How To Stop Procrastinating: A Complete Guide To Stop Procrastination For Students And Adults

Putting off work until the last due date or completing it after the deadline because of distraction are signs of procrastination. One does want to recover from this habit but doesn’t know how to stop procrastinating. Read the article to know how you can stop.

There are so many things to distract us. Games, videos, movies, series, and anything that can take off the mind from the things due can be tempting. Many students and adults struggle with keeping up with deadlines because they feel distracted.

Procrastination is almost like a disease. If someone keeps doing it, they fall into this black hole and find it hard to get themselves out. Many people strive to be proactive, but not everyone is able to do things on time due to many reasons.

Student life can be a stressful phase for many individuals. They go through hormonal changes, require to plan their future, have family problems, have mental health issues, or do simple things to distract them. The same goes for adults.

This makes one wonder how to stop procrastinating? To which the answers are complicated and many. You search on Google how to stop procrastination, and there will be thousands of articles. It becomes hard to pick out which one is authentic and practical.

Here are following contents are carefully researched and practical ways how to stop procrastinating:

What is procrastination?

Procrastination or to procrastinate derives from the Latin prefix ‘pro-’ meaning ‘forward’ and ‘crastinus’ meaning ‘to forward.’ The word comes together to mean to work slowly or distract yourself from due work deliberately. Procrastination can be caused by laziness or the inability to focus on things for a long time.

Scientists define procrastination as “irrational delay” of requirements caused by failure to self-regulate, leading to negative or dire consequences. There are hundreds and thousands of research papers for procrastination by psychologists and scientists to understand this phenomenon.

According to many researchers, procrastination is highest in terms of academic performance. The reports show that around 70% of the students identify themselves as procrastinators; this means the majority are unable to keep up with tasks and complete them on time.

In a world with so many distractions, how to stop procrastinating? The researchers have found the answers to this question, and you can keep reading to know about it.

What causes procrastination?

Procrastination is a very complex term, and according to scientists, the act of procrastinating is as old as the times of Cicero. Some experts believe it is a simple sign of laziness, while others consider it a serious cognitive mechanism that can deeply affect a person’s mental stability.

Among these divided opinions, there is a common ground that says the lack of motivation is the cause of procrastination. When people have no sense of reward, they don’t feel the need to complete their tasks on time. For example, if a student doesn’t like studying math, then their motivation to keep up with deadlines is low, so they procrastinate.

Procrastination comes from the inability to self-control. You might think, ‘I will complete this task today.’ Suddenly, you come across a game you really like and can’t control yourself from playing, so you will leave that task and spend all day playing games. When one fails to control themselves from being distracted, they will delay their requirements.

Self-control can be intended or non-intended because of mental health. For instance, people with ADHD struggle to focus or lack self-control, so they procrastinate on their tasks.

How to stop procrastinating psychology

Psychology is deeply interested in analyzing the phenomenon of procrastination. Psychologists have come up with many solutions that people can adopt to stop procrastinating. According to psychology, procrastinating can be caused by many drivers, most commonly is lack of self-confidence or suffering from anxiety and stress.

According to a theory, there are times when a stressful situation stimulates the amygdala, where emotions and the ‘fight or flight response are located. Amygdala has a role in procrastination. A person who procrastinates a lot has a gray matter in the area because of repetitive negative consequences and emotions caused by procrastination. This is one of the explanations for chronic procrastination.

According to Dr. Sirois, procrastination is like a behavioral cycle. It starts with a sense of relief when one puts off their work; the comfort looks rewarding. As behaviorism is positively repetitive, if it feels rewarding, the person keeps putting it off, and finally, it becomes a chronic behavior.

Many people choose to go for therapy to regain their attention span or find out the cause behind their inability to focus. Some chose to read self-help books to know how to stop procrastinating.

There are so many solutions, but some work and some don’t work. Psychology calls it subjective, which means you should find your own way to overcome this habit by trying out new ways.

Why do students procrastinate?

Just like you, many people question, why do students procrastinate? There are so many research papers written that explain through surveys and data analysis by comparing different variables. According to a study done by Katrin B. Klingsieck, the results show that procrastination is subjective to students.

Students procrastinate because of the mental stress and societal expectations they have to fulfill to become ideal individuals in society. But since every person is born different, they struggle to maintain that expectation. For most, it is simple, they eat, sleep, and watch TV to distract themselves and put off the tasks until the last minute. Many even procrastinate because of their poor academic performance, which causes them stress and anxiety.

There are dozens of variables that it becomes hard to point to one single reason for procrastination. Many students want to know how to stop procrastinating to become successful in life; some are successful in recovering from this habit, while others recover as they age.

10 Ways to stop procrastinating for students

Students need to know how to stop procrastinating because they have a whole future to look forward to, and being held back due to poor academic performance or laziness can be stressful. It is the duty of students to look after themselves by looking out for ways to stop procrastinating.

Here are ten ways how to stop procrastinating for students that are considered to be highly practical:

1. Set a goal

Goals are strong drivers for increasing motivation levels. Every successful person you see on television is a goal-driven individual who puts out every effort to achieve it. When one is motivated to achieve something, they do not let other things distract them.

You can set a big future goal but always start with small ones. Small goals must be realistic enough and motivational enough to increase your productivity level. Even if you are an average student, your ability to achieve goals can make you successful in life.

So, set a goal and turn your attention towards it. Although it will be hard to focus at first, you will eventually learn to pursue it.

2. Organize yourself

Organizing is one step closer to getting your job done. When you work in a messy environment or in an unorganized way, it can distract you and make you feel lazy.

Start by organizing your work desk and sorting out papers in an arranged form. Then, organize your schedule. Set a fixed time for extracurricular, hobbies, hanging out with friends, and homework. By writing a schedule on a weekly basis, you can save yourself the time and effort to plan things out at the last minute.

If you have a due assignment, organize your work by listing down pointers and then writing it down. This makes work easier and you finish on time.

3. Daily life proactivity

Practicing proactiveness in daily life can be an effective way for students to stop procrastinating. You start by trying to wake up an hour or half an hour early, write a to-do list and follow it daily, ride the bus to school at a certain fixed time, or eat a meal at a fixed time.

When you fix your daily schedule, you can easily apply it to your academic routine. Procrastinators need time to get used to proactiveness, so start with small things and keep improving day after day.

4. Identify the cause

Self-diagnosis of procrastination is an effective way to stop doing it. Through self-reflection, one can easily identify the cause of procrastinating. An alternative way is to list down or write a diary about things that are bothering you. By reading it out, you can see why you keep yourself distracted and how to stop procrastinating.

By identifying the cause, you can eradicate it and improve your academic performance. Although it is hard, it is worth a try.

5. Socializing

Socializing, not the social media scrolling but physical in-person interaction, can be effective for many students. Sometimes it is hard to find the cause of procrastination, so your friends can help you figure it out.

As Aristotle says, “Man is a social animal.” Socializing is a self-reflective and community motivational process. When you talk about your worries or discuss different topics with friends, it makes you self-aware and helps you absorb more information that can be useful. Your friend can identify the problem and share their views with you to stop procrastinating.

6. Good company

Surrounding yourself with good people is really important. They not only raise your self-esteem, but you also tend to procrastinate less. In teen culture, procrastination is common, and most students follow in their friends’ footsteps. It is essential to have a good company with proactive and optimistic people.

The key to dealing with procrastination is finding ways to motivate yourself; having good company is one of them.

7. Get rid of little distractions

The world is filled with distractions. There is an example of a writer who couldn’t concentrate, so he built a metal headpiece to cover his head to keep him focused on writing. Little distractions can be tempting and lead to bigger distractions, and eventually, you abandon your due work.

Little distractions are mostly from our smartphones. A little notification will bother us to check, even if it is a Like on your post. So, when you start working, keep your phone away from you and on silent mode. Nothing can be more important than completing your tasks first.

8. Take breaks

Pushing yourself too hard can exhaust the brain. It is important to take breaks in between your work, but the break should be a fixed time so that you don’t get carried away by anything else.

Take a break by going out on a walk or listening to some songs, anything that can activate your brain and make you feel relaxed for a short time. This can raise your motivation to work harder when you get back. A break should not be more than an hour.

People who don’t take breaks and get things done at one time tend to not perform well. By taking moderate breaks, you can ace your work easily.

So, as mentioned above, stick to the schedule and include breaks in it.

9. Don’t multitask

Multitasking in the modern era has become more and more common. Just like machines, humans believe that they can get many things done at one time, which is wrong. The brain needs to focus on one thing to complete it on time.

Many students believe that by multitasking, they can get things done faster, but it negatively affects and leads to procrastination. The brain gets tired, and you quickly lose motivation to fulfill your task. So, give your whole time to one task at a time to keep yourself from procrastinating.

10. Reward yourself

Rewarding yourself to complete a task can be encouraging. Procrastination is all about negative consequences that lead to bad mental health. The concept of reward in psychology is positive reinforcement, which means it can lead to positivity and boost productivity in an individual.

You can reward yourself by eating a piece of chocolate or hanging out with your friends. Anything that makes you happy and gets your mind off worries is a reward that can stimulate your brain and motivate you to perform well.

Is procrastination a mental illness?

Many people believe that procrastination, in its extreme form, is a mental illness. According to experts, it works both ways; procrastination can be a result of various mental illnesses and vice versa. People who have ADHD find it hard to focus and eventually procrastinate, while individuals who procrastinate a lot develop anxiety due to consistent negative consequences that affect their mental health.

Some people overeat or stress eat if they find work too hard and push it back further. Experts recommend getting professional help if procrastination is a trigger for a mental condition or if a certain disorder gets in the way of completing your tasks.

How to stop procrastinating ADHD

ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common condition among adults and children. Some have severe ADHD, while some go past the diagnosis and develop it later in adulthood.

Procrastination is often misunderstood with ADHD. Like procrastination, ADHD also prevents people from focusing or completing their tasks on time. Many adults fail to realize their condition and blame it on procrastination. Doctors recommend prescription drugs, training, developing skills, or counseling to cater to ADHD.

If you think you have ADHD, you should visit a doctor or psychiatrist who can help you with treatment. Self-care should always be your priority. There is nothing to be ashamed of. As long as you are willing to get treatment and improve yourself, you can easily make peace with yourself and accommodate tasks accordingly.

Ways to deal with procrastination for adults

Procrastination is not something only students struggle with; adults also find it hard to concentrate and meet their deadlines.

Office jobs can be quite exhausting because they require constant productivity and participation for projects; individuals can easily feel demotivated, especially if forced to work. They struggle to find solutions to how to stop procrastinating like students.

Here are 5 ways to stop procrastinating for adults:

Divide big tasks into small

Office tasks or other due tasks can look overwhelming with the amount of content. Experts recommend people break down tasks into small tasks. You can start by completing the hard tasks and then move to easy tasks. By doing so, your brain works better, and you don’t lose motivation to work.

Big projects can look quite burdening, but if you use this technique, you can avoid procrastinating and finish your requirements.


Nudges are a technique many people use to eliminate their procrastination habits. Putting small sticky notes or writing down personal to-do lists can be a nudge to work better and complete tasks.

Small things that can increase productivity are nudges. For example, if you tend to get distracted while using social media, put an alarm on your phone that can nudge you to get back to work.

Switch between tasks

This technique works wonders as it is a practical way how to stop procrastinating. Many people recommend switching between tasks because it can be a good exercise for the brain. Sometimes, it becomes for an individual to focus on the same requirement all the time, so they can choose another due work to complete and then return to the previous task.

For example, if your current work is too hard to comprehend or you cannot come up with ideas to solve it, try doing another task later to refresh your brain.

Structured procrastination

Chronic procrastinators have serious struggles in concentrating or getting things done on time. Structure procrastination is positive procrastination that reinforces individuals to complete their priority tasks. Usually, people avoid doing work because they find it hard. This technique offers an alternative, where instead of doing the priority task, you do some other work.

For instance, if your priority is an assignment, you can choose to clean your room first. Structured procrastination is an act of something instead of doing nothing at all. It slowly eliminates the habit of procrastinating, so many people recommend it.

Accept yourself

Lastly, the best way to stop procrastinating is to accept yourself. Accept that you procrastinate and find it hard to concentrate. Once you start welcoming your flaws and weaknesses, it is easier to deal with them. You need to know how to stop procrastinating to conquer yourself.

Procrastination is normal, and anyone can fall into the trap. The main priority is to break the shackles of procrastinating and win yourself over. Success is always with people who make an effort to accept and improve their shortfalls.

Today is the day!

Now that you have read the article, you know how to stop procrastinating. However, applying these strategies is up to you.

We all know you will open Netflix or a gaming site to distract yourself again. There is no use in reading this article if you are going to ignore it.

Success never comes to lazy people who do not try to fight back their bad habits and work on self-development. Many people believe that success comes through luck and destiny, which is wrong. Success comes from personal effort and the ability to face challenges in life. Fighting procrastination is the first step towards the pathway to success.

People who worry about the future and refuse to see their present tend to procrastinate. To build a prosperous future, you need to focus on your present. Experts recommend seeing yourself in three months and comparing yourself with it instead of ten years. If you can change in three months, ten years is full of golden days for you!

You read this article today, so you must start today! Pick any strategies described above, which suit you, and start working on your due work today!