Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

I have trouble with my school work due to procrastinating. And my anxiety always gets in the way. How do I get things done?

291 Answers
Last Updated: 01/13/2022 at 6:43pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Paola Giordani, Psychoanalyst

Licensed Psychoanalyst

I have helped and am helping people cope with loss, divorce, anguish and parenting. Depression is also a major issue that comes up.

Top Rated Answers
July 8th, 2016 3:14am
I've had success using timers in the past. When working through anxiety around tests or assignments, I'd set a timer for 5 minutes and try to keep myself in a distraction-free area to get the work done. Then after 5 minutes I got to choose whether I set the timer for another 5 minutes or took a 5 minute break. This trick helped me get through University!
June 23rd, 2018 10:25pm
You're not alone! I continue to a struggle with this every day, and here are three tips: 1) Break your work into tiny chunks or tasks so they are more manageable. That way you also feel good checking them off as you complete them, and you build momentum. 2) Remind yourself that you don't have to want to do something in order to start doing it. Getting out of bed each morning is my biggest accomplishment. Like exercising or forcing yourself to be social, once you start its not as bad as you were dreading. This is where having a tiny task to start with helps. 3) Allot time in your schedule to procrastinate. Whether it's one game of Candy Crush after a mini-task, or 15 minutes before you drive into a bigger task, accept that procrastination is part of your life. Better yet, instead of mindless screentime, use your procrastination time for self care, whether it's giving yourself a head massage, saying mantras, or writing in a gratitude journal.
July 15th, 2016 6:36pm
Start small, and realistic. Set out your goal for yourself that is reasonable, the key point to school work is consistency rather than bursts of motivation and procrastination in an alternating cycle. After setting out your goals, maybe you'd like to discuss it with someone, maybe a teacher or a friend who can guide you towards making better goals or checking if your current ones are reasonable. After that you can start planning, try not to squeeze so much stuff into a day and take breaks when you feel like you need it, in case you risk burning out.
March 16th, 2017 10:44pm
1. Make starting easy To make tasks as manageable as possible, ask yourself: "What do I have to do first to complete this task?". The answer will be a new task. If it's still too hard to do, ask again: "What is the first thing I need to do to get this done?". Do this until the answer is something trivial like "I need to move my right leg off the bed" or "I need to open an empty text document". Whenever you get stuck, simplify your current task using this technique until you find something that you can do. 2. Treat your future self with respect A mindset that helps me is to think about my future self. If your future self was another person, would you burden them with all your undone tasks? Treat tomorrow's self just as well as you'd treat a friend. For example, don't leave your stuff lying around in their (your) bedroom. You want them to wake up in the morning and be happy about the new day instead of dragged down by the chaos that has to be cleaned up. 3. Be compassionate with yourself Also, don't condemn yourself for wasting your time. You are doing your best at any given moment and letting go of the past will increase your chances of getting out of the self-sabotage trap.
July 6th, 2016 10:44pm
Finding the reasons behind procrastination is the first step, maybe you feel like there isn't any support for failure in academics, maybe you feel disinterested on what you study, or perhaps you feel way more interested in something else and that gets all your attention. Find the why behind your studies, your own personal statement about studying. Hope it helps :D
August 7th, 2016 11:35pm
From personal experience, I have found that having a tidy, distraction free work environment helps a lot! If it's homework, I have found that putting 30 minutes aside to disconnect from devices and distractions really helps! If you are getting anxious while doing school work, perhaps it would be a good idea to take small breaks every now and then to do some breathing exercises so that you can return to your work with a clearer mind :)
July 8th, 2016 4:59pm
Give yourself some time which you can work, but also time where you can reward yourself afterwards. Set targets for yourself so you don't slack off and then reward yourself by watching your favourite show or playing your favourite game :)
July 9th, 2016 12:24am
I think it is important to talk about it, because there are actually more students than you would expect who feel - at least from time to time - the same way. Being a student myself, I've also been facing the exact same feelings that you've all just described: I felt paralyzed, I couldn't find some rest and I hated to feel that way. It still happens to me from time to time and I feel really anxious about school and about my future, but for me it was a huge relief when I first started to talk about it, because it made me realize that there are many other people who are experiencing the same thing.
July 9th, 2016 3:20pm
I'm dyslexic, school was always a challenge for me. Either I was bored to death or totally lost. So let me ask you a couple of questions. Do you have a calendar or diary where you write your assignments? Do you sit down to try to do your work all at one time or do you take breaks? Taking breaks to do a quick guided relaxation video would really help, I know it helps me when I'm working while having anxiety. Would you like the link to some of my favorite organization resources? Would you like to have the links to some of the videos I use?
July 24th, 2016 12:48am
I always create a checklist when doing work. This allows me to check off every assignment as i complete them and feel more confident in completing me work and that I'm really making an impact in my work load!
April 15th, 2017 4:59pm
I can definitely relate to this! What gets me motivated and going is remembering how my parents are thinking of me highly and how much they sacrificed for me just to get a better education which is why I don't have to take it for granted and show my appreciation to them by working hard.
May 31st, 2018 8:36am
Prefer making a schedule. It wont always work because procrastination but eventually it would lead to atleast half of the work being done and you will immediately feel the progress. Talking to your self regarding this and discussing it with you yourself rather than actually writing it down is more preferred as nobody knows your capacity to learn more than you yourself.
September 13th, 2020 6:44pm
I"m also procrastinating, due to my fear of failure. It's difficult for me to start something, unless I have a good motivation. Do not be anxious. Start it slowly and steady, do not think of what could happen, because if you don't do anything, you would fail anyways. I went through it, and believe me, I've lost a lot, even friends. And opportunities. Make a plan which is made of a number of steps. But when you'll start, look only at step 1, so you won't panic, ignore the other steps for the moment. When you're done with step 1, go to step 2 in the same manner. And so on, until you're done with everything. And then you'll realize you had nothing to fear of.
January 24th, 2021 3:12pm
Hey !! Just want to let you know that, procrastination howsoever difficult and bad it is, is so so normal . The best of us struggle with it, and I do understand, the anxiety with it just messes up everything too . Some ways to avoid procrastination would be to assess the reasons you feel you're procrastinating, maybe you dont like that task or it's difficult or uncomfortable to you, or it's not that important for you? With school work, however I presume ,there's not much option of not doing the work, you're bound to complete the work to get grades, so do you feel the good grades can be used as motivation to get the tasks done ? Maybe also, try and break the tasks into smaller chunks so you don't feel overburden, one task at a time, making a schedule of things to be done and then maybe keeping some kind of rewards for the same on completion of these scheduled tasks? , lastly what really is important is to get that one push to just go dive in that shock work, once you really do make you go straight up to the study desk and assign the tasks , you'll be able to cover it soon ! I believe in you, and so should you!! Just Go , Get Started !!! It's NOW time !! Go Youuu !! You've got this ❤
July 7th, 2016 10:54pm
Always find a way to make things fun. Asking about school work ahead of time may help with anxiety.
August 11th, 2016 7:51am
It can be very helpful to set little goals for yourself, and break big intimidating tasks into smaller pieces! This way you don't get behind, and you get to feel like you're making a lot of progress.
October 20th, 2016 2:57pm
You could assign a personal deadline for yourself and use a reward system that will motivate you to do the work you need to do. For example, once you've finished writing a 2 page paper for your English class by or before your personal deadline, you could put a check next to it and reward yourself by eating something you enjoy or listen to your favorite song and dance to it. The rewards don't necessarily have to be big!
July 10th, 2016 4:37am
since this is how i got through my school year, I had tried my work and I would panic about it not being like anyone else and such, but most of the time i got an A. All you need to do is try to focus, I would work during classes i had free time for kind of a slight chance that if i got distracted or bored i would have a teacher to maybe tell me to get back to work. If you don't have that, do something like that with a friend, if they aren't physically there, skype them or call them so you can get that slight motivation.
July 16th, 2016 3:07am
The best way for me to get things done is to sit down in an environment where I know that I'm going to be left alone and have no distractions, and really just get to work. If I have to turn off my phone, I do it. If I have to listen to music, I do it. Whatever it takes to get me focused and relaxed. In your situation it may help for you to listen to relaxing tracks like rainfall or just background noise. Don't give yourself the ability to turn on the tv or pick up your phone, just remove absolutely all distractions.
July 17th, 2016 10:01am
you are felling anxious about your work and increasing can to stop procrastination by following motto "start small,do it now,don't think just do".
July 27th, 2016 2:55am
I too struggle with anxiety, and it can be difficult to overcome that in a school or work setting. A strategy that I have always enjoyed is a planner, organizing events, due dates, and other things into one place. It is a nice way to make lists and set aside time for yourself too.
August 5th, 2016 5:36am
Set a time everyday that you need to do all of your schoolwork. Try meditating if you get anxiety for at least 5 minutes everyday.
August 19th, 2016 3:42pm
It's known that people who procastinate are masked behind hardworkers, all you need to do is once you get it done late just be confident about it, and try to be yourself and organize things earlier don't procastinate. It should be listed in your daily mantra.
September 9th, 2016 8:49pm
Babysteps. You have to work at things slowly. PIece by piece. Do a couple questions, or little bits of readng at a time. Don't do it all at once, because personally thats how I lose focus, but if I do it in pieces, I tend to get more done.
September 18th, 2016 3:07pm
There's great apps out there for both androids, Iphones and PC's to help eliminate procrastination by blocking the user from going on sites that they can procrastinate on or locking the user's phone for a certain time limit allowing them to get work done. There are also great musical mixes for purely studying, so any number of those can help you combat procrastination!
July 21st, 2017 11:59pm
I would set little goals up to the due date that way you aren't trying to finish it all in the last week. Like it this week I'll do this page of the paper and next week I will tell you the other page of the paper. The following week I will proofread the paper. The last week I will finalize the paper.
July 26th, 2017 2:00pm
From personal experience, I have noticed that what helps me overcome procrastination is creating a schedule and setting time limits in which I need to finish certain assignments. At the same time, it is important that you don't leave everything for the last minute and that you divide what you need to do and study a little bit every day. Another helpful solution would be to pick a treat for yourself for after you've achieved your daily studying goal. That could give you the necessary motivation to finish your school work on time. If you follow these tips, I believe that your anxiety concerning studying will be limited as well.
August 18th, 2017 8:25am
Dealing with procrastination is never easy! When you need to muster up the will to work, try setting incentives for yourself. A reward system, if you will. (i.e. if you read a chapter and summarize it successfully, you will take a 20 minute break and grab a quick snack). As for the anxiety, remember to remain calm. Don't look at tasks as a whole (big picture). Break up the tasks. Example: Instead of saying/thinking that you have to "study for that big test, write down when the test is, how many days you have and what is going to be tested. Then, divide the work up. Think in pages instead of chapters if you have to study a lot. In your list, write "Read and summarize pages 1-35" instead of "Finish reading chapter 1 and summarize".
August 27th, 2021 1:25pm
It is a well-known problem. I read online that a way to get yourself into what needs to be done is to apply 15 minutes on a timer and get started. You may well begin by organizing your work area and possibly turning off any background noise. After 15 minutes, reward yourself.... or continue until you are all done. If it helps, start an assignment, put it on hold and start another. A visible check list of what assignments have to be done (and how much time they would each take) also helps. Start with the easiest or the most difficult, depending on the time you need. Pat yourself on the back. You may be surprised that you got all done earlier than you thought. As far as school assignments are concerned, it is very much like video games in the sense that you also learn how to play those games and practice to get better. If you look at your homework as competitive, you will enjoy it a lot more.
July 10th, 2016 1:26pm
The best way I have found to deal with this is to make a timetable of what work is due and when. I make a list of what needs to be done for each assignment and give myself plenty of time to get my work done so that I don't stress myself out with approaching deadlines. If I plan well in advance, I can leave room for things that may crop up by surprise and still have time to get things done. I also find it helps to have a study buddy that can encourage us along the way whenever we feel that we get stuck.