Procrastination tips: Stop wasting your time & get going!

written by: Christina Pichler, 07.01.2021

The kitchen is cleaned, the wardrobe is cleared out, the bookshelf is sorted by color, but your study materials still lay untouched on your desk?

Procrastination is by definition the postponement of upcoming activities. Most students will have come across this phenomenon at some point. To avoid exactly that and the associated stress, we have 10 tips against procrastination for you!

1. Create a designated work space

If you can work or study from home, it is especially difficult to refrain from doing that while laying in bed and having a snack. This blurs the boundaries between work and relaxation, which makes it very difficult for you to focus. Your bed and your couch are places that are supposed to be for unwinding and through the force of habit, this is signaled to your body as well. So, take some time to consciously create a place where you can go to study or work so that as soon as you enter this place, you are in “work mode” and have therefore limited your distractions. Here are tips and useful gadgets for creating the perfect working place at home!

2. Find the right learning technique

There are a lot of different types of people. Some sit in the library and study seven hours at a time, while other students use strategies such as the “Pomodoro Method”. The “Pomodoro Method” is a study strategy, which advises you to study or work for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break. This process is repeated four times in total. After the four repetitions, there is a longer break of 25 minutes. This technique goes back to Francesco Cirillo and is supposed to make you more attentive and receptive given the many short units. We have a full article on the pomodoro technique for you!

STUWO tip: Jus try different techniques and figure out which one works best for you!

3. Work in your productive phases

Each of us goes through different phases in a day. There are phases when we are motivated and full of energy, but there are also phases when we turn a blind eye and we would like to include an afternoon nap in our daily schedule.

Find out when you are most productive and use these productivity phases to your advantage. To give you an idea, we show you an average performance curve on the right and you might even recognize yourself in it!

We have more information on types of learners and circadian cycles in our article on exam prep!

4. Take breaks

What may sound counterproductive at first is in truth essential. Breaks are really important. On the one hand, to consolidate what you have learned and on the other hand they give you something that you can look forward to. Taking breaks should not be something to feel guilty about, on the contrary! It is often important to switch off your head for a moment, take a step away from your desk, and then come back with new ideas. It is best to use these phases of regeneration for a walk outside or you enjoy going to one of our fitness studios and work out hard! What is most important is, that you can clear your head!

Here are 5 tips for having effective and productive study breaks!

5. Reduce distractions

Put your phone on flight mode, ask your roommates not to be disturbed for the next couple of hours and also don’t let Netflix run in the background!
The less you are distracted, the more concentrated you can work! We live in a very
hectic world and are usually flooded with external stimuli. It’s easy to lose focus, when there are news constantly showing up on your screen or you are listening to a podcast while you should actually be doing research for the next task. Therefore, turn off all notifications that are not necessary and maybe put your cellphone to another room while you work!

Here are some tips for mindfulness and fewer distractions!

6. Focus on your goals

As a student you will probably have days where you lose focus on the end goal and wonder why you need to learn the next, seemingly unnecessary, PowerPoint Presentation by heart. If you are confronted with courses that do not fully reflect your own interests, it can often be difficult to stick to the topic. So always try to keep in mind why you started doing all of this in the first place: for your graduation, your dream job or the opportunity to do a master’s degree abroad. Find your WHY!

A key skill is to set SMART goals, therefore, we have a clear intruction here!

7. Eat the frog

As Mark Twain once said: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” So do the task that seems the biggest and hardest to you in the morning, then you won’t have it buzzing around in your head and can concentrate on the next task with a clear conscience.

An additional bonus: If you have already completed a difficult task in the morning, you have cleared the biggest obstacle out of the day and can be proud of yourself. You will notice that this good mood also affects the rest of your day.

8. Just start

Easier said than done, but when you’re faced with a big, seemingly impossible task, it’s best to break it down into small portions and start by setting yourself a five-minute timer. Tthe likelihood that you’ll just keep going because you’re already at it is high and your inner weaker self is being outwitted.

9. Don’t stress yourself, but make a plan!

Contrary to popular belief, stress does not bring us to peak performance, but can trigger serious side effects such as migraines, depression and increased susceptibility to infections. It is more helpful that you make realistic plans and give yourself enough time to finish every task. Do not see learning as something negative, but instead as something that gives you joy and helps you advance in life!

10. Know the real reason for your procrastination!

Procrastinating cannot be equated with laziness. We tend to put off things we think we are not able to do. A lot of us are afraid of failure and that’s totally okay! If you get to the root of the problem and start looking for solutions there, the path becomes much easier!


We are happy to help!