Chronic procrastination can waste essential time and energy. It may be more than mere laziness. Try these techniques to sidestep "putting it off" syndrome.

Procrastination Prevention Tips

Minimize distractions — Keep the phone silent and out of sight. Turn off alerts on your computer. Warn your friends to expect delayed replies when you are studying. Make it a game to see how long you can go without checking your favorite sites.

Do the most important things first — Try to resist the temptation to distract with a trivial task instead of beginning the real work. Post deadlines in a prominent place.

Make a project a series of small bites instead of one big meal — Break down assignments into smaller sections. Small projects seem more manageable to handle. Be realistic about how long each section will take to complete. Work on them one at a time.

Begin with a good end in mind — Incentive to work increases when there is the prospect of a good reward at the end.

Just start — Even a modest amount of work on one of your priority items can bring a sense of accomplishment and make you more likely to do more.

Have confidence that you can learn a new skill — Decrease fear of the unknown by remembering how many new tasks you have faced and mastered in your life. If you are unclear about an assignment, discuss it with the teacher or other students who have done it in the past.

Be selective in choosing commitments — Students can inadvertently take on too many activities and responsibilities. Review your obligations to check if it is realistically possible to do all of them.

Schedule some "official" down time — Some students don't allow themselves any legitimate relaxation time; therefore, they "steal" it from their study time. Regular breaks helps keep a busy life balanced and the mind refreshed.

Temper your expectations of evaluation — Remember no one performs highly all the time, or in every area. A reasonable amount of effort almost always ends up in a satisfactory outcome. It can feel worse to not do a task at all instead of doing it in a less than perfect manner.

Follow your own goals — People rarely are inspired to work diligently for a cause that has little meaning for them. Are your career path choices relevant to you?