Doyle Online Writing Lab
Helping Students with Procrastination
Almost every person has procrastinated at some point in his life. Your students, however, may be master procrastinators. According to mentalhealth.net, "Solomon and Rothblum (1984) found that 65% of college students want to learn to stop putting off writing term papers, 62% feel the need to study for exams more promptly, and 55% hope to read their assignments earlier." If a student's procrastination is either keeping him from succeeding academically or is causing him extreme anxiety, he will probably want to seek help.
Academic Support Services offers counseling and advising for students experiencing academic difficulty due to procrastination and other problems. You may also find the following strategies useful, however, in helping thesis students and advisees:
- Encourage the student to make daily to-do lists. Mentalhelp.net points out that "[f]or perhaps a third of all student procrastinators, a To-Be-Done List, a daily schedule (chapter 13), and a simple record-keeping and reward procedure (chapter 11) will do wonders." Academic Support Services can help your student with these strategies.
- Have your student take a task-oriented, not a time-oriented approach (for more information see Procrastination - Learning to Cope).
- Figure out what kind of procrastinator your student/advisee is. Is he an "anxiety-based procrastinator" or a "relaxed procrastinator"? Strategies for coping with procrastination will differ accordingly. See "How to stop procrastinating" (mentalhelp.net).
- More tips from the University of Buffalo.
- Also see strategies for helping students with writer's block.
If your student has this poster in his dorm room, what type of procrastinator is he?
- tense-afraid type procrastinator
- anxiety-based procrastinator
- relaxed, pleasure seeking procrastinator
Overcoming Procrastination (Counseling Services, State University of New York at Buffalo)
Procrastination (humorous; despair.com)
Procrastination - Learning to Cope (The Health Center)
Structured Procrastination (John Perry, Stanford)