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How can I stop procrastinating and start working on projects earlier than the night before ?

30 Answers
Last Updated: 07/13/2020 at 3:20pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Lisa Meighan, BSc Psychology (Honours)


Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.

Top Rated Answers
March 6th, 2018 4:57pm
Know that this project is only for you. We externalise things, which creates added pressure and makes approaching the work a "scary" prospect. We think our parents will be disappointed if we do badly, or our professors, or our friends. However, that pressure comes from their desire to see YOU do well. The project is designed to better you as a person, not any of these other people. Approach it knowing that you are improving as a person in doing so, and following a path that you have chosen for yourself. Your long-term prospect for a high quality life improves with this, having improved confidence knowing that you're doing well. Starting the night before gives you the best opportunity to really give this your best shot, for YOU! The pressure is taken off and you're given the freedom to succeed.
April 23rd, 2015 12:37pm
In order to stop procrastinating, you should follow three steps: 1) Eliminate any distractions that make you procrastinate and hinder you from completing a project. For example, if you procrastinate by surfing on the intenet, you can ask your roomate/family to change the internet password until you're done. 2) You should split the projects on easy-to-complete parts, so that you don't have as much hard stuff in your plate. You can also put breaks between working on those parts. 3) You should do the easiest or most fun parts first and gradually move to more difficult ones, so that you are better prepared for the hard ones and don't freak out when you have to face them.
April 29th, 2015 4:45am
I find that I often procrastinate if the project feels huge, or I feel as if I'll do a bad job on it. Either way, try to remember that the project won't make or break you. Don't give it too much weight! Break it up piece by piece. You also have to kind of psych yourself up. Even if it's something silly like giving yourself compliments, "omg I'm a boss I'm working so hard on this" or wearing a study headband or something lol. This makes it more fun- like you're actually accomplishing stuff!
February 24th, 2015 8:51pm
You can always think of the long run. Consider your future goals and aspirations and how the grades will get you there. The earlier you start, the more time you get which means you wont rush the project, which ensures that you complete the work to your full potential.
February 26th, 2015 6:15pm
I find that when I am procrastinating on a project, to break the project down into little parts, and write a list of what needs to be done. Then, you don't feel like you are working on the whole (sometimes daunting) project, but rather just little parts of it. And then just try to check one thing of the list each night for a couple nights ahead of when the project is due.
March 12th, 2015 6:27pm
It's difficult to focus sometimes, especially if it's something we don't really want to do. Start by making a list of the things you need to do for the project. Each time you tick one off, give yourself a short break, such as 30 minutes browsing social media, watching an episode of your current favourite TV show, or go out a grab a meal out of the house. Then get back to business and continue with the next task.
April 2nd, 2015 8:57pm
List of the to-do list for the day and mark you priorities, this way we can always avoid missing priority work
May 10th, 2015 8:32pm
The best way to go about this is to break the project up into multiple small tasks and commit to fulfill these tasks by a soecific timeline.
May 22nd, 2015 2:01pm
Thinking of your projects or any work you are about to do as something that is important. Don't just let this hang in the back of your head. Remind yourself that everyday, that you need to focus on what's important. Finishing work is more important and it may take awhile for you to put this in front of all your other planned schedules, but it's better to finish a much needed work than to flip it on the last day.
June 10th, 2015 5:11am
A strategy I have found to avoid procrastination is to make a timetable. For example, if you had two weeks to read a book, you may think, "that is plenty of time!" and find yourself up late on spark notes the night before it is due. However, if you make a timetable, it will keep you more organized. For example, mark on your calendar that you should be done with 1/4 of the book by certain day, then 2/4, then 3/4, then completed by the due date. Making sure you're on schedule helps you from underestimating the amount of work you have to do, and keeps you motivated, while not being stressed too much at once.
June 17th, 2015 7:22pm
You can start by starting the project when it's been assigned, and split the load up into little bits. Scheduling is key. It's best to take your time with projects and have time to think about what goes into them than to cram it into the last night before the project is due.
June 29th, 2015 9:20am
First Things first, everyone is different. What works for me might now work for you. For me I work A LOT better after i have cleaned. So, I will make sure my room/office are clean before any work. So make sure you do that before the night of the project and it might just work for you too!!
July 14th, 2015 6:45pm
Sometimes procrastinating can be a sign that we're working on something we aren't interested in. However, sometimes it's unavoidable. Some things to think about when you have a project to finish and don't want to procrastinate: 1) Eliminate all distractions. 2) Set a schedule. 3) Figure out what time of the day you are most productive. 4) Become self aware. Figure out how you are feeling at the moment. Why don't you want to work on your task? If there is a voice in your head telling you to check your Facebook page, tell yourself to do it some other time and resist the urge.
September 15th, 2015 11:30am
I have the same problem almost every time I get assignments. In my history class , we get multistepped assignments with well over 50 vocab terms. I always wait until the day before to begin. I find it helpful to break down the work and set small goals. When writing an essay, say "I'll write this paragraph today, then I'll do _____." Your friends can also help be a motivator and push you to doing the task. Remember, procrastinating might sound good now, but you'll regret it the day before the project is due (:
September 17th, 2015 8:57pm
This is something we all struggle with at some point! It's easy to say planning ahead would fix this issue, but sometimes we even procrastinate doing this. One strategy I use is reminding myself that if I get an assignment or project done ahead of time, I will be able to do something else that I actually want to do instead later!
October 27th, 2015 6:37pm
Try too set reminders around the house. If you ignore the reminders, try to set consequences for procrastination. I like to prevent myself from eating lunch until I've finished 30% of the project. Then I stop myself from eating dinner until I've finished the whole thing (It depends on the project, but that was an example.)
December 8th, 2015 4:04pm
One thing I did that really helps me is keeping a list of things I got to do, in the order or importance and/or difficulty
February 8th, 2016 3:43pm
It's changing your mindset. You cannot solve your problem with the same thinking. If you change your mindset and find within the greatest WHY of doing a thing, you will feel more motivated.
April 4th, 2016 3:13pm
think of the circumstances and reflect on your mistakes. And remember, you are the master of yourself and you should start your steps into success now.
June 14th, 2016 5:13pm
Find ways to motivate yourself. All you need is the motivation to start and it will be easier to keep going.
June 15th, 2016 1:09am
Focusing on the reasons for your procrastination is the best way for dealing with it. Maybe noticing if you have avoidant behavior or want to block things out so you do a lot of fun things to keep your mind off things, but not things you need to be doing until the pressure is really on. People who feel anxious or unsettled in life can struggle with procrastination because they aren't content form moment to moment, they don't engage with the present moment in a healthy way, thus when they try to do certain things, it's a struggle. Initiation is difficult because it expends energy and steps into a place you don't want to go when the brain's main focus is avoiding pain and anxiety.
June 21st, 2016 4:43pm
Do the work every hour or so. You don have to do it all in one sitting and stress yourself out. Go outside for a little bit, set a timer or when you need to do your work again. And when the timer goes of you can go inside and do some work for an hour or two. :)
June 23rd, 2016 7:18pm
I have this problem to. What really works for me is to take away all of the distractions that might be taking you away from your work, and make a list of things you have to do. Making a list makes me like 10x more likely to do something. And if that still doesn't work, you can think of what's going to happen if you don't do what you need to do, and help your future self out.
July 26th, 2016 12:11pm
Break your task that you have to complete down into manageable chunks and set aside a time for each of them. Try to start early but don't tackle the whole task in one go if you feel like it is too much and it may lead to procrastination. Do a little bit at a time.
September 5th, 2016 7:24am
Writing down a specific schedule does wonders. Even if it is not strictly followed, having something written down substantiates it.
January 30th, 2017 4:41am
This is a very hard thing for me also. It has happened to me though that I just don't get it done and that is really not cool. So in order to do better, it helps me if I break the project down into little pieces and work like one or two pieces per day. I'd make a list of what needs to be done - breaking the larger pieces down into more manageable-sized ones. Sometimes my teacher or professor would sort of do this for me, making parts of the project due on different days ... but you can do that for yourself ... "Okay, all my research needs to be done by (date)" or "My reference page must be completed by (date)." Sometimes professors even give an exact time, 5:00pm or midnight - for example.
October 24th, 2017 2:45pm
When you receive an assignment, get out your calendar (if you don't have one, invest in one!) and pencil in which evenings you will do a little bit of work on it. You can try to estimate how much time it will take you to complete it, and disperse the work evenly over the time you have to do it.
March 8th, 2018 6:11am
Just focus. Remove all things that makes you procastinate. Like for an example, phones, internet, hanging out with friends, etc
July 10th, 2018 1:27pm
When you get the project work on it immediately or else you will keep saying I will do it tomorrow and safe it till the last minute
July 13th, 2020 3:20pm
In order to stop procrastinating and start working on projects earlier than the night before, figure out what is the cause of your procrastination. Is it due to fear of failure, perfectionism, anxiety? Finding out the cause will help you come up with a solution. Breaking up the projects into smaller tasks can help a project seem less overwhelming. Giving herself dates that you want to finish each smaller task by will help you stay on track. It will also hopefully help you not have the whole project to complete the night before. Asking questions or seeking help along the way for clarification can also help you make sure you fully understand the project.