By Emily Gursky

Do you have a bad procrastination habit and find it hard to get organized? Lately with online classes, college students have felt more temptation to procrastinate than ever. Many students feel like this is a habit they just have to deal with, or they want to get rid of it but don’t know where to start. 

Megan Morrissey, Associate Director of Student Success, has worked with many Mount students as an academic coach to help them gain organization skills and work through bad habits like procrastination. Here are six tips from her on how to stop procrastinating and get your work done. 

  1. Just start something: It’s important to realize that motivation won’t just come to you. Morrissey stresses the importance of just getting started on something to gain some momentum. “Even if it’s just one assignment, like a discussion post,” she said. “You have to get the ball rolling.” Finishing just one assignment can help a lot to build confidence and motivate you to move on to the next thing. 
  2. Make a list of priorities: Set aside about 5-10 minutes before the week begins, and write down what you need to get done. Morrissey says that setting up “realistic goals” for yourself can go a long way as you work through the week, and she suggests students think about the free time they have each day and ask themselves, “what can I get done during that period?” It’s also important that you write these down in a spot you check every day, as this can help you hold yourself accountable and get a handle on your week’s work before it’s too late. 
  3. Eliminate distractions: Do the best you can to avoid things that can distract you from your work. One way to do this right off the bat is getting out of your dorm room and doing work in another location. Morrissey says that, “your dorm room should be the place where you can relax,” and it’s best to find another place to focus on work if you can. 
  4. Check all school-related platforms: Each day, make a point of checking sites like eClass, WebAssign and your school email — anywhere that class information is updated on a regular basis. “Make sure you are checking these places twice a day,” says Morrissey. This way, you won’t be blindsided by anything. 
  5. Choose one reliable place to keep all your reminders: Choose a place you look at often and keep all your to-do’s in there. This can be a planner, notebook, or even the calendar on your cell phone; whatever works best for you. Morrissey does recommend that students avoid sticky notes, though, because those can easily get lost in the mix of papers throughout the week. It’s better to have everything in one spot, rather than trying to keep track of several individual notes. 
  6. Set up a reward system: Find ways to treat yourself as you complete work. Knowing you have something to look forward to once you finish assignments can help motivate you to stay on task. For example, Morrissey says students could commit to finishing a chapter outline, then treat themselves to a coffee afterwards. And, if you create realistic goals, you’ll be able to reward yourself more often. 

Trying to stop procrastinating may feel daunting at first. But it’s important to remember that building good habits takes time, and it’s often a “trial and error” process to find out what works best for you.