Overcoming Procrastination
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Overcoming Procrastination This powerpoint is designed for students who need advice on managing procrastination. The format of the Workshop is different to this powerpoint. Adam Sandelson and Chris Nancarrow LSE Student Counselling Service. Aims. Examine difficulties with procrastination

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Overcoming Procrastination

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Overcoming Procrastination

This powerpoint is designed for students who need advice on managing procrastination. The format of the Workshop is different to this powerpoint.

Adam Sandelson and Chris Nancarrow

LSE Student Counselling Service


  • Examine difficulties with procrastination

  • Identify a range of strategies to overcome it

  • Explore unhelpful negative thoughts and behaviours

  • Review sources of help

What is procrastination?


What is procrastination?

  • Putting off a task which needs to be done

  • It can affect our study and writing

  • We may disguise avoidance by being very busy

  • We may find things to do that are interesting or even useful, but don't contribute towards the main goal

  • It may involve feelings of anxiety, stress, guilt, shame and depression

Common issues

  • time management

  • inability to prioritise

  • overload of tasks at a specific time

  • anxiety about the task

  • not knowing what is required

  • feeling overwhelmed

How do we procrastinate?

  • When did you last procrastinate?

  • What triggers it?

Ask yourself from time to time:

How am I using my mental and physical energy now?

Is this good use of my time?

Identify priorities/commitments for the week ahead and write on blank sheet lectures/classes; leisure activities; paid work; time for self; adequate rest/sleep.

Taking control of time

acknowledge what you have achieved

save mental energy

be purposeful and realistic

meet deadlines and keep up with work

have effective study time and effective relaxation

Enjoy yourself without guilt and worry

Use personal timetabling to:

Reviewing essay preparation


Ignore the essay title, plunge into reading, make copious

notes, get overwhelmed with information and then start

worrying about producing a coherent account.


  • Give yourself time to think

  • Brainstorm, research answers, and learn

  • Through thinking and asking questions become more selective in your choice of material

  • Allow a structure to emerge, and be prepared to revise it

Writing Strategies

  • Free yourself up

  • Go for a walk; Talk it out loud

  • Wait for a structure to arrive

  • Bullet points, mind maps, scribble ideas

  • Give yourself time to work it out – learning and writing involve unconscious processes

  • Imagine looking back at this task in 2 or 6 months time

  • Work with others, use study groups, etc.

Budget about an hour for each sheet, half of which will be allocated to the draft.

Don’t worry about being stylish.

Clarity is much more important.

Keep asking questions and finding answers.

Let go of the tortuous process of putting the essay together like a jigsaw

Use the essay to examine answers to your own curiosity

Remember - is it a book or an essay?

The final stage of writing

Use a daily schedule and weekly diary

Prioritise and set achievable targets

Revise targets

Acknowledge progress

Stay focussed

Avoid avoidant activities!

Reward yourself

Overcoming Procrastination

Experiment with your standards for success. Try for 80% or even 60%

Focus on the process of doing an activity not just the end result.

Evaluate success in terms of what you accomplished and whether you enjoyed the task.

Check your feelings. Monitor feelings of anxiety and depression. Don’t set up impossible expectations

Face your fears that may be behind your procrastination - What am I afraid of? What is the worst thing that could happen?"

Celebrate your mistakes

Strategies to move forward

What kind of internal pressure do I put myself when preparing to work…?

What negative thoughts get in the way of working?

Where do these come from?

Looking behind the time issue

  • Procrastination Mini Questionnaire

  • 1.Describe the Internal Critic.

  • 2.What does he or she say to you when you are under pressure?

  • (list negative thoughts)

  • Who’s voice is it?

  • 3.What is the resulting self defeating behaviour (i.e. procrastination) and unhealthy emotion (i.e. anxiety, fear, panic etc)?

  • Self Defeating Behaviour:

  • Unhealthy Negative Emotions:

  • What could an alternative be to the Internal Critic? (i.e. a less judgemental voice)

Look after yourself (diet, sleep)

Keep a supportive structure for

your daily life; have relaxation time

See writing as a time of discovery

Recall past achievements

Challenge negative thoughts

Imagine looking back at the task in

3 or 6 months time


LSE Student Counselling Service

  • Free and confidential

  • Groups and Workshops programme

    • Self Esteem Group

    • Stress Management Group

    • Longer term groups for PhD and for MSc students

  • Website has information about the Service

    • Stress management handout

    • Relaxation tape MP3’s

    • Links to self help resources

    • Powerpoints from Workshops on perfectionism and procrastination

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