Procrastination is a common problem for many people including college students.  It can be a major cause of stress as well, so finding ways to take care of what needs to be done is an important part of being healthy and responsible.  If you are a procrastinator, there are things that you can try that can help!

1) Set deadlines

When it comes to procrastination, deadlines are your best friend. Setting a deadline not only forces you to confront the task at hand but also leads you to work harder and more efficiently—especially if the deadline is looming over your head. Working under pressure is the cure-all for the procrastinator. If you find yourself procrastinating due to stress, deadlines are the perfect way to relieve some of that pressure.

2) Take care of your health

A healthier lifestyle is a key to success for many reasons and can even help to eliminate procrastination. Procrastination is often a result of feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand. If you feel overwhelmed, it can be extremely difficult to focus on what needs to be done. Finding a good time and place where you can concentrate without distractions is critical to finishing your tasks. When they are completed, the sense of accomplishment and the elimination of that stress will hopefully encourage you to not put things off in the future.  Staying hydrated and eating healthy foods during the day can help you stay focused,  and provide you with the energy to keep at the task at hand.

3) Create a personal routine

Creating a personal routine can have many physiological and psychological benefits. When we start a task, our brain releases dopamine, which makes it feel rewarding. A person’s mental state is also impacted by the hormones serotonin and cortisol at the moment of starting a task. Serotonin gives us that feeling of well-being, while cortisol provides energy to do work. Paying attention to these patterns can help us make better decisions about our lives. Below are a few examples: Going to the gym on a Monday morning is more rewarding than going in the evening. Waking up at 6 AM gives people energy and lessens the risk of their day getting off to a bad start. Find a routine that works for you and stick with it.

4) Find a balance between work and play

Finding ways to balance work and play in your life gives you a greater sense of well-being and energy, which can help you be more productive. A few ways to help improve your productivity include: developing good time management skills (carving out time and breaking down tasks, learning to delegate, and planning your days); making a dedicated work space that is distraction-free; setting up an organizational system that keeps things in their place, allowing you access to everything you need in one location; and eliminating distractions when working (stay away from your phone or TV). If you find that you are having a tough time, take a break and try again later.

5) Reward yourself

One of the best ways to stop procrastination is to reward yourself after completing a task. The key is to find a reward that motivates you and that you enjoy. You can buy yourself a new book or go to a movie; spend a night out with friends; take a visit to the gym or watch a sports match.  Even something like a museum visit or a nature walk or a nap can count as a reward.  Use something that works for you!

So, remember – clear your head, find your space and tackle the work at hand.  Eliminating the stress that procrastination can bring to your life will make you feel better as your accomplishments build up behind you!