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Essential Study Skills

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is the decision to put off a task that is best started right now. When you put tasks off until later, you can end up rushing to finish assignments at the last minute, or running out of time completely. This module will explain strategies to help fight the desire to procrastinate.


  • Just get started.Motivation builds the closer you get to completing a task. Mustering enough motivation to get things started can be the biggest challenge. Once you have started a task, you will find the task easier to work on.
  • Change the task to make it more enjoyable.Take a boring task and make a game of it. Some examples:
    • Use flashcards to make studying more interesting.
    • Challenge yourself to get 80% of practice questions correct.
    • Reward yourself after every chapter of assigned reading you finish.
  • Learn to spot the tricks.Your brain uses tricks to get you to procrastinate, like downplaying the importance of a task or telling yourself that the professor didn’t provide clear instructions. Learn to recognize these tricks so that you aren’t fooled.
  • Give yourself a time limit.Put a firm time limit on how long you will give yourself to work on a task. Dragging unpleasant tasks out only promotes procrastination. A time limit encourages you to finish the task faster.
  • Disconnect from your tech.Social media and video games are a breeding ground for procrastination. Every video on YouTube is likely to appear to be a more interesting way to spend your time than the assignment you’re trying to finish. Limit yourself to using only the technology you need to complete your task.

Managing Time Robbers Learning Activity

Time robbers are things that trigger procrastination. Everyone has a unique set of time robbers. Watch the video below to learn how to use the Managing Time Robbers tool to help you avoid getting sucked into the procrastination trap. You can also download the Managing Time Robbers video transcript.