It’s 2 a.m. and there’s still a paper that needs to be done. Class starts at 8:30 in the morning, with the assignment due at the beginning of class. Where did all the time go? Suddenly, after being engrossed in a marathon of cat videos on YouTube, all of that precious productivity time somehow got crunched into a moment of last-minute panic.

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Procrastination seems to get to even the best of us. Although everything assigned does tend to get done on time, it takes that last-minute rush in order to get our priorities straight. At this moment of pressure, our mind seems to rev itself up at a million miles a minute. Of course, the odds of making errors increases. Priority then gets handed off to completion, rather than to making an effort to identify flaws. Overall, quality takes a hit, leaving little to no time for revision. We then run into feelings of regret — wishing that we weren’t left the rest of the day feeling sleep deprived or wishing that more time was put into a project for a better grade. All contributing to unnecessary stress over something that could have been handled better.

It’s human tendency to stray away from burdening tasks and get sidetracked with more pleasurable ones. Procrastination works as a coping mechanism to avoid mundane activities like studying or writing a research paper. This way of coping is a habit that can be overcome by new habits. It’s possible to build more productive habits throughout the day. All it takes is the development of new habits to help overcome old ones. Provided are some tips that may help build the foundation for better productivity:

Use a calendar:
The active role of planning out a project and physically being able to see something happen keeps the task in your mind. Daunting tasks tend to be pushed away until the due date comes closer. Seeing the project on a calendar can help set the stage for planning, stucturing, and better handling time-management.

Break tasks apart:
Something like a paper does not have to be finished all in one sitting. Look at the due date and set goals to write pieces of it throughout the week. This allows more time for revision since a fresh approach can be found every time you add more to the finished product.

Change your mindset:
A lot of time is spent negatively approaching a task, making it even more intimidating to approach. One major reason procrastination happens is because of the intimidation that something brings. Giving yourself positive reinforcement when attacking a task may help make delaying something less likely.

Be realistic:
Setting goals that are are too difficult to reach can give an overall outlook that seems unattainable. Creating smaller, more realistic goals makes the finished product more easily attainable.

Reward yourself:
Giving yourself small rewards after completing each task allows for a more positive outlook on a project. Contstant positive thinking during the work process enables a more approach able environment. This makes getting started much less intimidating in the long run.

Changing productivity habits does not come easily. Just as it takes some effort to get back into a gym routine, developing traits to break old procrastination routines takes the overcoming smaller issues to conquer the overall problem. With progressive change comes an overall lifestyle change for the better.

Whether it’s for pushing off a paper, a major project or work towards a better lifestyle, developing a better frame of mind is essential to overcoming procrastination. It all plays a role in contributing to better perfomance in both academic and professional careers

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