Rock Valley College
Rockford, Illinois

Overcoming Procrastination

Clarify your personal goals

Write down your personal goals and post nearby so you can see them frequently. Be sure the task you think you "should" do is one that is really important to you, that leads to your goal.

Manage your time effectively

  • Break up your goal into smaller parts. Write out and list the steps that are necessary to accomplish your goal.
  • Write a plan for yourself. Make a schedule.
  • Find time each day to work toward your goal.
  • Organize your environment, complete with the tools you'll need, so it is conducive to learning.
  • Start early. Build procrastination time into your schedule. Call it "creative leisure."
  • Start small and easily. Build gradually.

Change your attitude

  • Avoid immobilizing, self-defeating attitudes and belief. Replace them with self-enhancing beliefs and attitudes.
  • Remind yourself of the emotional and physical consequences of procrastination. Then look at the consequences of not procrastinating.
  • Concentrate on little bits and pieces of the project, not all or nothing.
  • For a day, pretend that your are a well organized non-procrastinator. Imagine how you would think and behave. Then behave and think that way... even if only for a few minutes at a time.
  • Value your mistakes; don't judge them. What is curious, useful about them?
  • Know your escapes and avoidances: self-indulgence? socializing? reading? doing it yourself? overdoing it? day dreaming? Call yourself on them.

Change your behavior

  • Set up a contract with someone to get something done. Make an appointment to study with a friend or create a study group make and appointment with a tutor in the Personalized Learning Center.
  • Make something you normally do and enjoy contingent upon doing the avoided task.
  • Set up reminders, signs, notes, lists to keep the tasks visible.
  • Use your impulsiveness. Do something when you think of it.
  • Do something daily. Agree to start a project and stay with if for 5 minutes. Consider another 5 minutes at the end of the first.
  • Establish priorities among tasks according to the degree of unpleasantness. Start with the most unpleasant task and work down until you get to the easier ones.
  • If you've go something hard to do, rehearse it in you imagination or with someone.