Beating procrastination, one step at a time

Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020

Author: Maïa Natale, First-Year Marketing Student

cartoon woman sitting at desk avoiding working

Does overcoming procrastination seem impossible? Are you swamped with your studies, but just can’t seem to hammer down and get your work done? If you’ve ever put off a task because “you’ll do it later” or “you just don’t have time right now”, keep reading to discover ways to fight that dreaded procrastination!

According to Dr. Joseph Ferrari, professor of psychology at DePaul University, we don’t procrastinate because we’re lazy, but rather because we fall under one of the following types of procrastinators:

cartoon man running with 59 seconds left

The Thrill Seeker
Feel they produce their best work “under pressure”, seeking the thrill from constantly working against the deadline.

cartoon of person running away from notifications

The Avoider
Afraid of not succeeding, and they want to avoid being judged, whether it’s from failure or success.

cartoon of women in front of two closed doors

The Indecisive
Are often perfectionists, they tend to avoid risks and shift responsibilities from themselves.


Want to discover what type you are? Take the test: What kind of procrastinator are you?

Don’t feel discouraged if you find yourself procrastinating, as it is common among university students, especially when it comes to writing papers. Instead, use the following tips to overcome the barriers that you face, and find the motivation to get it done.

1. Use the power of a checklist

Write down all the tasks that you must get done today on an adjustable checklist, breaking them up into smaller tasks. I suggest handwriting your checklist so that you can physically check items off once you’ve conquered them. Be sure that your to-do’s are realistic and feasible.

If you would like to learn more about the incredible power of a checklist, and how they were used in journeying to the moon for the first time, watch this video.

2. There is never a perfect time

Studying or getting any other kind of schoolwork done isn’t always fun, but the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can check it off your to-do list. Constantly set and adjust deadlines, and stay motivated by the thought that you won’t have to worry about making time for the task once you’ve finished it.

I personally find that the sensation of having a heavyweight of a project or paper lifted off my shoulders is incredibly motivating! There’s no better feeling than being proud of yourself for finally getting the task done.

3. Go somewhere new

Finding new places on campus to study is key to change up routines and to inspire productivity. As uOttawa students, we are extremely lucky to have available spaces to work all around campus, as well as being close to multiple coffee shops.

Some of my personal favourite places to study are the Academic Writing Help Centre, Happy Goat Coffee Co., The Ministry of Coffee and the Second Cup on Laurier!

4. Find an accountability buddy

My sister and I have recently discovered the power of having someone else keep you accountable. We both found that we often weren’t getting all of our tasks done, which was frustrating. To overcome this, we decided to check in with each other in the morning and throughout the day to see what we had accomplished.

You’ll love the moment when your accountability buddy tells you that they’re proud of you for being productive. Make sure your conversations are full of encouragement since positivity is more powerful and motivating then negativity.

5. Reward yourself

Once you’ve gotten some of your work done, remember to allow yourself time to relax and enjoy an episode of your favourite Netflix show or to check in with a friend. The most satisfying thing about using a reward system is often not the reward, but the crossing out of an assignment on the task list. Make studying an enjoyable experience so that you want to repeat it!

Exam and writing assignments are hectic but you can find more motivation and support completing them in a group setting. Get help staying on track with your studying and writing by taking part in the Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP) on March 5 from 8 p.m. to 2 a. m. at CRX!

No sign up required; you’ll be able to study and write in a fun and helpful environment with complementary healthy snacks, available help from writing advisors, librarians, mentors, study break activities, and free pizza at midnight!

Join us for a night of conquering procrastination and mastering productivity!

Learn more about LNAP »

Back to top