November 4, 2020

Tackle procrastination with the Study Skills Academy

It can sometimes be tempting to wait until the last minute to complete a project, especially a challenging one. Rather than getting ahead of a deadline, we often find convenient — and, sometimes, even creative — ways to distract ourselves from getting started, including scrolling through social media; taking a nap or snack break; or busying ourselves with minor chores, household projects, and other daily responsibilities.

It may seem harmless, but procrastination is a cycle proven to reduce learning achievement and retention. That cycle can contribute to increased anxiousness and avoidance, and, in turn, continued procrastination. Luckily, Wayne State’s Study Skills Academy, housed within the Academic Success Center, can help students stay on track and focused with Procrastination Accountability Groups

Open to undergraduate and graduate students, these free group sessions are designed to offer a confidential, safe space to explore challenges with procrastination. Students can join the group that best fits their schedule at any time and are requested to commit to participating as frequently as their availability allows. Groups are offered weekly throughout the semester, meeting Wednesdays from 3 to 4 p.m. on Zoom. Students can refer to the center’s website to view the full calendar.

The Study Skills Academy uses research-based techniques to help students better manage procrastination, including the following tips and techniques: 

1. Self-Awareness:

Self-awareness guides students toward understanding the consequences of procrastination and can give insight into making a change. Sometimes, just acknowledging your own behavior is an important first step in making a change.

2. Forgiveness:

Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, which can cause avoidance. Forgiveness can motivate students toward change instead of punishing themselves, and is an important step in breaking the procrastination cycle.

3. Cognitive Behavioral Techniques:

Cognitive behavioral techniques can further help students build awareness as to how their thoughts surrounding a task influences emotions and procrastination behaviors. Cognitive reappraisal assists students with reframing self-defeating thoughts toward more productive ones.

4. Mindfulness Techniques:

Mindfulness techniques deregulate structures in the brain’s limbic system and strengthen the prefrontal cortex’s function.

5. Just Get Started:

Clarity about a task — including, how, when, and where it will be accomplished — closes the intention-action gap.

6. Mental Rehearsal:

Personal pep talks increase confidence, initiate action and help students view a task as more achievable.

Within a group session of procrastination accountability, students can expect to learn more about the above techniques, develop personalized approaches for managing avoidance behavior and ultimately improve their total academic performance.