Why Students Procrastinate and How to Stop It

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One would be wondering why do students procrastinate and how to stop it, this is just what you need. Nearly a quarter of the subjects reported that procrastination was a problem for them regarding the same tasks.

However, as many as 65% indicated that they would like to reduce their procrastination when writing papers, and approximately 62% indicated the same for studying for exams and 55% for reading weekly assignments.

A 1992 study showed that “52% of surveyed students indicated having a moderate to high need for help concerning procrastination.”

A study done in 2004 showed that 70% of university students categorized themselves as procrastinators while a 1984 study showed that 50% of the students would procrastinate consistently and considered it a major problem in their lives.

In a study performed on university students, procrastination was shown to be greater with tasks that were perceived as unpleasant or as impositions than with tasks for which the student believed they lacked the required skills for accomplishing the task.

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so. 

The word has originated from the Latin word procrastinate, which itself evolved from the prefix pro-, meaning “forward,” and crastinus, meaning “of tomorrow.” Oftentimes, it is a habitual human behavior. 

Procrastination is not good.

It is a common human experience involving delay in everyday chores or even putting off salient tasks such as attending an appointment, submitting a job report or academic assignment, or broaching a stressful issue with a partner.

Although typically perceived as a negative trait due to its hindering effect on one’s productivity often associated with depression, low self-esteem, guilt, and inadequacy, it can also be considered a wise response to certain demands that could present risky or negative outcomes or require waiting for new information to arrive. 

Why Do Students Procrastinate? 

Why Students Procrastinate and How to Stop It

Student procrastination is a widespread and serious problem, which affects students at all levels. It’s also a complicated problem, since different students procrastinate for different reasons, and they can therefore benefit from different solutions when it comes to overcoming their procrastination.

For most people procrastination, irrespective of what they say is NOT about being lazy. In fact, when we procrastinate we often work intensely for long stretches just before our deadlines.

Working long and hard is the opposite of laziness, so that can’t be the reason we do it. So, why do we procrastinate, and, more importantly, what can we do about it? 

What then is Precrastination?

Precrastination, often spelled as pre-crastination, is the inclination to tackle tasks swiftly, even at the expense of efficiency or long-term consequences.

This tendency arises when an individual rushes into completing a task without possessing all the necessary knowledge for effective planning and execution. As a result, they often expend more effort but achieve subpar results.

If you’re curious to delve deeper into the topic of Precrastination, its underlying causes, and effective strategies to counter it, I invite you to explore our comprehensive guide on the matter. You can find a wealth of insights and advice in the article Precrastination: The Complete Guide for Students.

This guide not only sheds light on the dynamics of precrastination but also provides actionable tips to help students manage their tasks more effectively and make informed decisions about their approach to work.

Motivation: Finding Productive Reasons for Engaging in Tasks

As suggested above, some say they procrastinate because they are lazy. Others claim they “do better” when they procrastinate and “work best” under pressure.

I encourage you to be critical and reflective of these explanations. Virtually everyone who says this habitually procrastinates and has not completed an important academic task in which they made a plan, implemented it, had time to review, etc. before their deadline. 

For example, if you are concerned with not looking dumb you may not ask questions, delve into new areas, try new methods, or take the risks necessary to learn new things and reach new heights.

A good way to put positive motives in motion is to set and focus on your goals. Identify and write down your own personal reasons for enrolling in a course and monitor your progress toward your goals using a goal-setting chart.

You can make a change now

Why Students Procrastinate and How to Stop It

So, in reality, they can’t make a comparison about the circumstances they work best under. If you pretty much always procrastinate, and never really approach your tasks systematically, then you can’t accurately say that you know you “do better” under pressure. Still, other people say they like the “rush” of leaving things to the end and meeting a deadline. 

But they usually say this when they are NOT working under that deadline. They say this works before or after cramming when they have forgotten the negative consequences of procrastination such as feelings of anxiety and stress, fatigue, and disappointment from falling below their own standards and having to put their life on hold for chunks of time. 

You just have to stop NOW

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Not to mention, leaving things to the end dramatically increases the chances something will go wrong – like getting sick or a computer problem – and you not being able to pull off the desired grade. 

So, procrastination can be hard on us and actually increase our chances of failing, but we do it anyway. How come?

Why Students Procrastinate and How to Stop It

Procrastination in Students (Remedy). 

Procrastination is one of the main barriers blocking you from getting up, making the right decisions, and living the dream life you’ve thought of.

Recent studies have shown that people regret more the things they haven’t done than the things they have done. In addition, feelings of regret and guilt resulting from missed opportunities tend to stay with people much longer.

Sometimes all our opportunities seem to be at our fingertips, but we can’t seem to reach them. When you procrastinate, you waste time that you could be investing in something meaningful. 

If you can overcome this fierce enemy, you will be able to accomplish more and in doing so better utilize the potential that life has to offer. Why Students Procrastinate and How to Stop It.

We now know that the world today is conducive to procrastinating and learning how to overcome it is, therefore, one of the most important skills you can learn. 

The Tools You Need To Stop Procrastinating?  

1.  Personal vision

The personal vision is one of the core tools, it helps you understand your skills and priorities, and by creating one, you will never feel lost in what it is that you want to do with your life. 

The personal vision as well helps you to focus your effort on the right activities and set priorities to avoid continually switching between actions. Understand what motivates you, and you will be able to maintain your discipline and make the most out of each day.

2. To-Do today

Long to-do lists tend to pile on, and this leads to procrastination. Seeing a long list of tasks can frustrate us so much that we have tendencies to give up on them completely. 

The To-Do Today method is there to help you get the most important and urgent tasks done every day, while also helping you prioritize the work on your schedule and limit new tasks. With its help, you will be able to manage much more in a day, with less stress and tiredness.

Why Students Procrastinate and How to Stop It

1. Improve your planning:

Why Students Procrastinate and How to Stop It

Set concrete goals for yourself. For example, instead of a vague goal, such as “study for my upcoming exam”, set a concrete goal, such as “on the week of my upcoming exam, go to the library every day after I finish my last class for the day, and spend at least 2 hours studying.”

2. Start With A Tiny Step. 

For example, if you need to write an essay, help yourself get started by committing to only writing a single sentence at first. This can help you push yourself to get started on tasks, and often, once you do so, you’ll find it easy to keep going.

Start with the best or worst part first. Some students 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. 

3. Your Environment Matters.

Change your environment to make it easier for yourself to get started. For example, if you know that you’ll need to study for an exam tomorrow morning, organize all the relevant study material on your desk or in your bag before you go to bed. Why Students Procrastinate and How to Stop It

4. Make studying feel more rewarding. 

For example, you can gamify your studying, by marking down streaks of days on which you’ve managed to achieve your study goals, and potentially also giving yourself some reward once you reach a sufficiently long streak.


Take this hoke and act on it. Destroy your comfort zone, and I mean everything

1. Identify all the activities that you do while procrastinating.

Identify everything: Apps, TV shows, Video games, Hobbies, Conversation subjects, Objects, and  Devices. 

2. Destroy what can be destroyed

You know that apps/devices etc are a distraction, just get rid of them. Give it to someone, and stop hanging around with anything that might be a distraction. Don’t allow yourself even the possibility to procrastinate.

3. Set your goal

This is the most important step, without it; you’ll certainly do whatever is in your power to procrastinate again. 

Start small, like reading a book instead of using social networks; listening to music or a podcast instead of watching Netflix, writing a diary, talking with wise people, going to the gym, or practicing any sport, just fill your day with productive stuff. Why Students Procrastinate and How to Stop It

For big goals you’ll realize that for a procrastinator every challenge feels the same, it doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. Because you can do it and you know it, you are just not doing it, and once you realize that; you can just keep going… eventually you start to feel solid achievements and that’s when the real change begins.

4. Failure sometimes I know

You are already doing this one by asking for help here. Just don’t forget this determination, you need a change and you know it.

5. Enjoy the little and the big success

Out loud, every time you evade procrastination say to yourself “well done!”, for a lot of people seeing someone avoiding procrastination seems usual, so there’s not much of a feeling that you are making a change. As a start, that’s something you’ll have to do by yourself.

Precious Ifeoma is an aspiring lawyer interested in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and International Human Rights. She’s an advocate of SDG 1, 2 and 4. She enjoys reading about psychology, watching movies, and listening to music.

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