Putting off important tasks until later is a common feature of university life especially as university work is often complex and difficult, and there are so many other distractions. Recognising why and how we procrastinate can help us get round the barriers to getting started. 

Scroll down for our recommended strategies and resources. 

Understanding and overcoming

Knowing yourself and your own tendencies can help you find strategies that work for you. See the guide below from the Counselling team with explanations for why we procrastinate and practical strategies. Brookes has also partnered with Togetherall to provide 24 hr access to online mental health support for students. Togetherall have an online course on procrastination if you’d like further resources. Register for Togetherall and go to the courses section. 

Emotional not time management

We assume procrastination is a problem with time management, but it is more about managing the emotions we feel about the tasks. A new diary is not going to overcome the dread of starting, but recognising your emotional response will help you challenge this reaction. This article explores why procrastination is emotional and what this means for overcoming it.

Just do it

Sometimes we need tricks to reassure us and encourage us to get going. Freewriting can overcome the feeling that it has to be perfect. The Pomodoro technique can overcome the feeling that we have to work non-stop all day.

Gain control of your time

Sometimes we procrastinate because we don’t have a clear idea of how much time we have or how long things may take. This can lead to overestimating or underestimating the time available, making it easier to just put things off. Having simple plans and looking ahead gives a more realistic picture, and it helps you to gain control of your time, as opposed to letting time control you. The planners below are useful for different purposes.

The daily planner is for short term planning. It helps you break down your tasks and tick them off to stay motivated.

The weekly planner is for regular planning. It enables you to form a routine and book time in your schedule for studying.

The semester planner is for longer term planning. It allows you to see your busy periods and plan ahead to meet your deadlines. 

Remove distractions

Make it impossible to do any displacement activities so you have to do your work. If you’re always on your phone, install a blocker like AppBlock to limit your browsing time until you’re done.