6 Steps to Avoid Procrastination from a Bellarmine Professor

Editor’s note: This blog was contributed by Dr. Lizzie Fitzgerald, who is the Writing Center’s English Second Language (ESL)/English as a Foreign Language (EFL) consultant and an associate professor in the Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Do you have assignments that are not due until the end of the semester?  If you are like me, it is tempting to delay getting started. Procrastination is defined as “putting off activities that were planned or scheduled for activities of a lesser importance” according to www.effective-time-management-strategies.com. Statistics show that procrastination affects approximately 20% of the population and it is on the rise.  Believe me, I know it is tempting to chat on Facebook, visit friends, view reruns of the Big Bang Theory, or watch sports.  However, if you want to avoid chugging lattes and staying up all night the week after Thanksgiving, here are a few tips to get started on those pesky writing assignments:

  1. Break the assignment into “chunks” so you can better manage your time.  Thus, that 20 page paper can become less intimidating to write.
  2. Visit Bellarmine’s library reference desk or browse the LibGuide for your course and get started on your research.
  3. Meet with your professor about the assignment.  Clarify anything on the rubric for the assignment that you don’t understand.
  4. Schedule an appointment with the Writing Center to help you get started on the assignment or revise a rough draft. Remember, the Writing Center has walk in hours too, so you can drop in 5-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday or 2-8 p.m. on Sunday.
  5. Reward yourself for small steps taken. For example, if I write five pages or find five articles, then I will be able to watch my favorite sports team on TV.
  6. Examine your reasons for procrastinating: Am I a perfectionist? Am I afraid of failure or rejection? If you need help overcoming your procrastination, the Counseling Center is a great resource.
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