A Productive Procrastinator

A Productive Procrastinator

Never do tomorrow what you can do today…

– Charles Dickens

I’ve heard this quote my whole life and if I’m being honest, it hasn’t stopped me from procrastinating. Who wants to write a paper when you can watch a movie instead? Even if the paper is on an interesting topic, I’d rather watch Hillary Duff in ‘A Cinderella Story’ for the hundredth time. But, procrastination doesn’t get you far in college or life for that matter. When a client asks for a project, you can’t just turn in the work after the deadline or wait until the last minute to complete the project and expect to provide high quality work. So, I’m going to provide a few of the tips that help me push past my procrastination and be productive. 

Change up your Setting 

Try studying somewhere new. Go to the campus union, find a coffee shop, or scout out a corner in a library – here on Michigan’s campus, there are 20 libraries, take your pick. It doesn’t matter where you study, just try not to do homework in your room (especially if you get distracted easily). Trust me. I’ve struggled with this during college and if I’m being honest, I’m most productive when I’m not snuggled up in my bed trying to read 20 pages about the physics behind a snare drum.  


It’s okay to take naps (I LOVE naps); just keep them short. I like to give myself a maximum of 30 minutes, because focusing when you’re tired is challenging. In fact, the more tired you become, the less productive you are. Allowing yourself even just 10 minutes of quiet can do wonders for you. If naps aren’t your thing or your intentions of a 30-minute nap always lead to a 3-hour nap, then take 10 minutes of quiet time away from your computer, textbooks, and anything else that could cause you stress. Instead think about your favorite memory as a kid, the last time you smiled, or a quote that you enjoy. 

Prepare to Focus  

Once you finally sit down to do work, make sure that you have everything you may need or want while studying. Whether you want snacks, water, or need notes to study make sure that everything is available to you while you work so that you don’t get distracted. Oh, and it’s important that you go to the restroom before you sit down to work! You don’t need excuses to stop studying because it will be hard to get back on track. That includes your phone. So, turn off the notifications on your electronic devices. Instagram is definitely my weakness. 

Sit Down and Work 

Finally, just sit down and work. When you sit down, make a to-do list of all the things you need to accomplish and tackle them one by one. Personally, I start with something easy to accomplish so that when I finish the task, I feel motivated to complete something more challenging. However, some of my friends prefer to work on the most challenging tasks first to get them out of the way. I don’t know what strategy works for you, but try some out until you find the strategy that allows you to be your most productive self. 

Now, getting over the hump of procrastination is not going to be easy. In fact, I am still an avid procrastinator – you can ask my mom. However, these tips will allow you to use the time that you spend working more effectively so that your work will get done in a timelier manner. Plus, the faster you finish your work, the faster you can watch your movie without having to worry about work. 

One comment

  1. I enjoyed your article. The way I deal with procrastination, I put myself on a timer. To get my home organized I went through every room and made a list of what needed to be done. I started with what can be seen. I gave myself 20 minutes on each project. I avoided taking something to another room and then start working there. No, I went back where I was working and completed my 20 minute cycle. That helps bunches. I enjoy a nap and found 10 – 15 minutes helps me greatly. I like your idea about going somewhere else to study or read. I use to go to the library and lay out my things to do for home, my business, my son, and me. List it by priority, important and productive. Now I can plan my calendar. Do I always stay on track. No, I watched six hours of TV once on a good series I never heard of. I was brain tired LoL. My goal at night is leave the kitchen clean. Living alone, you can put things off until tomorrow.

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