Blog Students Advice For Students The Real Way to Become Productive: How to Stop Procrastinating?

The Real Way to Become Productive: How to Stop Procrastinating?

It’s Friday night. You’ve just come back from school, showered and ready to tackle the homework assigned for the week. So you take out your textbooks… not. That’s your phone, and you’ve been browsing TikTok for hours. 

It’s okay. You have the weekends to finish your homework. Let’s leave it for tomorrow.

The next day, and the next. Enter Monday, and your homework is still… unfinished.

What just happened? The weekends flew by so quickly! 

Now, doesn’t this sound familiar to most of us?

If you’re here to try breaking the cycle of procrastination, or just a way to set a good resolution for 2024, we’ve got you covered!

Student Troubles: Procrastination


Procrastination. That’s a word thrown around a lot. 

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But oftentimes, there can be misconceptions about what procrastination REALLY is.

You see, putting things off isn’t always procrastinating. It can also be something you do consciously in order to manage your time responsibly. It’s simply you taking the initiative to prioritise which tasks are important and which ones can wait.

What procrastination is, however, is done arbitrarily. Without reason, you avoid something you said you would do. And this is done, expecting that this can lead to negative consequences!

Why Do You Procrastinate Despite Knowing the Risks?

As Bill Watterson says it best, “A day can really slip by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.”

Going into procrastination mode is you being fully aware that you’re just ‘burning’ time away instead of facing the problem. Yet you do it all the same.

So why? Why do something that is obviously harmful to you?

It’s Your Body’s Way of Protecting You


In a twist of irony, it’s actually because your body is trying to keep you from performing a task you see as ‘threatening’! 

When your brain realises that it’s ‘that time’ to do work, it treats the matter like an incoming threat. Adrenaline gets pumped, and you get loaded with the resulting stress.

It’s the fight-or-flight response, and you choose to escape. 

That may seem excessive, considering doing homework is not at all comparable to a life-threatening experience.

But hey, we are vulnerable at times too. 

Dread, incompetence and insecurity; these feelings can push us towards the option of “flight”, allowing us to escape from these negative feelings, even if momentarily.

You Care Too Much


Not all procrastinators are lazy! Laziness comes from a lack of energy and care.

On the contrary, students procrastinate because they care too much!

It’s a fear of failure that drives this feeling, and they keep pushing work off because of their high standards.

No matter the reason, the cycle of procrastination stems from negative feelings, and that can seem difficult to break out of alone. Which is why we’ve written this guide to help you through!

How to Break Out of the Cycle

Discipline? Strict time management? Bah, words don’t mean anything. If you truly want to stop procrastinating, prioritise action over what you’ll verbally promise yourself to do.

It’s The Mindset

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It’s very important that you tune yourself properly to your OWN expectations.

Being too hard on yourself can layer unnecessary bad emotions onto a task. You don’t want to associate these tasks to stress, as that makes the work that you want to do even more intense.

Don’t pursue perfectionism, if it means not starting at all!

But if you’re unsure why you’re procrastinating, you can find out by journaling about why a certain task is stressing you out. Are you afraid of something specific? Try to answer this question yourself:

“I’m avoiding this task because…” These ‘problems’ are often not as bad as you think!

Staying Focused


Don’t give yourself an excuse that you’re too overwhelmed. 

Start by choosing ONE thing that you really need to finish doing.

Commit yourself to finish it, over everything else.

Start Now

Read till the end of this article, and get right on it! This isn’t a request. You MUST do it.

The thought of procrastination comes from feeling just a bit of leeway to crawl into. Fight against that idea by removing your escape plan.

You Need a Good Environment


Now, remove everything that counts as a distraction in your vicinity before you begin. Don’t make it easy for yourself to procrastinate. Your devices, comic books, or even starting in a space where noise is frequent, are things you don’t want around you.

Spend Five Minutes 

The next step is to implement a five-minute strategy. 

Say you’re going to work on a group presentation. Ask yourself what you can do within the next five minutes that can best move this workload forward. 

Is it some Google research? Maybe creating the framework for the presentation slides? Making the titles for the slides? Scripting out your opening speech? Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, set a timer for five minutes and do it. For that five minutes, you’re very likely to finish what you’ve set out to do. 

No matter how little you did, you’ve just put a dent into that work! Something called the Zeigarnik effect takes effect, sticking that unfinished task into your mind until you’re forced to finish it!

Breaking It Down


Next, is how you start doing it.

A group project that would probably take you an entire day to finish? The sheer amount of work needed might be daunting. 

Hey now, take it a step at a time! Break the task into smaller elements. That way, the work can seem more achievable. 

When you’ve finished these small tasks in succession, it builds up towards completion. 

Seeing this progress can also be a strong motivator to continue keeping up that diligence, allowing you to finally create a routine for these small tasks.

Being Accountable

If you lack the self-discipline to see yourself through the work and routine you’ve set for yourself, get a buddy to call you out when you skip out on work! Take a step further and have a friendly bet with said buddy, specifically stating a date and time of when your work should be completed by. 

Now there’s stakes and you’re definitely not losing on purpose, because lunch money is on the line!

Introduce Fun

Finally, keep it refreshing for yourself to continue doing work. What you need is something that can motivate you. 

It’s meaningful to have someone else give you a reward for your hard work. Respond properly to the stimulus of an end-reward, allowing you to create good habits from it.

Take On Less Work


Less work often means better work.

If “too much” is the problem, try crossing something off your workload, simply because it’s something you realise is not too important at all! 

If you’re working too much without breaks, your ability to be creative and get things done might start to suffer, and you could end up feeling really burnt out. 

It’s important to give your brain some time to relax and have fun, so that when you come back to work, you’ll feel more clear-headed and ready to tackle your tasks.

At the end of the day, procrastination is defined by an inability to start work. 

If you really want to see work done, step out of that comfort zone and take that first step!

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.