Art of Craftsmanship

Academic writing tips and guidelines

Essay Writing Tip: Avoiding Procrastination

When it comes to writing essays, especially assigned topics, it is easy to put it off until the last minute. Then it becomes a rush job instead of top notch work. Here are some things to do to avoid procrastination. Make a plan. Find ways to be motivated. Remove distractions and allow for breaks. These tactics keep writers stay focused and avoid putting off writing.

Make a plan

Make a plan by breaking the assignment into smaller parts and create a timeline. Set due dates for each part of the project and stick to those deadlines. An example of the smaller parts of the writing process could be 1) research 2) outline 3) write 4) edit. These could be broken down into even smaller parts by indicating what to research, how much time to spend writing in one sitting, and how many times to revise and edit the essay. Stick to the deadlines in the plan.

Reward and motivate

Sometimes a reward is needed to be motivated to complete an essay. Give a reward for completing each deadline. Make each reward more rewarding than the previous reward. Start low and work up to the ultimate reward for when the essay is complete.

Remove distractions or change the environment

If staying focused is the problem, remove distractions or change the environment. Turning off the phone or using a different computer may be all that is needed. Going to a library, park, or somewhere away from the people who are distracting may be the key to keeping things on track. Use those distractions as a reward for one of the deadlines or for completing the project. Create an environment that focuses on writing the essay.

Don’t get overworked

Working too hard may lead to procrastination. Take breaks to stay fresh and alert when writing. Breaks could be a part of the motivational rewards. How long each break should be depends on when the essay is due. If the breaks become a distraction, choose something else to do during the break.

The sooner you get started, the better

Making a plan and sticking to it will help avoid procrastinating. Have a plan that includes breaking up the essay into smaller groups, rewards to motivate, allowing for breaks, and removing distractions or changing the environment. Sometimes all it takes is to buckle down and just do it. The sooner the essay process gets started, the sooner it will be done.