3 Steps to Eliminate Procrastination I Actually Learned In School

Almost all of us wish we were more productive, well the biggest secret to productivity I have found is time management! If we could eliminate procrastination and manage our time efficiently what we accomplish can be amazing. In this article I share the 3 simple time management steps I learned while I was getting my business degree.


Procrastination is the enemy of time management and counterproductive to achieving goals. However, with a little insight, planning, goal setting and action procrastination can be a thing of the past.


Step #1 – Make A List

The first step in time management is making a list of all the things that take up our time. This has become a popular concept by the now famous Getting Things Done system. Be sure to include pleasure activities on your list such as television and Internet here! For your average day, calculate exactly how much time is spent sleeping, exercising, working, attending classes and studying. Since working and sleeping are mandatory and will no doubt consume sixteen hours per day of our time, we are left with 8 hours at the end of each day to accomplish goals. As a student, attending classes, completing projects and studying for exams should be first on the priority list. Now, it is up to you to set goals to achieve everything that will be required of you, the successful student.


Step #2 – Set Goals

Next, you will need to set some goals; goals should be split into three parts. These three parts are:

  1. short term goals
  2. medium term goals
  3. long-term goals

It is also important while you are writing out your goals to identify the action steps required to be able to achieve each of those goals.

As an MBA student, my short term goals were focused around “what needs to be accomplished in order to be successful come mid-term exam time”. Here, you will want to calculate what sort of effort it will take on your part to be prepared for each week and month leading up to these tests.

A good time frame for setting medium term goals is the end of the semester. Here, you will need to figure out and plan for earning a good class grade for the end of the semester. It is never too early to put together a plan for finishing final projects, papers and studying for final exams. The earlier a plan is thought out and implemented, the better!

The long-term goals while I was getting a business degree were focused around improving my potential career opportunities. These long term goals were identifying what career I wanted to have not just when I graduated but also 5 years after graduation. I believed setting myself up while in school would help with finding a job long after I graduated.


Step #3 – Take Action

This is the most important step. You have now identified how you spend your time, what goals are important to you and how to achieve them its time to take action.

There is little that can be said about step 3 it is simply stating that it is time for you to start hustling and achieving your goals.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

“The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.” ~ Thomas Edison


Time management is simple, however, it is not always easy. But, with proper planning and a willingness to sacrifice some free time, your goals will be achieved!


Photo By: bogenfreund

13 thoughts on “3 Steps to Eliminate Procrastination I Actually Learned In School

  1. Somtimes the “take action” part is the hard one, I think. Planning can be so easy. You make these great goals, have your little list, but then when it’s time for action… easier to sit and watch the game with a beer! Maybe lists and goals shoudl start small so that getting out of the easy chair doesn’t seem so difficult at first.

  2. Good post! I am very guilty of being a procrastinator myself. I’ve used these strategies and they’re immensely helpful…IF you take action. Having those goals before me is the best way to get me motivated.

  3. Well written and sage advice. Procrastination is so easy to fall in to.

  4. I have to work off of to do lists to get things done. I have a list constantly running in Excel on my laptop. As well, once I write it down I don’t have to worry about whether I will remember or not. I have definitely done my share of procrastinating as well.

  5. That Abe Lincoln quote rocks. I saw a study recently that showed how companies that planned more were able to get more done in less time than companies with a ready/fire/aim approach.

  6. Jon

    The Getting Things Done principles are great but I like the simplified approach here of making a list, setting goals and then taking action.

  7. One of the most amazing things I read about procrastination gave an example using eating frogs (by Brian Tracy):

    1) If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long!
    2) If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first! (get the crappy jobs done first)
    3) If you have to eat a live frog, it does not pay to sit and look at it for a very long time! (procrastination isn’t going to help)

    I thought they were awesome!

  8. Great post! Not only is taking action on of the most important steps, it is also one of the hardest. Simply starting gets you over that hump and then inertia can take over.

  9. That’s a great simple way to get things done. I write a list everyday. I also write a list for the next day. It is a huge factor for me.

  10. I’m a list maker from way back; I start every week by making a list of the professional and personal responsibilities I have for the next seven days. I get so much satisfaction checking each item off!

  11. Taking action is the key part, as I think there are many people who simply love to set goals, make lists, plan, etc. Believe me, I’ve been one of those types 🙂

    In terms of taking action, the hardest part is sometimes getting started. Once things get on a roll, it seems like we can get a lot done. Just have to get things moving, and not just stare at another item on a to-do list!

  12. All true. It’s so easy to put things off until later. The problem starts when everything that has been put off begins to compound. Then it becomes a big mess!

    Good post~!

    1. @ Holly – I had that procrastination happen to me at work the other year. I work on a cost report that takes about 4-6 months to complete. I worked on other things and then the last month I was working till midnight every night…That taught me a very valuable lesson there….

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