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Manage Your Procrastination

Most students struggle with procrastination in some way during their time in college. The key to overcoming procrastination in your life is to take active steps to identify the nature of your struggle. Your personality will cause you to procrastinate in different ways than someone else might struggle.

Below are some categories of procrastination styles that most people fit into. Try to find a category or two that resemble your usual procrastination habits and start applying the suggestions for your thought life, your actions and your speech.


Overview Thinking Acting Speaking
Unrealistic in use of time and energy
Creative Visualization
Make a to-do list
Avoid Extreme Language
Everything is a difficulty
Practical vs. Ideal
Assign a timeline
Turn "Shoulds" into "Coulds"
You fear failing
Give more time to complete a task
Ask for help
Turn "Musts" into "Choose to"
Paralyzed at the possibility of making a mistake
Give yourself the permission to fail sometimes
Make one deliberate mistake each day
Turn "I have to" into "I want to"



Overview Thinking Acting Speaking
Mental fantasies
Creative Visualization
Make a to-do list
Turn vague passive language into concrete active language
Resist paying attention to facts and details
Dreams into goals
Make a plan and include a timeline
Turn "Wishes" and "try to" into "wills"
Life should be good, fun and easy
Guard against thinking you are more special than others
Use a big, easily seen calendar
Turn "Someday" and "soon" into concrete times
You see yourself as special
Use the "5 W's and 1 H"
Each week assign yourself one special "to-do" task
Guard against make-believe talk



Overview Thinking Acting Speaking
Highly resistant to change
Creative Visualization
Break down larger tasks
Avoid qualifiers
Fear of making mistakes
Remember that putting off decisions is like making a decision to do nothing
Read motivational books
Turn "I can't do" into "I can't do...but I can do..."
Fail to commit
Acknowledge that something makes you nervous
Spend time with positive friends
Turn "What if" into the answer and a plan
Seek lots of help from others
Guard against "catastrophizing" things
Attempt something that you have been putting off
To "I'm waiting" add "meanwhile, I am doing"



Overview Thinking Acting Speaking
Must be excited to act
Creative Visualization
Write action plans
Avoid extreme language
Dislike "dullness"
Find multiple reasons to do an assignment
Reward yourself for finding motivation
Avoid dwelling on the negative
Like to be the focus of attention
Avoid manufacturing crises
Keep track (in writing) of the crises in your life
Use "thinking" words instead of "feeling" words
Live on the edge
Guard against extremist thoughts
Get involved in adrenaline flowing activities
Do not characterize yourself as "incompetent, helpless, or victimized"



Overview Thinking Acting Speaking
Express your hostility indirectly
Creative Visualization
Do what you say you are
Keep your word
View life in terms of what others do
View college as something that you choose to do
ACT constructively
Express yourself constructively
Resent authority figures
Start by reasoning intelligently and practically
Work WITH a team
Admit your mistakes
Resist constructive self-criticism
Choose your battles
Get involved in activities that you have control over
How you say something is as important as what you say



Overview Thinking Acting Speaking
Have difficulty saying no
Creative Visualization
Practice saying NO to extra responsibilities
Take on more than you can finish
View college as something that you choose to do
Review your plans for ways to get things done effectively
Speak in terms of choices rather than demands
Lack self-discipline
Make decisions by reasoning intelligently and practically
Incorporate social and personal activities
Avoid describing yourself as "powerless" or "overwhelmed"
Have trouble relaxing
Choose your battles
Ask for help when appropriate
Speak less defensively about times that you don't work hard