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How to Improve Your Productivity

Stop Procrastinating!
Ian Dooley
A brown desktop with various work or study tools.



Ode to Procrastination - The Atlantic

Imagine it’s a Sunday night. It’s 6:00 pm, and you need to get started on a group of assignments due on Friday. You open your computer, but instead of typing your essay, you open Hulu and start watching Family Guy. You don’t even like Family Guy. We’ve all been there before. You know you should start working on your homework, you know you should start that project, and you definitely know that binging shows and movies is only making things worse. However, procrastination is a normal human thing. We are naturally lazy creatures. That being said, there are ways to trick your brain into enjoying hard work, and eventually develop routines to finish that essay with time to spare.

Benefits of Not Procrastinating

First, we need to understand the many cons of procrastinating. If you’re procrastinating on a big project for school, most likely your grade will suffer. Research has shown that procrastinating on bigger assignments will more often than not lead to worse grades. This is because of the stress of knowing the due date is approaching, and the more you wait, the more stressed you’ll become. You may start to gain feelings of hopelessness, and you’ll develop the mentality of only caring about finishing the assignment, disregarding its quality. Instead, when you chip away at bigger assignments over a period of time, you’ll feel more confident, and you may even take extra time to put more care into it. You’ll feel less stressed, and this will lead to a greater quality of health. The more you practice on balancing your work, the better you’ll become at it, and you’ll procrastinate less. But where to start?

Write Your Assignments Down

One trick not many people know about is to write your assignments down. First, write down all the assignments you want to complete for the week, and then break down those assignments into days. Doing this one simple thing puts you one huge step into finishing this assignment. Writing assignments down can heavily decrease stress about the assignments, as you now have a clear vision of what you need to do for the week. You’ll also see that you’ll always have free time (usually) which can give you extra motivation to finish the assignment. Simply put, writing down the assignments will subconsciously tell your brain to get them done, and it’s a great way to keep organized.

Eliminate Distractions!

In our current digital age, distractions are everywhere. It only takes one Instagram notification to send you down a rabbit hole of scrolling, only to snap out of it and realize 30 minutes later. This can be very hard to control, but you should be careful of social media scrolling. It’s become part of our daily routines now, and we don’t realize how much time we lose to social media scrolling. When doing an assignment, it’s best to put the phone far away from you, so you won’t be distracted by that notification. For some people, they may find that deleting social media apps may be better for them. This can have so many other benefits as well, such as less anxiety, better mental clarity, and limiting harmful comparisons to others. Scrolling through endless short term video content will often make you less motivated and tired, and if you limit yourself on these apps you’ll find yourself being more productive in no time.

how to overcome procrastination

Keep Yourself “Distracted” With Something on the Side

Keeping yourself “distracted” doesn’t mean watching TV while doing homework, but rather something that is second nature, like chewing gum or listening to music. Believe it or not, research shows that chewing gum can improve memory, concentration, sustained attention, and can reduce stress, all beneficial if you want to stay calm and concentrated to finish an assignment. Listening to music can help improve your mood, thus improving your motivation to finish your assignment. Of course, you need to find the right artist since listening to heavy metal might not get you far. Here are some recommended artists:

  • Noah Kahan
  • Coldplay
  • Bastille
  • Hozier

Doing something with second nature on the side can easily help improve your mood, which will improve your concentration, motivation, and generally will just make assignments more fun.


Meditating has many more benefits than what one would expect. Meditating daily has shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, gain better mental clarity, and the big one, improving productivity. With less stress and better mental clarity, you’ll be able to sit down and focus, wiping out assignments much faster. Meditating can calm down that one part of your brain that will not stop overthinking, so meditating for 5-15 minutes before an assignment is not a bad idea. You can put on music in the background if you please as well. If you’re interested in meditation and it’s benefits, you can read more here:

Maintain a Healthy Eating, Sleeping, and Exercise Schedule

As college students, it can be hard to always get 8 hours of sleep, but it definitely should be prioritized. We often tend to overlook the importance of sleep, as not only is it important for health, but our productivity too! A lack of sleep will lead to a lack of cognitive function, making you slower, less alert, and less intelligent overall. Exercise and eating also should be prioritized as well.  After a workout, how do you feel? Really good, right? This is because after a good workout, the brain will release dopamine, rewarding you for all your hard work. This will boost your mood, making you want to do more work, and the cycle continues. Eating right will in general make your body feel better, and will give you the energy needed to complete your assignments.

1,000+ Free Runner & Running Images - Pixabay

Develop a Routine:

Finally, none of these tips would be effective if you used them once, and never again. Building a routine is important, as it is a way to make a schedule that works with you, and you won’t procrastinate as much. With a routine, you’ll become used to being productive, and you’ll procrastinate much less, meaning less stress, more sleep, and overall better health. Experiment, see what works well with you, and stop watching Family Guy – you have English homework to finish.



Parker, J. (2021b, June 18). An ode to procrastination. The Atlantic.

Durmonski, I. (2023, October 15). The real benefits of staying off social media.

Schrader, J. (2019, May 1). To chew or not to chew gum (when studying)?. Psychology Today.

“Is it Good to Listen to Music While Studying?”, 29 October 2015,

Health, C. (2023, June 4). 10 health benefits of meditation and how to focus on mindfulness. health.

Breus , M. (2022, December 13). The relationship between sleep and job performance. How Sleep Affects Work Productivity.,more%20likely%20to%20make%20mistakes.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, February 24). Physical activity boosts brain health. Physical Activity Boosts Brain Health.,of%20cognitive%20decline%2C%20including%20dementia.

RSS. (n.d.). 4 steps to overcome procrastination with habitify. Habitify Blog .

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