic I like best, and (3) find five relevant sources”. If the project that you’re dealing with is large and will therefore require a large number of steps, don’t worry about outlining the whole thing from the start; simply identify the first few steps that you need to take, and add new ones as you go along, to avoid feeling overwhelmed or getting stuck.
- Set a series of milestones and deadlines for yourself. This will help you be accountable and plan ahead, and can also motivate you and give you a rewarding feeling of continuous progress.
- Identify your productivity cycles. Different people are more productive at different times, based on factors such as whether it’s morning, noon, or evening. To reduce procrastination, you should take your personal productivity patterns into account, and schedule your homework for times when you’re most likely to be able to actually work on it.
Improve your environment:
- Change your environment to make it easier for you to focus. For example, if you know that you work best when there are no distracting noises, go somewhere quiet, or put on some noise-blocking headphones.
- Change your environment to make it easier for yourself to get started. For example, if you know that you will need to write an essay tomorrow after you wake up, then leave the document open on your computer before you go to bed.
- Change your environment to make it harder for yourself to procrastinate. For example, if you tend to procrastinate by browsing apps on your phone , leave your phone outside the room where you plan to work.
Change your approach:
- Start with a tiny step. For example, if you need to write an essay, help yourself get started by committing to only write a single sentence at first. This can help you push yourself to get started on homework, and often, once you do so, you’ll find it easy to keep going.
- Start with the best or worst part first. Some people find that starting with the most enjoyable or easiest part of an assignment helps them get going, while others find that getting the worst part out of the way first helps them avoid procrastinating over time. Use either approach if you feel that it works for you.
- Add a time delay before you procrastinate. If you can’t avoid procrastinating entirely, try committing to having a time delay before you indulge your impulse to do so. For example, this can involve counting to 10 before you’re allowed to open a new tab on the social media website that you usually use to procrastinate.
- Use the Pomodoro technique. This involves alternating between scheduled periods of work and rest. For example, you can work on your homework for 25-minute long stretches, with 5-minute breaks in between, and a longer 30-minute break after every 4 work sets that you complete.
Increase your motivation:
- Make doing the homework feel more rewarding. For example, you can gamify your work, by marking down streaks of days on which you’ve managed to make sufficient progress on your assignments, and potentially also give yourself some reward once you reach a sufficiently long streak.
- Make doing the homework feel more enjoyable. For example, you can do your homework in a pleasant location, while listening to energizing music.
- Visualize your future self. For example, you can visualize yourself being able to relax after you finish working, visualize yourself being rewarded for getting a good grade in a course, or visualize yourself having to handle the issues associated with not finishing your homework on time.
- Focus on your goals instead of your assignments. Instead of focusing on the fact that you have an aversion to your homework, for whatever reason, try focusing on your end goals for completing the homework, such as getting a good grade in an important class so you can have a better application for grad school.
Change your mindset:
- Give yourself permission to make mistakes, and accept the fact that your work won’t be perfect, especially at first. This can be helpful, for example, when it comes to assignments that involve writing, where you can give yourself permission to write a bad first draft, and then edit it afterward.
- Address your fears. If you’re procrastinating because you’re afraid of something, try to identify your fears and resolve them. For example, if you’re afraid that your writing won’t be good enough, you can say to yourself that your goal is to just start by getting something written down, and that you can always improve it later.
- Develop self-compassion. Self-compassion can help reduce your procrastination, as well as various issues that are associated with it, such as stress. It consists of three components that you should develop: self-kindness , which involves being nice to yourself, common humanity , which involves recognizing that everyone experiences challenges, and mindfulness , which involves accepting your emotions in a non-judgmental manner.
- Develop self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief in your ability to carry out the actions that you need to achieve your goals, and it can help you reduce your procrastination. To develop self-efficacy, try to identify the various strategies that you can use to finish your homework, and think about your ability to execute those strategies successfully.
When deciding which approach to use in order to overcome your procrastination , keep in mind that anti-procrastination techniques are especially effective when they’re tailored to the specific causes of your procrastination. For example, if you procrastinate because you set abstract goals for yourself, you should focus on setting concrete goals instead. Similarly, if you procrastinate because of available distractions, you should remove those distractions from your study environment, or go work somewhere else instead.
In addition, note that if you suffer from an underlying issue that leads to procrastination, such as lack of sleep , depression , or ADHD , you will likely need to resolve that issue, using professional help if necessary, if you want to successfully overcome your procrastination.
Finally, keep in mind that most people need more than one technique in order to overcome their procrastination , and that different techniques work better for different people in different circumstances. Accordingly, don’t expect a single technique to solve all your problems, and don’t feel that if some technique works well for others then it will necessarily also work well for you. Instead, try out the various techniques that are available to you, until you figure out which ones work best for you, in your particular situation.
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How To Stop Procrastinating? Helpful Tips for College Students!
Your to-do list is piling up, but you’d rather do anything than start crossing items off your list. From procrastinating studying to procrastinating submitting that assignment, most college students wish they know how to stop procrastinating.
Did you know that there are actual reasons why you’re likely procrastinating? So, if you can overcome these barriers, it may get easier to know how to not procrastinate. We’ll share them so that you can maximize your time management skills and be your best self as a college student.
Why Do Students Procrastinate?
At any point in your student lift, you may find yourself taking longer to get things done than necessary. That will lead you to want to know how to not procrastinate on homework, studying, assignments, and chores.
Let’s first break down the common reasons why college students procrastinate in the first place. Some or all of these reasons may resonate with your own experience.
If you have no clearly defined goals as to what you wish to accomplish, it could be harder to understand why you have to do certain things.
Fear of failure
An all too common occurrence is that those who procrastinate actually are just afraid to fail. So, they’d rather not start to avoid this potentially displeasing sentiment.
If there’s a lot going on in your school life and/or personal life, you may feel unsure how or where to even start.
You could feel worried or anxious about the potential outcomes of whatever you have to get done, be it a homework assignment or test results.
Often in line with the fear of failure comes the idea of perfectionism. When you have the goal of everything being perfect, then you may never want to start something to avoid any flaws or mistakes (which are inevitable).
Lack of motivation
It could be possible you feel a lack of motivation because goals are too far out in the future or are unclearly defined
Perhaps, the most important thing to do is to ask yourself why you are procrastinating in the first place. This could prove to be a useful exercise because you may have to tackle the more deeply rooted issue and the shackles of procrastination will be released.
For example, you could fear that you don’t know how to do something, and to get started, you simply need to know a little more information or ask for help to understand a concept. Once you do that, you could find yourself easily finishing the required assignment.
How to Stop Procrastinating in College
Now that we’ve covered some of the reasons why students procrastinate in the first place, let’s take a look at some best practices to learn how to stop procrastinating.
To avoid the sense of overwhelm of having too much to do or not knowing where to start, organization proves to be crucial. It’s a great idea to use tools that help you stay organized, whether they are calendars or scheduling apps on your computer or the trusted old-school method of writing things down. Consider writing down upcoming assignments and deadlines, estimating how long the task will take you to perform, and counting backward from the due date to give yourself adequate time to get it done.
Of course, it still comes down to you having the motivation to start rather than procrastinate, but it’s easier to do when you have a clear idea of what you need to get done and by when.
Set Deadlines and Reasonable Goals
If you’re a person who procrastinates because your goals seem unattainable, then consider resetting your goals. While you can’t choose when assignments are due, you can choose when you want to have it ready by. In the same vein, you can’t choose when test dates are, but you can choose when to start studying. You can break down these items into smaller, achievable segments so that you can maintain momentum and feel accomplished. For example, if you have a 10-page research paper due, consider setting a goal to finish two pages per day so you can avoid having to write it fast.
Sometimes, the only way to want to get things done is to have no other alternative. You can position yourself for this scenario by removing distractions. Put your phone in another room. Turn off the TV. Tell your friends that you’re busy. Then, you can free up your own time to get your to-do list crossed off.
Getting things done doesn’t have to feel tiring or undesirable. Remember to relieve yourself of your efforts and give yourself breaks. This can also help to increase your motivation to get things done because you can look forward to the upcoming break. And, you can make your break as fun or as relaxing as you see fit. Some examples of break ideas you can try after you accomplish items on your list include: walking, cooking, calling a friend, scrolling through social media, playing with your dog, taking a nap, etc.
In the same way that breaks can serve as rewards and help to boost your motivation, so can actual rewards! Depending on what you enjoy, you can set rewards both big and small accordingly. Say you enjoy food and trying new eateries. Tell yourself that if you ace your next big exam, you’ll treat yourself to a dining experience at the restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Or, if you like fashion, then buy yourself something new when you finish your semester with a good GPA.
Ask for Help
If you’re struggling to hold yourself accountable, ask your peers or friends for help. You can help each other meet deadlines if you are unable to maintain your own self-control. Having people around you who will support you in reaching your goals and aspirations can help to manage your motivation levels as you are answerable to people besides yourself.
The Bottom Line
While there is no single answer as to how to stop procrastinating for college students, there are different behaviors and habits that you can try to overcome this common challenge.
So, if you’re a constant procrastinator or you find yourself stuck these days more than before, try to figure out why. Then, practice some of the above tips to overcome any mental hurdles.
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30 Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Find Motivation to Do Homework
Updated on June 6, 2023 By Daniel Wong 44 Comments
To stop procrastinating on homework, you need to find motivation to do the homework in the first place.
But first, you have to overcome feeling too overwhelmed to even start.
You know what it feels like when everything hits you at once, right?
You have three tests to study for and a math assignment due tomorrow.
And you’ve got a history report due the day after.
You tell yourself to get down to work. But with so much to do, you feel overwhelmed.
So you procrastinate.
You check your social media feed, watch a few videos, and get yourself a drink. But you know that none of this is bringing you closer to getting the work done.
Does this sound familiar?
Don’t worry – you are not alone. Procrastination is a problem that everyone faces, but there are ways around it.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to overcome procrastination and consistently find the motivation to do the homework .
So read on to discover 30 powerful tips to help you stop procrastinating on your homework.
Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the tips found here, plus 3 exclusive bonus tips that you’ll only find in the PDF.
How to stop procrastinating and motivate yourself to do your homework.
Procrastination when it comes to homework isn’t just an issue of laziness or a lack of motivation .
The following tips will help you to first address the root cause of your procrastination and then implement strategies to keep your motivation levels high.
1. Take a quiz to see how much you procrastinate.
The first step to changing your behavior is to become more self-aware.
How often do you procrastinate? What kinds of tasks do you tend to put off? Is procrastination a small or big problem for you?
To answer these questions, I suggest that you take this online quiz designed by Psychology Today .
2. Figure out why you’re procrastinating.
Procrastination is a complex issue that involves multiple factors.
Stop thinking of excuses for not doing your homework , and figure out what’s keeping you from getting started.
Are you procrastinating because:
- You’re not sure you’ll be able to solve all the homework problems?
- You’re subconsciously rebelling against your teachers or parents?
- You’re not interested in the subject or topic?
- You’re physically or mentally tired?
- You’re waiting for the perfect time to start?
- You don’t know where to start?
Once you’ve identified exactly why you’re procrastinating, you can pick out the tips in this article that will get to the root of the problem.
3. Write down what you’re procrastinating on.
Students tend to procrastinate when they’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
But you might be surprised to discover that simply by writing down the specific tasks you’re putting off, the situation will feel more manageable.
It’s a quick solution, and it makes a real difference.
Give it a try and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
4. Put your homework on your desk.
Here’s an even simpler idea.
Many times, the hardest part of getting your homework done is getting started.
It doesn’t require a lot of willpower to take out your homework and put it on your desk.
But once it’s sitting there in front of you, you’ll be much closer to actually getting down to work.
5. Break down the task into smaller steps.
This one trick will make any task seem more manageable.
For example, if you have a history report to write, you could break it down into the following steps:
- Read the history textbook
- Do online research
- Organize the information
- Create an outline
- Write the introduction
- Write the body paragraphs
- Write the conclusion
- Edit and proofread the report
Focus on just one step at a time. This way, you won’t need to motivate yourself to write the whole report at one go.
This is an important technique to use if you want to study smart and get more done .
6. Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines.
As a follow-up to Point #5, you can further combat procrastination by creating a timeline with specific deadlines.
Using the same example above, I’ve added deadlines to each of the steps:
- Jan 30 th : Read the history textbook
- Feb 2 nd : Do online research
- Feb 3 rd : Organize the information
- Feb 5 th : Create an outline
- Feb 8 th : Write the introduction
- Feb 12 th : Write the body paragraphs
- Feb 14 th : Write the conclusion
- Feb 16 th : Edit and proofread the report
Assigning specific dates creates a sense of urgency, which makes it more likely that you’ll keep to the deadlines.
7. Spend time with people who are focused and hardworking.
Jim Rohn famously said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
If you hang out with people who are motivated and hardworking, you’ll become more like them.
Likewise, if you hang out with people who continually procrastinate, you’ll become more like them too.
Motivation to do homework naturally increases when you surround yourself with the right people.
So choose your friends wisely. Find homework buddies who will influence you positively to become a straight-A student who leads a balanced life.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun! It just means that you and your friends know when it’s time to get down to work and when it’s time to enjoy yourselves.
8. Tell at least two or three people about the tasks you plan to complete.
When you tell others about the tasks you intend to finish, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your plans.
This is called “accountability,” and it kicks in because you want to be seen as someone who keeps your word.
So if you know about this principle, why not use it to your advantage?
You could even ask a friend to be your accountability buddy. At the beginning of each day, you could text each other what you plan to work on that day.
Then at the end of the day, you could check in with each other to see if things went according to plan.
9. Change your environment .
Maybe it’s your environment that’s making you feel sluggish.
When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Or is your distracting computer within easy reach?
If your environment is part of your procrastination problem, then change it.
Sometimes all you need is a simple change of scenery. Bring your work to the dining room table and get it done there. Or head to a nearby café to complete your report.
10. Talk to people who have overcome their procrastination problem.
If you have friends who consistently win the battle with procrastination, learn from their experience.
What was the turning point for them? What tips and strategies do they use? What keeps them motivated?
Find all this out, and then apply the information to your own situation.
11. Decide on a reward to give yourself after you complete your task.
“Planned” rewards are a great way to motivate yourself to do your homework.
The reward doesn’t have to be something huge.
For instance, you might decide that after you finish 10 questions of your math homework, you get to watch your favorite TV show.
Or you might decide that after reading one chapter of your history textbook, you get to spend 10 minutes on Facebook.
By giving yourself a reward, you’ll feel more motivated to get through the task at hand.
12. Decide on a consequence you’ll impose on yourself if you don’t meet the deadline.
It’s important that you decide on what the consequence will be before you start working toward your goal.
As an example, you could tell your younger brother that you’ll give him $1 for every deadline you don’t meet (see Point #6).
Or you could decide that you’ll delete one game from your phone for every late homework submission.
Those consequences would probably be painful enough to help you get down to work, right?
13. Visualize success.
Take 30 seconds and imagine how you’ll feel when you finish your work.
What positive emotions will you experience?
Will you feel a sense of satisfaction from getting all your work done?
Will you relish the extra time on your hands when you get your homework done fast and ahead of time?
This simple exercise of visualizing success may be enough to inspire you to start doing your assignment.
14. Visualize the process it will take to achieve that success.
Even more important than visualizing the outcome is visualizing the process it will take to achieve that outcome.
Research shows that focusing on the process is critical to success. If you’re procrastinating on a task, take a few moments to think about what you’ll need to do to complete it.
Visualize the following:
- What resources you’ll need
- Who you can turn to for help
- How long the task will take
- Where you’ll work on the task
- The joy you’ll experience as you make progress
This kind of visualization is like practice for your mind.
Once you understand what’s necessary to achieve your goal, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get down to work with real focus. This is key to doing well in school .
15. Write down why you want to complete the task.
You’ll be more motivated when you’re clear about why you want to accomplish something.
To motivate yourself to do your homework, think about all the ways in which it’s a meaningful task.
So take a couple of minutes to write down the reasons. Here are some possible ones:
- Learn useful information
- Master the topic
- Enjoy a sense of accomplishment when you’ve completed the task
- Become a more focused student
- Learn to embrace challenges
- Fulfill your responsibility as a student
- Get a good grade on the assignment
16. Write down the negative feelings you’ll have if you don’t complete the task.
If you don’t complete the assignment, you might feel disappointed or discouraged. You might even feel as if you’ve let your parents or your teacher – or even yourself – down.
It isn’t wise to dwell on these negative emotions for too long. But by imagining how you’ll feel if you don’t finish the task, you’ll realize how important it is that you get to work.
17. Do the hardest task first.
Most students will choose to do the easiest task first, rather than the hardest one. But this approach isn’t effective because it leaves the worst for last.
It’s more difficult to find motivation to do homework in less enjoyable subjects.
As Brian Tracy says , “Eat that frog!” By this, he means that you should always get your most difficult task out of the way at the beginning of the day.
If math is your least favorite subject, force yourself to complete your math homework first.
After doing so, you’ll feel a surge of motivation from knowing it’s finished. And you won’t procrastinate on your other homework because it will seem easier in comparison.
(On a separate note, check out these tips on how to get better at math if you’re struggling.)
18. Set a timer when doing your homework.
I recommend that you use a stopwatch for every homework session. (If you prefer, you could also use this online stopwatch or the Tomato Timer .)
Start the timer at the beginning of the session, and work in 30- to 45-minute blocks.
Using a timer creates a sense of urgency, which will help you fight off your urge to procrastinate.
When you know you only have to work for a short session, it will be easier to find motivation to complete your homework.
Tell yourself that you need to work hard until the timer goes off, and then you can take a break. (And then be sure to take that break!)
19. Eliminate distractions.
Here are some suggestions on how you can do this:
- Delete all the games and social media apps on your phone
- Turn off all notifications on your phone
- Mute your group chats
- Archive your inactive chats
- Turn off your phone, or put it on airplane mode
- Put your phone at least 10 feet away from you
- Turn off the Internet access on your computer
- Use an app like Freedom to restrict your Internet usage
- Put any other distractions (like food, magazines and books unrelated to your homework) at the other end of the room
- Unplug the TV
- Use earplugs if your surroundings are noisy
20. At the start of each day, write down the two to three Most Important Tasks (MITs) you want to accomplish.
This will enable you to prioritize your tasks. As Josh Kaufman explains , a Most Important Task (MIT) is a critical task that will help you to get significant results down the road.
Not all tasks are equally important. That’s why it’s vital that you identify your MITs, so that you can complete those as early in the day as possible.
What do you most need to get done today? That’s an MIT.
Get to work on it, then feel the satisfaction that comes from knowing it’s out of the way.
21. Focus on progress instead of perfection.
Perfectionism can destroy your motivation to do homework and keep you from starting important assignments.
Some students procrastinate because they’re waiting for the perfect time to start.
Others do so because they want to get their homework done perfectly. But they know this isn’t really possible – so they put off even getting started.
What’s the solution?
To focus on progress instead of perfection.
There’s never a perfect time for anything. Nor will you ever be able to complete your homework perfectly. But you can do your best, and that’s enough.
So concentrate on learning and improving, and turn this into a habit that you implement whenever you study .
22. Get organized.
Procrastination is common among students who are disorganized.
When you can’t remember which assignment is due when or which tests you have coming up, you’ll naturally feel confused. You’ll experience school- and test-related stress .
This, in turn, will lead to procrastination.
That’s why it’s crucial that you get organized. Here are some tips for doing this:
- Don’t rely on your memory ; write everything down
- Keep a to-do list
- Use a student planner
- Use a calendar and take note of important dates like exams, project due dates, school holidays , birthdays, and family events
- At the end of each day, plan for the following day
- Use one binder or folder for each subject or course
- Do weekly filing of your loose papers, notes, and old homework
- Throw away all the papers and notes you no longer need
23. Stop saying “I have to” and start saying “I choose to.”
When you say things like “I have to write my essay” or “I have to finish my science assignment,” you’ll probably feel annoyed. You might be tempted to complain about your teachers or your school .
What’s the alternative?
To use the phrase “I choose to.”
The truth is, you don’t “have” to do anything.
You can choose not to write your essay; you’ll just run the risk of failing the class.
You can choose not to do your science assignment; you’ll just need to deal with your angry teacher.
When you say “I choose to do my homework,” you’ll feel empowered. This means you’ll be more motivated to study and to do what you ought to.
24. Clear your desk once a week.
Clutter can be demotivating. It also causes stress , which is often at the root of procrastination.
Hard to believe? Give it a try and see for yourself.
By clearing your desk, you’ll reduce stress and make your workspace more organized.
So set a recurring appointment to organize your workspace once a week for just 10 minutes. You’ll receive huge benefits in the long run!
25. If a task takes two minutes or less to complete, do it now.
This is a principle from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done .
You may notice that you tend to procrastinate when many tasks pile up. The way to prevent this from happening is to take care of the small but important tasks as soon as you have time.
Here are some examples of small two-minute tasks that you should do once you have a chance:
- Replying to your project group member’s email
- Picking up anything on the floor that doesn’t belong there
- Asking your parents to sign a consent form
- Filing a graded assignment
- Making a quick phone call
- Writing a checklist
- Sending a text to schedule a meeting
- Making an online purchase that doesn’t require further research
26. Finish one task before starting on the next.
You aren’t being productive when you switch between working on your literature essay, social studies report, and physics problem set – while also intermittently checking your phone.
Research shows that multitasking is less effective than doing one thing at a time. Multitasking may even damage your brain !
When it comes to overcoming procrastination, it’s better to stick with one task all the way through before starting on the next one.
You’ll get a sense of accomplishment when you finish the first assignment, which will give you a boost of inspiration as you move on to the next one.
27. Build your focus gradually.
You can’t win the battle against procrastination overnight; it takes time. This means that you need to build your focus progressively.
If you can only focus for 10 minutes at once, that’s fine. Start with three sessions of 10 minutes a day. After a week, increase it to three sessions of 15 minutes a day, and so on.
As the weeks go by, you’ll become far more focused than when you first started. And you’ll soon see how great that makes you feel.
28. Before you start work, write down three things you’re thankful for.
Gratitude improves your psychological health and increases your mental strength .
These factors are linked to motivation. The more you practice gratitude, the easier it will be to find motivation to do your homework. As such, it’s less likely that you’ll be a serial procrastinator.
Before you get down to work for the day, write down three things you’re thankful for. These could be simple things like good health, fine weather, or a loving family.
You could even do this in a “gratitude journal,” which you can then look back on whenever you need a shot of fresh appreciation for the good things in your life.
Either way, this short exercise will get you in the right mindset to be productive.
29. Get enough sleep.
For most people, this means getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. And teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night to function optimally.
What does sleep have to do with procrastination?
More than you might realize.
It’s almost impossible to feel motivated when you’re tired. And when you’re low on energy, your willpower is depleted too.
That’s why you give in to the temptation of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube videos more easily when you’re sleep-deprived.
Here are ways to get more sleep , and sleep better too:
- Create a bedtime routine
- Go to sleep at around the same time every night
- Set a daily alarm as a reminder to go to bed
- Exercise regularly (but not within a few hours of bedtime)
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible
- Remove or switch off all electronic devices before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bedtime
- Use an eye mask and earplugs
30. Schedule appointments with yourself to complete your homework.
These appointments are specific blocks of time reserved for working on a report, assignment, or project. Scheduling appointments is effective because it makes the task more “official,” so you’re more likely to keep the appointment.
For example, you could schedule appointments such as:
- Jan 25 th , 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Math assignment
- Jan 27 th , 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Online research for social studies project
- Jan 28 th , 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Write introduction for English essay
Transform homework procrastination into homework motivation
Procrastination is a problem we all face.
But given that you’ve read all the way to here, I know you’re committed to overcoming this problem.
And now that you’re armed with these tips, you have all the tools you need to become more disciplined and focused .
By the way, please don’t feel as if you need to implement all the tips at once, because that would be too overwhelming.
Instead, I recommend that you focus on just a couple of tips a week, and make gradual progress. No rush!
Over time, you’ll realize that your habit of procrastination has been replaced by the habit of getting things done.
Now’s the time to get started on that process of transformation. 🙂
Like this article? Please share it with your friends.
Images: Student and books , Homework , Group of students , Consequences , Why , Writing a list , Organized desk , Gratitude
January 19, 2016 at 11:53 am
Ur tips are rlly helpful. Thnkyou ! 🙂
January 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm
You’re welcome 🙂
August 29, 2018 at 11:21 am
Thanks very much
February 19, 2019 at 1:38 pm
The funny thing is while I was reading the first few steps of this article I was procrastinating on my homework….
November 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm
same here! but now I actually want to get my stuff done… huh
December 4, 2022 at 11:35 pm
May 30, 2023 at 6:26 am
October 25, 2023 at 11:35 am
fr tho i totally was but now I’m actually going to get started haha
June 6, 2020 at 6:04 am
I love your articles
January 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm
Thanks soo much. It’s almost like you could read my mind- when I felt so overwhelmed with the workload heap I had created for myself by procrastination, I know feel very motivated to tackle it out completely and replace that bad habit with the wonderful tips mentioned here! 🙂
January 21, 2016 at 8:04 pm
I’m glad to help 🙂
January 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm
You have shared great tips here. I especially like the point “Write down why you want to complete the task” because it is helpful to make us more motivated when we are clear about our goals
January 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm
Glad that you found the tips useful, John!
January 29, 2016 at 1:22 am
Thank you very much for your wonderful tips!!! ☺☺☺
January 29, 2016 at 10:41 am
It’s my joy to help, Kabir 🙂
February 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm
Always love your articles. Keep them up 🙂
February 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm
Thanks, Matthew 🙂
February 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm
There are quite a lot of things that you need to do in order to come out with flying colors while studying in a university away from your homeland. Procrastinating on homework is one of the major mistakes committed by students and these tips will help you to avoid them all and make yourself more efficient during your student life.
February 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm
Completely agreed, Leong Siew.
October 5, 2018 at 12:52 am
Wow! thank you very much, I love it .
November 2, 2018 at 10:45 am
You are helping me a lot.. thank you very much….😊
November 6, 2018 at 5:19 pm
I’m procrastinating by reading this
November 29, 2018 at 10:21 am
January 8, 2021 at 3:38 am
March 3, 2019 at 9:12 am
Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! Please keep up your excellent work!
April 12, 2019 at 11:12 am
We should stop procrastinating.
September 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm
Thank you so much for the tips:) i’ve been procrastinating since i started high schools and my grades were really bad “F” but the tips have made me a straight A student again.
January 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm
Thanks for the tips, Daniel! They’re really useful! 😁
April 10, 2020 at 2:15 pm
I have always stood first in my class. But procrastination has always been a very bad habit of mine which is why I lost marks for late submission .As an excuse for finding motivation for studying I would spend hours on the phone and I would eventually procrastinate. So I tried your tips and tricks today and they really worked.i am so glad and thankful for your help. 🇮🇳Love from India🇮🇳
April 15, 2020 at 11:16 am
Well I’m gonna give this a shot it looks and sounds very helpful thank you guys I really needed this
April 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm
Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! keep up your excellent work! May you give more useful content to us.
May 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm
nice article thanks for your sharing.
May 20, 2020 at 4:49 am
Thank you so much this helped me so much but I was wondering about like what if you just like being lazy and stuff and don’t feel like doing anything and you don’t want to tell anyone because you might annoy them and you just don’t want to add your problems and put another burden on theirs
July 12, 2020 at 1:55 am
I’ve read many short procrastination tip articles and always thought they were stupid or overlooking the actual problem. ‘do this and this’ or that and that, and I sit there thinking I CAN’T. This article had some nice original tips that I actually followed and really did make me feel a bit better. Cheers, diving into what will probably be a 3 hour case study.
August 22, 2020 at 10:14 pm
Nicely explain each tips and those are practical thanks for sharing. Dr.Achyut More
November 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Thanks a lot! It was very helpful!
November 15, 2020 at 9:11 am
I keep catching myself procrastinating today. I started reading this yesterday, but then I realized I was procrastinating, so I stopped to finish it today. Thank you for all the great tips.
November 30, 2020 at 5:15 pm
Woow this is so great. Thanks so much Daniel
December 3, 2020 at 3:13 am
These tips were very helpful!
December 18, 2020 at 11:54 am
Procrastination is a major problem of mine, and this, this is very helpful. It is very motivational, now I think I can complete my work.
December 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm
Daniel Wong: When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Me: Nope, my super-comfortable bed is one step away. (But I seriously can’t study anywhere else. If I go to the dining table, my mum would be right in front of me talking loudly on the phone with colleagues and other rooms is an absolute no. My mum doesn’t allow me to go outside. Please give me some suggestions. )
September 19, 2022 at 12:14 pm
I would try and find some noise cancelling headphones to play some classical music or get some earbuds to ignore you mum lol
March 1, 2021 at 5:46 pm
Thank you very much. I highly appreciate it.
May 12, 2023 at 3:38 am
This is great advice. My little niece is now six years old and I like to use those nice cheap child friendly workbooks with her. This is done in order to help her to learn things completely on her own. I however prefer to test her on her own knowledge however. After a rather quick demonstration in the lesson I then tend to give her two simple questions to start off with. And it works a treat. Seriously. I love it. She loves it. The exam questions are for her to answer on her own on a notepad. If she can, she will receive a gold medal and a box of sweets. If not she only gets a plastic toy. We do this all the time to help her understand. Once a week we spend up to thirty minutes in a math lesson on this technique for recalling the basic facts. I have had a lot of great success with this new age technique. So I’m going to carry on with it for now.
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How to Stop Procrastinating in College: 7 Essential Tips
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- Many college students procrastinate on studying and completing assignments.
- Procrastination means putting off tasks, even though doing so will negatively affect you.
- Students can avoid procrastinating by creating a schedule and breaking up tasks.
- Accountability partners, breaks, and rewards can also help you form better habits.
Almost everyone procrastinates at some point in life, especially students. A 2007 analysis found that up to 95% of college students put off schoolwork.
But avoiding tasks doesn't make them go away — and procrastinating hurts more than just your grades.
What is procrastination exactly? It's not the same as being lazy. Instead, procrastination means delaying difficult or challenging tasks.
So why do we procrastinate? Usually because we find certain tasks stressful, hard, or just plain boring. College students typically don't procrastinate on things they want to do.
It's not surprising that procrastinators earn lower grades . But they also experience more stress , along with the many negative side effects of stress. Ultimately, procrastination is a choice. It means choosing to put off work, even when you know that's a bad idea.
Fortunately, there are many ways college students can start creating better habits. The seven tips below teach you how to stop procrastinating once and for all.
1. Keep Track of Deadlines
Knowing your deadlines can help you create a healthy habit of planning ahead. It will also help you avoid putting off coursework until the last minute.
Let's say you have a paper due in two weeks. Most students would avoid thinking about the assignment until right before the due date. Instead of avoiding it, sit down and come up with a schedule. Break the essay into multiple steps, and schedule time to research, write, and revise your paper.
Another example is an upcoming midterm or final exam. Rather than putting off studying, you should plan out when you'll review your notes and answer practice questions.
Staying on top of your assignments is key to breaking the habit of procrastinating.
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2. Start Small
Why do people procrastinate? Often the task may feel so big that we don't know where to start. Learning how to stop procrastinating starts with small steps.
Tell yourself you'll sit down to study for just 15 minutes. You may find that this leads to a longer 30-minute or two-hour study session. Why? Once you get started, it's much easier to keep going. For many, starting is the most difficult part.
Breaking tasks down into smaller parts can also improve your performance. According to psychologists at the University of California, San Diego , you'll get a major memory advantage from studying in shorter, spaced-out sessions.
3. Know When You Work Best
Are you the type of person who rolls out of bed feeling energized and ready to go? Or are you a night owl who does your best, most focused work after sunset? Knowing when to work can help you avoid procrastination.
Pay attention to when you feel alert during the day. Once you know your most and least productive times, you can schedule your most intensive tasks for your best times of day.
4. Set Milestones
Clear goals can help college students avoid procrastinating. But sometimes the goal feels too distant, like completing a semesterlong project or making it through finals week . This is why it's important to break assignments down into smaller goals or milestones.
Instead of telling yourself to sit down and read an entire textbook cover to cover, break your reading sessions into chapters or even sections.
You can also break down studying for exams into simple steps. Your milestones might include reviewing keywords, preparing for in-class essay questions, or taking a practice test.
Be sure to set goal deadlines for each milestone. Reach out to someone in your class to keep you accountable, or consider forming a study group . Knowing that someone else will check up on your work can help you stay motivated.
5. Avoid Distractions
Distractions can easily derail your study sessions. It's no surprise that college students procrastinate on challenging tasks while trying to make time for fun. And when you're finally sitting down to jump into problem sets or read a dense primary source, it's much easier to drop your book and scroll through social media .
So how can you avoid distractions? Keep the internet browsers to a minimum; find a quiet, distraction-free environment that helps you focus; and put your phone away or set it to airplane mode.
Note that avoiding distractions doesn't mean working nonstop — you should also build in scheduled breaks.
6. Build in Breaks
Procrastinators often tell themselves things like, "I'll just write that paper in 10 hours." But then, unsurprisingly, they fail to stick with this unrealistic goal.
When college students procrastinate, they tend to rush through their assignments. Doing this gets the adrenaline pumping and can give the mistaken impression that you're doing great work. In reality, though, taking regular breaks can improve your productivity and focus.
Here are some recommendations for energizing study breaks from Cornell Health :
- Go for a brisk walk
- Take a power nap
- Listen to music
- Call a friend
- Eat a snack
7. Reward Yourself
Breaking your procrastination habit means building better, healthier habits. And rewards are a great way to reinforce a new routine.
Create rewards for each of your milestones. Once you read a chapter of a textbook, for example, reward yourself with an episode of your favorite TV show. Once you finish the first draft of your paper, head out with a friend to grab dinner at your favorite burger joint.
Procrastination has major downsides. When students procrastinate, they feel worse, physically and psychologically . Research shows that procrastinators experience more headaches, higher stress levels, and poor sleep.
Replacing procrastination with good habits can take time, but it's worth the investment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Procrastinating in College
What is procrastination.
Procrastination means putting off something you need to do, even when it will negatively affect you should you wait. Psychology professor Fuschia Sirois defines procrastination as "the voluntary, unnecessary delay of an important task, despite knowing you'll be worse off for doing so."
Students who procrastinate aren't necessarily lazy. Often, learners put off tasks because they feel overwhelmed or anxious. Unfortunately, procrastinating only increases stress.
Why do people procrastinate?
College students procrastinate for many reasons. Sometimes they don't know how to start an assignment. In other cases, they may put off difficult or challenging tasks like studying for finals. Procrastinators sometimes avoid boring assignments like reading a dry textbook or wait to start studying because they're afraid of failing .
Some people even procrastinate because they think it makes them a better student — we've all heard people say they do their best work under pressure. However, research shows that procrastinators earn lower grades and experience more stress.
What percentage of college students procrastinate?
A 2007 analysis found that 80-95% of college students procrastinate. According to psychology professor Joseph Ferrari , procrastinators come in three types:
- Avoiders who are worried about failure or judgment
- Indecisives who put off stressful choices
- Thrill-seekers who argue they perform best with time constraints
Learning how to stop procrastinating on homework, assignments, and other tasks will likely mean less stress and better work habits. As Ferrari warns, though, around 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators.
By creating better habits in college, graduates can avoid the downsides of procrastinating.
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How to Stop Procrastinating Homework
Procrastination creates stress for students and can impact the production of quality work. Putting things off, for all of us, creates an overall feeling of things hanging over our heads and never being free from responsibility.
When students procrastinate, they can create a situation that makes it difficult to self-regulate . When a student is not well-regulated – in other words, they’re experiencing a moderate to high level of anxiety related to homework – it’s more difficult for their frontal lobe to be engaged in thinking and problem-solving.
Want to help your student stop procrastinating homework and reach their full academic potential? This article takes an objective view of homework procrastination to examine the root cause and provides some expert advice on how parents and educators can best help students.
Common Reasons for Procrastinating Homework
So, why is procrastination so common? Contrary to what many might believe, the root cause has nothing to do with students being ‘lazy’ or dismissive about their schoolwork. Rather, some of the most common reasons for homework procrastination include,
- Students may underestimate the length or complexity of a project because they have not fully developed the concept.
- When students feel overwhelmed or become aware of the significance of the project/paper/essay etc, they can ‘freeze up’, rendering them incapable of completing any work at all.
- Trying to accomplish homework with ADHD presents unique challenges for students; students with ADHD often need help further developing essential executive functioning skills .
- Some students may not be getting enough sleep and feel exhausted – both physically and mentally; an exhaustive state robs them of their natural ability to motivate.
- The home environment where students typically complete homework may have too many distractions.
The rule of thumb for parents: perspective is key for parents . Motivating students from a place of shame is a non-starter. Alternatively, parents will have more success when they objectively consider the root causes for procrastinating homework – anxiety, exhaustion, constant distractions, or living with ADHD – and look for ways to help alleviate these common factors.
Homework Tips for Parents : A Word On Motivation
First, motivating students is a misnomer. Students may want to do well, but really do not know how to do well. Others may procrastinate because they’re afraid to fail or not be perfect.
Try following these steps to help your student,
- Begin by asking your student if they are open to help. While students may say no, parents have the ability to respond by saying they respect their position but would kindly ask them to reconsider. In other words, forcing students to comply simply compounds the stress and frustration the student is experiencing.
- Recognize that your student may be more emotional with you than with a tutor. It’s not personal – by keeping your emotions in check, you provide a great example of self-regulation for your student to model. If you need to step away to get a break, do so.
- Model, model, model! Get involved by reading the assignment out loud with your student, and create a schedule of how to do a little each day so the student learns how to complete a little at a time
- Perhaps the most important thing to do: empathize! Kids, just like us, want to be understood and supported. Even as adults, having to do what you don’t like to do stinks – we call it ‘adulting’. Want to shorten the proverbial gap between you and your student? Provide some real-life examples of how you have to do things you don’t like as an adult and acknowledge their feelings. You will become instantly relatable.
Additional Homework Tips for Students
- Start with something easy to help you get going – we call this behavioral momentum. Format your paper, write your name at the top of the assignment, and answer the question you feel most comfortable with – just get the ball rolling.
- After you establish behavioral momentum, tackle something more challenging – but set a timer (around 30 minutes) so you don’t feel like it will take all night.
- Some research shows that individuals are more likely to perform better on an assessment when part of a group. If you have the time and opportunity, join a study group of people who are all working like you.
- Create a work/break schedule and definitely put distractions in another room (phone! Or games/Youtube or other streaming videos).
Creating an Efficient Homework Schedule
Okay, parents – you likely already know how important structure and routine can be for your kids. In helping your student learn how to stop procrastinating homework, creating a schedule can give them a greater sense of autonomy while helping them manage expectations.
In a de-escalated environment, (when things are chill) ask your student to create a homework schedule that he/she would like to implement. After they present it to you, you’ll have an opportunity to give feedback and set up a trial period.
The proposal itself is a plan; the student is evaluating their resources (time) and responsibilities (tasks) and formulating a plan. Ask your student how they want to be held accountable and let them know you want to discuss it with them at the end of the week to evaluate their progress.
With this approach, parents demonstrate trust in their students and give them an opportunity to practice being self-direct. The key word here is practice – so, don’t expect it to be perfect! Over time and with further practice, they will develop these skills.
Academic Coaching with Effective Students
Fortunately, for parents and students who feel overwhelmed by homework or are frustrated trying to help their kids, there is help in the form of academic coaching from Effective Students. Our academic coaching services empower students who may be struggling to manage materials or assignments, apply what they’re learning, transition into a new academic environment (high school to college, for example), and procrastinate homework due to heightened feelings of anxiety, fear, and exhaustion.
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How to Stop Procrastinating on Homework: 9 Helpful Tips
Published on: 09/21/2022
By Scott Winstead
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Are you looking for clear, actionable advice on how to stop procrastinating on homework?
Does it feel like no matter how good your intentions are, you just can’t seem to make yourself sit down and do your work?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Procrastination is a common problem that affects students of all ages.
Finding the motivation to study and do your work can be tough, especially when there are other things that you’d rather be doing.
The good news is that there are things that you can do to make it easier to get started on your homework and avoid procrastination.
In this article, we’ll share with you some of the best tips on how to stop procrastinating on homework so you can get your work done and move on with your day.
1. Make a plan
The first step to avoiding homework procrastination is to make a plan. Having a plan gives you something to stick to and helps you stay on track.
Start by knowing what work you need to do and when it’s due. Then, break down the work into smaller tasks that you can complete.
For example, if you have a paper to write, your plan might look something like this:
- Choose a topic
- Do research
- Write a rough draft
- Edit and revise
- Print and submit
Making a plan will help you see the big picture and understand what needs to be done. It can also make the work feel less daunting because you’re not looking at it all at once.
2. Figure out why you’re procrastinating
While it’s easy to call a procrastinator lazy, the reality is there are usually several underlying reasons for why someone is putting off their work.
It could be that the task feels too difficult, or maybe you’re just not interested in the subject matter.
Maybe you’re worried about not doing the assignment well, or you’re procrastinating because you don’t want to deal with the consequences of not doing it right.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to figure out why you’re procrastinating so you can find a way to overcome it.
If the task feels too difficult, for instance, you might try breaking it down into smaller steps or getting help from a tutor or classmate.
And if you’re worried about not doing the assignment perfectly, remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and that the goal is to learn from them, not to be perfect.
3. Set a timer for working and taking breaks
One of the best ways to stop procrastinating is to set a time limit for yourself.
Tell yourself that you’re going to work on the task for 20 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break after.
After 4 or 5 of these cycles, you should have made significant progress on the task and you can take a longer break.
The key is to not allow yourself to get too bogged down or overwhelmed by the work.
By setting a time limit, you’re giving yourself permission to take breaks and not feel guilty about it.
4. Find a study buddy who’s focused
You’ve probably heard it said that you are who you spend the most time with.
This is especially true when it comes to your studies.
If you’re constantly around people who are unfocused and uninterested in their work, it’s going to be that much harder for you to stay on track.
On the other hand, if you surround yourself with people who are motivated and focused, you’re more likely to be motivated and focused as well.
One way to do this is by finding a study buddy who shares your goals and is willing to help you stay on track.
Working with someone who’s doing well in school can help you stay focused and motivated, and it’s also a great way to get help when you’re struggling with a concept.
5. Find the right environment for doing your homework
It’s very possible that the reason you keep procrastinating on your homework is because you’re trying to do it in an environment that’s not conducive to learning.
For some people, that means trying to do their work in a noisy or crowded place. Others might find it difficult to focus at home because there are too many distractions.
Everyone has different needs when it comes to finding the right environment for doing their homework.
Some people need complete silence, while others prefer to have some background noise.
Some people like to work in a library or coffee shop, while others prefer to be at home.
The important thing is to find an environment that works for you and stick to it.
6. Get rid of distractions
Another reason you might be procrastinating on your homework is because there are too many distractions around you.
This could be anything from your phone to the TV to social media.
If you’re trying to do your homework but you keep getting distracted, it’s important to get rid of those distractions.
Figure out exactly what it is that keeps distracting you and find a way to eliminate it.
For some people, that means putting their phone in another room while they work.
For others, it might mean working in a library instead of at home.
Whatever it is, getting rid of distractions will help you stay focused and get your homework done.
7. Let others know about your homework schedule
By letting others know when you’ll be doing your homework, you accomplish a couple of things.
First, you’re less likely to procrastinate because you don’t want to let others down, and you’ll have some people who can help hold you accountable.
Second, letting others know about your homework schedule can help ensure that no one interrupts you while you’re working.
8. Set reasonable goals
Another reason you might procrastinate on your homework is that your goals are too lofty or unrealistic.
If you’re constantly trying to achieve perfection, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.
Instead, try to set reasonable goals for yourself.
Focus on understanding the material and doing your best, rather than getting a perfect score.
Or make your goal to do a specific amount of work each day, rather than to finish all of your homework for the week in one sitting. Check out our guide to setting SMART goals for students to get a better idea of how to set achievable goals.
9. Take breaks
If you’re finding it difficult to focus on your homework, it might help to take a break. While that might sound counterintuitive, taking breaks can actually be helpful for your concentration.
If you’ve been working on a project for a while and you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or frustrated, take a 5-10 minute break to clear your head.
Get up and walk around, have a snack, or just step away from your work to give yourself a mental break.
You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your work with a clear head.
A Final Word on How to Stop Procrastinating on Homework
At one time or another, we’ve all been guilty of procrastinating on our homework.
But if you find that you’re habitually putting off your work, it’s important to find a way to stop. Otherwise, you’ll just end up falling behind and feeling stressed out.
By following the tips above, you can develop better habits and break the cycle of procrastination so you can be more productive at school .
Have any questions about how to stop procrastinating on homework? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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Teach your teen how to stop procrastinating homework (without nagging).
by Winston Sieck updated September 18, 2021
You send him off to school. Drive him to soccer practice. Then there’s dinner. And, you know, a little TV.
Says he’s getting homework done. But there doesn’t seem to be that much. Gets it all done in school . Hmm. Trust me . Hmm.
You want to trust him. You don’t have time to review each assignment. And that’d go over like a lead balloon, anyway. Nagging is out. Major hassle. Tiny return.
But when the grades come back, you know you’ve got to do something. Trust me didn’t work.
You might think that getting things done has to do with grit or simple hard-nosed discipline. That he’ll wake up and do it, or he won’t. But this is far from the truth.
He’s got to learn how to stop procrastinating homework.
You can’t manage his time for him anymore. But he still needs support.
Supporting him to get his work done simply requires that you teach him a few study tips and time management techniques. Teach him how to stop procrastinating homework, rather than trying to manage his time for him.
It’s much easier because you coach him on tools and processes, without getting into the nitty-gritty of his business. This is a central idea of our study skills course .
The procrastination cycle affects us all (or “It’s not just you, kid”)
You know what I mean by the procrastination cycle, right?
Say your son has a tough homework assignment. About geometry theorems. It seemed pretty complicated in class. He doesn’t get it right away, so he decides to put it off.
Later that evening comes. He puts it off again. Until tomorrow and then to the next day. Now he’s feeling like he really doesn’t know what’s going on in class. More assignments begin to slip, and class is less fun every day.
He’s walking around with an uneasy feeling that he’s not going to do very well in this course. And feeling like that, it becomes easy to procrastinate his homework even more.
Procrastination is a beast that feeds on itself.
And you’ve met that beast yourself, haven’t you?
It shouldn’t be too hard to feel some empathy. Procrastination haunts us all.
Can you think of a time when you didn’t feel very motivated to study (or work)? A time when you were sorely tempted to put off the task until later? My guess is that you don’t have to think that far back.
What was it about the task that gave you an itch to procrastinate? Did it seem too difficult, boring, or just tedious?
How did it turn out? Did you break the cycle, or did things get worse and worse?
You’ve got a story about procrastination. Think it through. Get it straight in your head.
Now, tell your teen all about it.
Don’t worry if it turned out badly. It’s fine to show a little weakness. We’re all humans here.
My kids love and remember stories of my failures best.
The point is to empathize with your teen’s struggle. Show him that you really do know what it’s like.
Get momentum and spiral up
We all face the procrastination beast at one time or another. Yet, you have the benefit of experience. To get where you are now, you’ve figured out a few ways to overcome it.
You may not have them on the tip of your tongue, but they’re there. You’ve internalized your tricks. They’ve become part of your habit.
It’s time to bring them back to the forefront of your consciousness so you can pass them on.
Need some help?
Here are four ways to overcome procrastination. Share these tips with your teen.
- Nip procrastination in the bud . Recognize this cycle early on, and imagine where it will lead you. By acting early, even if just to do a little, you can avoid the downward spiral.
- Set small goals to focus on , rather than on a big task that seems like too much. Break the assignment or study activity into little pieces. Congratulate yourself as you finish a small task. Making a little progress will help increase your motivation to do some more.
- Make a deal with yourself . Promise yourself a reward for finishing the task, or a reasonable chunk of it. Tell yourself that you’ll watch some TV, listen to a song you like, or call a friend after you are done.
- Concentrate on the most recent tasks when too much has piled up. Figure out what tomorrow’s lecture is going to be about, or what homework assignment is due next, and put your energy into preparing for those. This way, you can enjoy a small win of a more positive class experience, because you understand what’s being said a bit better and have turned in a more complete assignment on time.
Which of these have you used? Maybe at work, instead of school. Do they jar your memory for other tricks you use?
The harsh truth about how to stop procrastinating homework
We all have trouble with procrastination. At least now and then.
It’s the same for your teen. And he’s had less practice handling it. He hasn’t picked up all the tricks you’ve come across for working through the sticky spots.
How can you help him get his tedious, daunting tasks done?
Not directly, at least. He’s got to learn to get himself unstuck.
But you can talk with him about procrastination. Empathize with his struggles.
You’ve know you’ve been there.
Think about what works for you.
Share your tips for getting things done (even when you don’t feel like it).
Image Credit: dichohecho
Build your study skills with thinker academy.
About Winston Sieck
Dr. Winston Sieck is a cognitive psychologist working to advance the development of thinking skills. He is founder and president of Global Cognition, and director of Thinker Academy .
March 15, 2017 at 7:31 pm
Hi, I am a mom of a 13 yrs old, my son is a great kid, at everything he does. Somehow, regadless of his procrastination he always comes out of it either withan A or winning his science proyect. He is really good at writing (he does not get it from me,☹️) he reads 10-12 grade books, plays the guitar and violin, He loves music… He was just accepted at advance orchestra and he swims 3 hrs a everyday. But, I dont know if it is me or what, but it makes me lose it and I get so angry at him when I find out he procrastinate his work or projects. I feel he is ignoring his own capacities not just to have an “A” or get second or third place on his science projects, it angries me he could have done it better, not just to pass the test or finish the project, but to really leaves us all with something he can really blow our minds…. am I been to harsh on him? how can I help him to see that? or should I be the one who changes?
May 13, 2017 at 4:48 am
Read what you have written …the answer is within. Ask yourself is it procrastination or is he time starved ? To be good at one thing requires time, to be good at a multitude of things takes even more time.
April 4, 2020 at 3:41 am
Hi my son has just turned 13, he has started his homeschooling this year and it’s his first experience in homeschooling. He procrastinates all his chores a lot, be it be assignments or daily chores. At the end he gets very frustrated because of his unfinished tasks. Please can I request you to help me so I could help my child overcome his problem.
April 11, 2020 at 3:57 pm
This is all about my brother! His attitude to homework is hard to describe. And we have a constant struggle over it. And also misunderstandings and resentments. As a person who loves to learn, I can’t figure out how he can avoid homework all the time. I mean, I’m not a study fan, but I like the process of learning. I mean, he’s not interested in anything but computer games. I’ll try to find an approach to it using your advice. Because he needs to learn to be independent and of course to develop his cognitive skills.
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