Solving Procrastination

procrastinating online homework

Homework Procrastination: Why You Procrastinate on Homework and How to Stop

Homework procrastination involves unnecessarily postponing working on homework assignments. For example, if a student delays starting a homework assignment until right before its deadline for no good reason, even though it would have been better for them to start earlier, that student is engaging in homework procrastination.

Homework procrastination can take various forms, from wasting hours trying to bring yourself to start writing an essay, to putting off an important project until the end of the semester. This is a problem not only because it can harm your performance at school, and therefore cause you to receive lower grades , but also because it can cause you to suffer from various other issues , such as frustration, anxiety, and stress .

If you often procrastinate when it comes to doing homework, know that you’re not alone. Procrastination is a common problem among students ; in terms of statistics, studies show that approximately 80%–95% of college students engage in procrastination to some degree, approximately 75% consider themselves to be procrastinators, and approximately 50% say that they procrastinate in a consistent and problematic manner.

Fortunately, however, there are some things that you can do to solve this problem, as you will see in the following article. Specifically, you will first see an explanation about why students procrastinate on their homework, so you can understand your own behavior better. Then, you will see what you can do in order to stop procrastinating on your homework, so you can start getting them done on time.

Why you procrastinate on homework

You procrastinate on homework because issues such as exhaustion and anxiety outweigh your self-control and motivation. These issues include personal factors, like fear and perfectionism, and situational factors, like distractions and unclear instructions.

Specifically, when you need to get homework done, you rely primarily on your self-control in order to get yourself to do it. Furthermore, your self-control is sometimes supported by your motivation, which helps you complete your homework on time.

However, in some cases, you suffer from issues that interfere with or oppose your self-control and motivation, such as exhaustion and anxiety . When these issues are stronger than your self-control and motivation, you end up procrastinating, until you reach a point where the balance between them shifts in your favor, or until it’s too late.

This explains why you might end up procrastinating on your homework even when you have the necessary motivation and you truly wish that you could just get started. This also explains why you might end up procrastinating on your homework until right before deadlines , when the increased motivation, often in the form of stressful pressure, finally pushes you to get to work.

Accordingly, common reasons for procrastinating on homework include the following :

In addition, other issues can also make you more likely to procrastinate on your homework. For example:

Finally, note that some of these issues can lead to problematic procrastination cycles . For example, this can happen if you’re anxious about your homework, so you procrastinate on it, which makes you even more anxious about your homework due to the added negative emotions that you now associate with it (e.g., guilt and shame), which in turn makes you more likely to keep procrastinating on your homework in the future.

Understanding why you procrastinate on your homework can help you learn how to overcome your procrastination. However, while understanding why you procrastinate can be helpful, in many cases you can reduce your procrastination even without figuring this out. As such, if you find that you’re struggling with this step, don’t worry, and don’t get stuck; simply move on to the next step, which involves trying out various anti-procrastination techniques, until you find the ones that work best for you.

How to stop procrastinating on homework

To stop procrastinating on your homework right now , you should identify the smallest possible thing you can do to make progress on it, and then modify your environment to make it as likely as possible that you will do it.

For example, if you need to write a paper for a university course, the smallest possible step that you can take toward finishing it might be opening the relevant document on your computer, and writing just a single opening line, even if it’s poorly phrased initially. Once you realize that this is all you need to do, you can start modifying your work environment to help yourself achieve that, for example by going to a room with no distractions, leaving your phone outside, and turning on airplane mode on your laptop to disable your access to online distractions .

There are many other anti-procrastination techniques that can help you stop procrastinating on your homework. You don’t need to use all of these techniques, since some won’t be relevant in your case, and since you will generally need only a few of them in order to make significant progress toward overcoming your procrastination. As such, try skimming through this list, and finding the techniques that you think will work best for you.

Improve your planning:

Improve your environment:

Change your approach:

Increase your motivation:

Change your mindset:

When deciding which approach to use in order to overcome your procrastination , keep in mind that anti-procrastination techniques are especially effective when they’re tailored to the specific causes of your procrastination. For example, if you procrastinate because you set abstract goals for yourself, you should focus on setting concrete goals instead. Similarly, if you procrastinate because of available distractions, you should remove those distractions from your study environment, or go work somewhere else instead.

In addition, note that if you suffer from an underlying issue that leads to procrastination, such as lack of sleep , depression , or ADHD , you will likely need to resolve that issue, using professional help if necessary, if you want to successfully overcome your procrastination.

Finally, keep in mind that most people need more than one technique in order to overcome their procrastination , and that different techniques work better for different people in different circumstances. Accordingly, don’t expect a single technique to solve all your problems, and don’t feel that if some technique works well for others then it will necessarily also work well for you. Instead, try out the various techniques that are available to you, until you figure out which ones work best for you, in your particular situation.

procrastinating online homework

Opinion: Online homework encourages procrastination, poor school-life balance

Opinion Columnist

The pandemic has brought online learning to the forefront of education systems. While these services offered benefits during quarantine, the harm that online homework does to students outweighs the positives.

Online education gives students the chance to work at their own pace and allows teachers more efficient ways to grade and assign work to students. However, these benefits can quickly turn into drawbacks.

Most online assignments are due by midnight. This alone can be detrimental to the way students complete homework. Before the internet, students simply turned in homework the next time they were in class. This means they had plenty of time to complete assignments either the night it was assigned or the next morning before class. Today, students are almost encouraged to stay up late completing assignments due at midnight. Personally, I am an expert procrastinator, and if an assignment is due at midnight, I am almost always going to start working on it at 11 p.m. When assignments weren’t online, students could still procrastinate, but even if they waited until the hour before their class started, they could still get a good night’s sleep.

Online homework also takes away from the traditional five-day school and work week. Without the internet, teachers would be forced to wait until Monday morning to accept work they assigned over the weekend. Now, they could assign work due at noon on a Saturday if they wanted. This takes away from the only designated free time students are given. What is the point in having weekends and holidays if we are going to be assigned work on those days?

Supporters of online learning programs say that online education can highlight time management skills, which is favorable to future employers. At the same time, students without such skills are often left to struggle in online work environments—and looked down upon because of it. 

Online homework also discourages full understanding of material. When all work is done through a screen, it becomes difficult to focus and easier to search the answers. If you type “online homework” into Google, some of the first suggestions are for “help” and “answers.” This means students aren't studying to learn; they're studying for a homework grade.

Sitting in front of a screen during class and at home also produces adverse mental and physical health effects.  Studies on children and adolescents show that after increases in screen time, test subjects displayed less curiosity and more distractibility. These students were also more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety. Online learning also does not necessarily promote physical activity. Computer and internet usage in college students has been linked to obesity, backaches, headaches and poor sleep quality.

The convenience of grading and assigning work should not be more important than students’ well-being and free time. While asynchronous learning helped schools get through the pandemic, if students are attending class in person, online homework can do more harm than good.

Mia Coco is a 19-year-old political communication student from Alexandria.

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How college students can avoid procrastinating with online work

Four tips, including this one: create a good learning space, originally published in, cyphert distinguished professor; professor of learning technologies; director of the research laboratory for digital learning, the ohio state university, sheng-lun cheng, assistant professor of instructional systems design and technology, sam houston state university.

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Time management and supportive learning environments are keys to avoiding procrastination. fizkes/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

If you take classes online, chances are you probably procrastinate from time to time.

Research shows that more than 70% of college students procrastinate, with about 20% consistently doing it all the time.

Procrastination is putting off starting or finishing a task despite knowing that it will seriously compromise the quality of your work – for instance, putting off a major class project until the last minute.

In fact, research has shown that procrastination can be a harmful behavior that lowers a student’s grades .

Now that so many colleges and universities are operating remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we worry that students are more prone to procrastinate because they have less access to campus facilities and structured support from instructors. We raise these concerns as researchers who study students’ motivation and engagement and their procrastination in online learning .

As professors, we’ve also heard our fair share of explanations and excuses for why students missed deadlines. Everything from “my computer doesn’t work” to “my Wi-Fi went dead.” We even had one student claim that “Grandma died” in one course and that “Grandpa died” in another course. We also have had students claim that their roommate deleted their homework.

Whether you see those reasons as valid or not, none of them really gets at why students procrastinate and end up in those kinds of situations in the first place. With that in mind, here are four tips that can help students deal better with the root causes of procrastination when it comes to online coursework.

1. Manage motivation

One of the main reasons students procrastinate is that they do not see their coursework as relevant to what they’re doing now or expect to do later on. When students find that their academic tasks are interesting, important and useful, they are more likely to try harder to get them done and less likely to put them off .

Remote learning can make students feel bored and frustrated . Therefore, finding ways to stay motivated can prevent procrastination .

Remind yourself of the practical value of your academic tasks. Figure out the reasons you’re studying something in the first place.

For instance, instead of viewing the completion of an assignment as a way to fulfill course requirements, you can think about how to turn your coursework into something related to your life or career goals. For a computer science student, a programming assignment could be made a part of your portfolio to help secure an internship or even a job – as some of our own students have done. A research report could be turned into an academic journal article to enhance your profile when applying for graduate school in the future.

2. Manage goals, tasks and time

College life can get hectic. Many college students must juggle coursework, social events and work commitments at the same time. Getting more organized helps stave off procrastination. This means breaking long-term goals into smaller short-term, challenging and clear goals and tasks.

The reason this technique works is that procrastination is directly related to an individual’s preference and desire for working on a task. When a goal is too large, it becomes not immediately achievable; therefore, you will see this task as less desirable and be more likely to put it off.

By breaking a large long-term goal into a series of smaller and more concrete subgoals, you will see the project as easier to complete and, more importantly, your perceived distance to the finishing line will shorten. This way, you are more likely to perceive the project as desirable , and you will be less likely to procrastinate.

Second, you need to plan your time daily by listing tasks based on their importance and urgency, estimating how much time you need to complete each task, and identifying concrete steps to reach daily goals. That is, tell yourself that in the context of X, I will need to do Y to accomplish Z.

It is also important to plan your time according to how and when you prefer to study . For example, you may concentrate the most late at night, your memory may work the best in the early mornings, or you may collaborate better during the day.

In addition, you should use tech tools, such as calendar and task-management apps, to plan your time and monitor how much you’re getting done.

3. Create a good learning space

Another important way to avoid procrastination is to make sure that your learning environment is supportive for learning.

During the coronavirus pandemic, students are usually learning from home, but sometimes they study wherever they happen to be, even at picnic tables in public parks. These places may not be best suited for academic activities.

These environments have many characteristics that may be more interesting and less emotionally draining than academic tasks. Therefore, students could drift away from academic tasks and wind up instead chatting with friends or watching sports. This is why choosing or creating a good place to study can help people stop procrastinating.

Try to set up your surroundings in a way that suits your learning habits, including where you put tables and chairs and how you use lighting and block out noises. For example, some students may enjoy learning in a quiet and dark space with a spotlight. Others may learn best when they use a standing desk next to a bright window and constantly play soft background music.

4. Get a little help from friends

Friends and classmates can help one another stop procrastinating . Colleagues and other contacts can hold one another accountable and help one another meet deadlines. This is particularly important for anyone who struggles with self-control . Research also has shown that having supportive friends and other peers can boost self-confidence and make tasks seem more valuable and interesting.

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This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .

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School Life Balance , Tips for Online Students

How To Stop Procrastinating? Helpful Tips for College Students!

Teach Yourself How to Stop Procrastinating Homework copy

Your to-do list is piling up, but you’d rather do anything than start crossing items off your list. From procrastinating studying to procrastinating submitting that assignment, most college students wish they know how to stop procrastinating.

Did you know that there are actual reasons why you’re likely procrastinating? So, if you can overcome these barriers, it may get easier to know how to not procrastinate. We’ll share them so that you can maximize your time management skills and be your best self as a college student.

procrastinating online homework

Why Do Students Procrastinate?

At any point in your student lift, you may find yourself taking longer to get things done than necessary. That will lead you to want to know how to not procrastinate on homework, studying, assignments, and chores.

Let’s first break down the common reasons why college students procrastinate in the first place. Some or all of these reasons may resonate with your own experience.

Unclear goals

If you have no clearly defined goals as to what you wish to accomplish, it could be harder to understand why you have to do certain things.

Fear of failure

An all too common occurrence is that those who procrastinate actually are just afraid to fail. So, they’d rather not start to avoid this potentially displeasing sentiment.

If there’s a lot going on in your school life and/or personal life, you may feel unsure how or where to even start.

You could feel worried or anxious about the potential outcomes of whatever you have to get done, be it a homework assignment or test results.


Often in line with the fear of failure comes the idea of perfectionism. When you have the goal of everything being perfect, then you may never want to start something to avoid any flaws or mistakes (which are inevitable).

Lack of motivation

It could be possible you feel a lack of motivation because goals are too far out in the future or are unclearly defined

Perhaps, the most important thing to do is to ask yourself why you are procrastinating in the first place. This could prove to be a useful exercise because you may have to tackle the more deeply rooted issue and the shackles of procrastination will be released.

For example, you could fear that you don’t know how to do something, and to get started, you simply need to know a little more information or ask for help to understand a concept. Once you do that, you could find yourself easily finishing the required assignment.

How to Stop Procrastinating in College

Now that we’ve covered some of the reasons why students procrastinate in the first place, let’s take a look at some best practices to learn how to stop procrastinating.

Get Organized

To avoid the sense of overwhelm of having too much to do or not knowing where to start, organization proves to be crucial. It’s a great idea to use tools that help you stay organized, whether they are calendars or scheduling apps on your computer or the trusted old-school method of writing things down. Consider writing down upcoming assignments and deadlines, estimating how long the task will take you to perform, and counting backward from the due date to give yourself adequate time to get it done.

Of course, it still comes down to you having the motivation to start rather than procrastinate, but it’s easier to do when you have a clear idea of what you need to get done and by when.

Set Deadlines and Reasonable Goals

If you’re a person who procrastinates because your goals seem unattainable, then consider resetting your goals. While you can’t choose when assignments are due, you can choose when you want to have it ready by. In the same vein, you can’t choose when test dates are, but you can choose when to start studying. You can break down these items into smaller, achievable segments so that you can maintain momentum and feel accomplished. For example, if you have a 10-page research paper due, consider setting a goal to finish two pages per day so you can avoid having to write it fast. 

Remove Distractions

Sometimes, the only way to want to get things done is to have no other alternative. You can position yourself for this scenario by removing distractions. Put your phone in another room. Turn off the TV. Tell your friends that you’re busy. Then, you can free up your own time to get your to-do list crossed off.

Take Breaks

Getting things done doesn’t have to feel tiring or undesirable. Remember to relieve yourself of your efforts and give yourself breaks. This can also help to increase your motivation to get things done because you can look forward to the upcoming break. And, you can make your break as fun or as relaxing as you see fit. Some examples of break ideas you can try after you accomplish items on your list include: walking, cooking, calling a friend, scrolling through social media, playing with your dog, taking a nap, etc.

Reward Yourself

In the same way that breaks can serve as rewards and help to boost your motivation, so can actual rewards! Depending on what you enjoy, you can set rewards both big and small accordingly. Say you enjoy food and trying new eateries. Tell yourself that if you ace your next big exam, you’ll treat yourself to a dining experience at the restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Or, if you like fashion, then buy yourself something new when you finish your semester with a good GPA. 

Ask for Help

If you’re struggling to hold yourself accountable, ask your peers or friends for help. You can help each other meet deadlines if you are unable to maintain your own self-control. Having people around you who will support you in reaching your goals and aspirations can help to manage your motivation levels as you are answerable to people besides yourself.

procrastinating online homework

The Bottom Line

While there is no single answer as to how to stop procrastinating for college students, there are different behaviors and habits that you can try to overcome this common challenge.

So, if you’re a constant procrastinator or you find yourself stuck these days more than before, try to figure out why. Then, practice some of the above tips to overcome any mental hurdles.

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Dear Organizing Coach: The No Motivation, All Procrastination Problem

Procrastination isn’t just a mental roadblock — for some people with adhd, it can actually feel like a physical sensation, forcing you to hold off on projects until the moment they’re due. here, our organizing coach helps a student with add tackle her homework assignments, reduce her stress, and better live up to her potential..

Leslie Josel

Q: “I always, always end up postponing assignments until one day before the deadline. When I do try getting things done, it’s like I feel a physical reaction from inside myself to stop? I guess it’s my laziness. I feel stuck most of the time. Now I am failing my classes… I am failing my parents’ expectations, and I don’t know exactly what can help me.” —StrugglingDesignStudent

Hi StrugglingDesignStudent:

Always relying on our own internal motivation is exhausting. So use the external motivation of your environment instead.

Environment plays a huge role in how we get things done. Are you tactile? Do you need certain pens or paper to get you going? Do you respond to color? Paint your room your favorite color or surround yourself with colorful objects. Do you have a favorite food? Sometimes pairing something we desire (frozen yogurt would be my choice) with the undesirable (like homework) provides motivation.

[ Free Guide: 10 Solutions to Disorganization at School ]

Have you tried a study soundtrack ? Music helps the brain plan, focus, and initiate. Create a 30-minute play list of music you love. The key is to play the same playlist every time you sit down to work. Eventually the music will act as a motivator; when you hear the music, it will signal your brain that it’s time to get work done.

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Quiz: How Seriously Do You Procrastinate? Preventing Procrastination 101 Top 5 Homework Frustrations — and Fixes for Each

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5 Tips To Overcome Procrastination In Online Learning

What is procrastination, and how to avoid procrastination for students? The following article discusses 5 tips to overcome procrastination in online learning. However, no matter what strategy you take, it won’t work unless you have an effective tool, such as Safe Doc, to manage your online classes. You can learn a bit about it too in the following discussion.

5 Tips To Overcome Academic Procrastination In Online Learning

In this article

What is Procrastination?

American humorist Josh Billings said, "The greatest thief this world has ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large “And he couldn't have been more correct. Indeed Procrastination is the thief of time. Most concerned teachers often wonder how to avoid procrastination for students. Because this is one of the main reasons many students fail to reach their full potential in online classes.

The Problem With Procrastination 

Procrastination or putting off work for later has been around for centuries. Even the most brilliant people fail to give their best due to this bad habit. And this is becoming more common in the present times. 

There is so much distraction in the modern world that people are easily driven to procrastinate. Students procrastination is very common these days, who are the younger population. 

Examples of procrastination in students can be like, when working on an assignment from an online class, a student might think about checking a notification on social media. And the next thing you know, they have wandered far off from the work they were supposed to do. 

This is the reason why do students procrastinate, and  this is making students fall behind in school work. Ultimately this results in lacking in their overall education. So, it is essential to stop students from procrastinating at the earliest. 

Five Tips to Overcome Student Procrastination

If you are a concerned teacher wondering how to avoid procrastination for students, then there are a few ways to go about it. So, lets jump into that, and discuss some tips to overcome procrastination in online learning.

Inspire: Most students procrastinate because they don't find much meaning in their education. So, take the time to inspire students to pursue their studies. Make them understand it is not just about getting grades, passing exams, and getting jobs. Instead, education completes them as human beings and enriches them. 

Divide into small tasks: Often, students procrastinate when they feel like they have a lot of time on a project. So instead of one big assignment with a lot of time, divide it into several smaller tasks with lesser time. Needless to say, this will require more detailed planning of the curriculum. 

Provide a Supportive Environment: Repulsion toward online classes can make a student procrastinate. And that can happen when a student suffers from bullying or some other form of torment. So, ensure that your online class's environment is secure and supportive. And Safe Doc is one of the most effective tools to accomplish this. 

Encourage Collaboration: Many students put off work because the thought of doing it alone demotivates them. So, in your online class, put together small groups of students to work on projects. 

Promise rewards: You can promise your class that whoever finishes a task at the earliest shall get a prize. Or, you might grant them extra marks for handing over an assignment before the due date. Whatever you do, this kind of instant gratification can be a great motivator for young people. 

Closing Thoughts

If you adopt the above strategies, surely you will be able to overcome student procrastination. However, implementing these will require a professional online class management tool. So, get Safe Doc today. Safe Doc helps you efficiently manage online classes with complete control . Moreover, its filters allow you to create a safe and bullying-free environment for your students.


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Procrastination predicts online self-regulated learning and online learning ineffectiveness during the coronavirus lockdown

Jon-chao hong.

a Institute for Research Excellence in Learning Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University, No.162, Heping East Road Section 1, Taipei 106209, Taiwan

b Department of Industrial Education, National Taiwan Normal University, No.162, Heping East Road Section 1, Taipei 106209, Taiwan

Yi-Fang Lee

Jian-hong ye.

During the lockdown due to SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus lockdown), there has been a tremendous increase in the number of students taking online courses. Few studies, however, have examined the individual dispositions that influence self-regulated online learning during the coronavirus lockdown. To address this gap, the present study explored the ineffectiveness of online learning and examined how it can be predicted by self-regulated online learning and participants' procrastination disposition. Data of 433 participants were collected and subjected to confirmatory factor analysis with structural equation modeling. The results indicated that procrastination is negatively related to 6 sub-constructs of self-regulated online learning: task strategy, mood adjustment, self-evaluation, environmental structure, time management, and help-seeking. These sub-constructs were negatively related to the learners' perceived ineffectiveness of online learning. However, the relationship between perceived learning ineffectiveness and environmental structure or help-seeking was weaker than that with task strategy or mood adjustment, indicating that the latter two subtypes of self-regulated online learning should be considered before students engage in online learning.

1. Introduction

Due to the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 (hereafter coronavirus), more than 130 countries have temporarily closed their educational facilities to prevent the spread of the virus. Many schools have continued using distance learning approaches to offer students online learning. As an urgent response to the coronavirus pandemic, in early February 2020, all schools and universities in China stopped face-to-face teaching and started to use internet platforms to deliver online learning. This was earlier than in other countries ( Dong, Cao, & Li, 2020 ). Schools in China adopted the approach of “ensuring that learning is undisrupted when classes are disrupted” to ensure that students' learning during the pandemic lockdown period could continue. To support this new educational policy, the Chinese government provided funding to endorse online learning ( Chen, Peng, et al., 2020 ). However, as students had to suddenly adjust to taking many courses at home, the effectiveness of online learning during the coronavirus lockdown is still doubted ( Huang et al., 2020 ). For example, Bao (2020) pointed out that the effectiveness of online learning relies on students' self-directed learning attitude or personality, rather than on their ability to master the use of technological devices. Because of some level of autonomy offered in online courses, students need to exert a higher level of self-control in their online actions, for example, to overcome learner isolation and the less spontaneous online interaction which can cause procrastination in distance learning ( Rasheed, Kamsin, & Abdu, 2020 ). In particular, during the coronavirus lockdown, the sudden shift to online learning has presented new opportunities and unexpected challenges to the affected young children. Accordingly, the present study aimed to explore an individual trait that influences learning effectiveness.

Most online courses in China during the coronavirus lockdown were carried out in the form of teachers giving live lectures while the students watched them and learned. To understand the effectiveness of online learning during the coronavirus lockdown, Zheng, Lin, and Kwon's (2020) study examined the correlation between behavior in online learning (e.g., the attendance number and amount of discussion) and learning outcomes, and compared the overall effect of online learning with traditional learning. However, few studies have focused on the factors accounting for the lack of engagement, which influences learning effectiveness due to procrastination ( Michinov, Brunot, Le Bohec, Juhel, & Delaval, 2011 ), especially as perceived during the coronavirus outbreak. Thus, in this study we explored how procrastination affected learners' perceptions of online learning, with a sample of college students who took online courses during the coronavirus lockdown in China.

Trait activation theory (TAT), the fundamental theory upon which the current study is based, is a personality theory of job functioning that integrates personality traits with situations ( Tett & Guterman, 2000 ; Tett, Simonet, Walser, & Brown, 2013 ). TAT assumes that participants have to show consistency in their thoughts and actions, initiating a more stable personality trait ( Scheuble, Nieden, Leue, & Beauducel, 2019 ). Procrastination as one of the stable personality traits ( Van Eerde, 2003 ) is related to the “voluntary delay” of “an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay” ( Steel, 2007 , p. 66). Using the TAT model, some studies have revealed that procrastination can intervene in self-regulated behavior (e.g., Loeffler, Stumpp, Grund, Limberger, & Ebner-Priemer, 2019 ; Ziegler & Opdenakker, 2018 ). As TAT is extremely powerful in predicting how a person will act ( Jayawickreme, Zachry, & Fleeson, 2019 ), it can be used to discuss the mediated-indirect effect between procrastination and online learning effectiveness ( Broadbent & Poon, 2015 ). Accordingly, the present study aimed to understand how procrastination was related to learning effectiveness mediated by self-regulated online learning (SROL) during the coronavirus lockdown. This study aimed to provide an insightful view to support teachers in enhancing their students' online learning during or after the coronavirus lockdown.

2. Literature review

2.1. academic procrastination.

Procrastination is associated with the executive functions of planned action and self-control (such as initiating or stopping action). Poorer executive function is related to greater procrastination ( Sirois & Pychyl, 2016 ). Sirois and Kitner (2015) highlighted that procrastination is positively linked with maladaptive learning strategies (e.g., denial, behavioral disengagement, etc.). The nature of procrastination is essentially “a self-defeating behaviour pattern marked by short-term benefits and long-term costs” ( Tice & Baumeister, 1997 , p. 454). In the academic domain, academic procrastination creates a serious barrier which prevents students' success in their school work because the goal of mastering the various educational levels is adversely affected by putting off studying the different subjects that are needed to fulfill the academic requirements ( Steel, 2007 ). Briefly, academic procrastination is the purposeful and unnecessary delay in completing academic tasks ( Zhao & Elder, 2020 ).

Previous research has found that academic procrastination can predict learning performance and evoke psychological problems ( Hussain & Sultan, 2010 ). Academic procrastination brings about painful feelings and negative learning experiences ( Sirois & Pychyl, 2013 ). Moreover, academic procrastination might have an adverse effect on homework completion ( Grunschel, Patrzek, & Fries, 2012 ), and even influence the decision to drop out of distance learning courses. For example, when learning at a distance, procrastinators often feel motivated to work on their course at the beginning, but then feel like dropping out after some time ( Michinov et al., 2011 ). These studies considered procrastination in distance learning before the coronavirus outbreak. Since the outbreak, teachers have needed to increase their use of distance online learning, but only a limited number of studies have explored the relationship in these circumstances. Thus, the role that academic procrastination played during the lockdown period is a focus of this study.

2.2. Self-regulated online learning

Self-regulated learning (SRL) is defined by a set of learning strategies that students undertake in order to learn ( Pintrich, 2004 ; Zimmerman, 2000 , Zimmerman, 2008 ). Self-regulation learning (SRL) has been conceptualized in various ways in the literature. For example, students set personal learning goals, monitor their progress towards those goals, and reflect on that learning to understand if their strategies used to reach a particular goal were in fact useful (Zimmerman, 2000, 2008). Three distinct SRL approaches have been clustered as: reflective-oriented, adaptive, and monitoring self-regulated behavior ( Li, Chen, Xing, Zheng, & Xie, 2020 ). In Zimmerman's SR model, the learning process functions in three cyclical phases: forethought, performance, and self-reflection ( Zimmerman & Moylan, 2009 ). Learners start with the forethought phase in which they are involved with task analysis and self-motivation ( Wong, Khalil, Baars, de Koning, & Paas, 2019 ). They set goals and make plans before starting work on a learning task. Self-motivation influences these goals and plans. After the forethought phase, learners proceed to the performance phase where they fulfill their plans by exercising self-control and self-observation ( Wong et al., 2019 ). Additionally, they monitor their learning progress. In the self-reflection phase, learners evaluate their learning progress based on the information derived from cognitive monitoring in the performance phase and the feedback they are given. That is, they reflect on their goals, plans and strategies, and make use of this information to form new goals and plans ( Wong et al., 2019 ).

Students with different profiles of self-regulation diverge significantly in their learning performance. For example, self-regulation led learners to outperform minimally self-regulated learners on the completeness of a design work ( Li et al., 2020 ). A previous study also specified that students who engaged carefully with the task preparation, such as by organizing appropriate information to construct connections, had more competence when involved in new situations, and continuously improved their performance of completing tasks ( Irvine, Brooks, Lau, & McKenna, in press ). All these behaviors are related to forethought, adaptation and monitoring, which are considered essential components when engaging in online learning ( Irvine et al., in press ). Accordingly, we define “forethought” as students' self-regulated behavior before they participate in online learning. Additionally, students are at an increased risk of not engaging in school work if they experience emotional maladjustment ( Skinner & Pitzer, 2012 ). SROL is highly influenced by the actual situation (e.g., the Wi-Fi connection) as well as by individual characteristics (e.g., mood), both of which can affect the learning outcomes ( Taminiau et al., 2013 ). As mood positively activates pre-reflection in SROL ( Lehmann, Hahnlein, & Ifenthaler, 2014 ), and the teacher-centered instructional paradigm as an approach to knowledge transmission ( Rajabi, 2012 ), we used mood adjustment as one of the pre-prompts to replace goal setting in SROL, which is most often required by teachers in Chinese educational culture ( Bai & Wang, 2021 ). Thus, the six SROL sub-constructs of task strategy, mood adjustment, self-evaluation, environmental structure, time management, and help-seeking were included in the model used in this study.

In online learning, SRL play an essential role in assessing student learning effectiveness so that institutions and instructors can provide efficient support. Some prominent studies have found significant correlations between academic outcomes and overall SRL ( Cicchinelli et al., 2018 ; Pardo, Han, & Ellis, 2016 ) or the subscales such as time management ( Bruso & Stefaniak, 2016 ) and effort regulation ( Bruso & Stefaniak, 2016 ; Dunnigan, 2018 ). Facing the coronavirus lockdown, self-regulated online learners need to adapt to the learning settings and engage in the process of online learning to achieve the course goals. However, task strategies, monitoring progress, and evaluating goal accomplishment have not been extensively studied in the case of online learning during the coronavirus lockdown; thus, the present study explored forethought and the adaptive role of SROL.

2.3. Online learning ineffectiveness

Technology can help students overcome scheduling and location barriers to learning. Students' engagement primarily emphasizes the time and effort they put into online learning activities to achieve the desired learning effectiveness. Despite the benefits of online learning, facilitating students' learning on online platforms is still challenging ( Panigrahi, Srivastava, & Sharma, 2018 ). Magalhaes, Ferreira, Cunha, and Rosario (2020) found that most studies agree that online learning is beneficial to students' learning outcomes compared to traditional learning, but the learning effectiveness is arguable when using online learning systems ( Pye, Holt, Salzman, Bellucci, & Lombardi, 2015 ).

Previous research has shown that attempts by emerging adolescents to link with self-perception bias in taking positive outcomes as individual efforts but looking down external attributes ( Shepperd, Malone, & Sweeny, 2008 ). This “darker” aspect of the psychology of young people is related to prejudice in viewing social world by evaluating external performance as lower achieved ( Anderson & Cheers, 2018 ). Moreover, adolescents tend to “increase their endorsement of self-focused values and decrease their valuation of other-focused” behavior ( Daniel & Benish-Weisman, 2019 , p. 620). Because young people might have a particular response bias, we had the participants self-report their perceptions of ineffectiveness.

However, if online teachers and course designers wish to ensure effective online learning, it is important to understand the students' perceptions of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of online courses. Few studies have articulated the importance of perceived learning effectiveness which is likely to be biased due to response tendencies ( van Herk, Poortinga, & Verhallen, 2004 ). Considering this, this study adopted learning ineffectiveness instead of learning effectiveness for participants to self-rate their perceptions of their learning performance during the coronavirus lockdown.

3.1. Research model

Researchers have argued that the concept of active procrastination is an oxymoron because the psychological definition of procrastination is not only conceptualized as an act of delay but also as a form of self-regulatory failure ( Corkin, Yu, & Lindt, 2011 ). Therefore, active procrastination is not procrastination, but rather a form of purposeful delay ( Ferrari, 2010 ; Pychyl, 2009 ). However, other forms of procrastination exist in the psychological literature, where procrastination is deemed as “inherently maladaptive” ( Corkin et al., 2011 , p. 602). In the current study, we used trait-activation theory to support the research model, and used the term academic procrastination (AP) to represent inherently maladaptive procrastination as an individual trait rather than as an activator (active procrastination). Scheuble et al. (2019) posited that TAT can serve as the theoretical framework to explore how individual trait, AP, is related to perceived learning ineffectiveness (PLI) with the mediated effect of SROL: task strategy (TS), mood-adjustment (MA), self-evaluation (SE), environmental-structure (ES), time-management (TM), help-seeking (HS). Accordingly, the research model of this study is presented as follows ( Fig. 1 ).

Fig. 1

Research model.

3.2. Hypotheses

3.2.1. procrastination and srol.

Academic procrastination is a phenomenon that is highly related to other variables. Previous studies have stated that procrastination is a complex entanglement of affective, cognitive, and environmental constructs (e.g., Chow, 2011 ; Richardson, Abraham, & Bond, 2012 ; Steel, 2007 ; Ziegler & Opdenakker, 2018 ). Additionally, SRL is recognized as a crucial factor in online learning, and students' perceived academic control is an imperative antecedent of SRL ( You & Kang, 2014 ). However, students vary in the characteristics or dispositions that regulate their learning (e.g., Azevedo & Cromley, 2004 ; Bol & Garner, 2011 ). Among the characteristics, academic procrastination is a component that is highly associated with behavioral deficiencies in most SR models ( Loeffler et al., 2019 ). Thus, this study explored the relationship between academic procrastination and six SROL approaches (task-strategy, mood-adjustment, self-evaluation, environmental-structure, time-management, and help-seeking) during the coronavirus lockdown. The hypotheses are proposed as follows.

Academic procrastination is negatively related to task strategy in SROL.

Academic procrastination is negatively related to mood-adjustment in SROL.

Academic procrastination is negatively related to self-evaluation in SROL.

Academic procrastination is negatively related to environmental-structure in SROL.

Academic procrastination is negatively related to time-management in SROL.

Academic procrastination is negatively related to help-seeking in SROL.

3.2.2. SROL and learning ineffectiveness

The effect of SRL on course learning outcomes and academic achievement has been studied extensively ( Jansen, van Leeuwen, Janssen, Conijn, & Kester, 2020 ). Previous studies have revealed that the correlates between SRL and academic outcomes are positive across educational levels ( Broadbent & Poon, 2015 ; de Boer, Donker-Bergstra, Kostons, & Korpershoek, 2013 ). SRL interventions are designed to enhance students' monitoring of and reflection on their learning process to promote effectiveness (e.g., Dorrenbacher & Perels, 2016 ; Jansen et al., 2020 ). Furthermore, several studies have found that SRL can positively impact online course performance (e.g., Puzziferro, 2008 ). Despite the findings of measuring SRL in online contexts, the results concerning the relationships between SRL and academic outcomes have been mixed ( Jansen et al., 2020 ). However, few studies have extended the relationship between SROL components and learning ineffectiveness in online learning during the coronavirus lockdown. To investigate their correlations, the following hypotheses were proposed:

Task strategy in SROL is negatively related to learning ineffectiveness.

Mood-adjustment in SROL is negatively related to learning ineffectiveness.

Self-evaluation in SROL is negatively related to learning ineffectiveness.

Environmental-structure in SROL is negatively related to learning ineffectiveness.

Time-management in SROL is negatively related to learning ineffectiveness.

Help-seeking in SROL is negatively related to learning ineffectiveness.

3.2.3. Procrastination and learning ineffectiveness

Previous studies have revealed that online learning may have negative effects on students' learning behavior, especially when learning tasks are complex. In particular, when students exhibit procrastination behaviors, the negative effects include pressure to complete the course and assignments ( Alghamdi, Karpinski, Lepp, & Barkley, 2020 ). Online learning systems are perceived as a valuable teaching platform on which students who engage in their online learning work using SRL strategies are inclined to achieve higher grades than their counterparts who do not do online learning ( Fan, Xu, Cai, He, & Fan, 2017 ; Magalhaes et al., 2020 ). Despite this, Panigrahi et al.'s (2018) study pointed out a mixed result of using online learning to foster learning effectiveness, due to the disposition or background of the learners. It has been noted that more self-control is required in online education as compared to traditional classroom education ( Allen & Seaman, 2007 ). Thus, how students' procrastination is related to their learning ineffectiveness perceptions mediated by SROL during online learning during the coronavirus outbreak period was hypothesized as follows.

Academic procrastination is positively related to perceived online learning ineffectiveness mediated by SROL components.

3.3. Procedure and participants

The convenience sampling strategy was conducted and the sample for the study was recruited via professors who had joined the Global Chinese Association of Inquiry-based Learning social network. These professors texted the survey website to their students. The data were collected from April 1 to 15, 2020 and the subjects were college students who had engaged in online learning during the coronavirus outbreak in China. The total number of participants was 541. After deleting invalid responses, the final sample size was 531, with an 80% return rate. Among them, females accounted for 292 (55%) of the respondents, males for 238 (45%), and there were 178 graduates (33.5%) and 353 undergraduates (66.5%). The average number of online studying hours per day was 6.24 ( SD  = 1.56).

3.4. Statistical tools

Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) is a statistical technique used for analyzing the structural relationships between measured variables and latent constructs, especially when the model is multivariate or multilevel ( Astrachan, Patel, & Wanzenried, 2014 ). PLS-SEM was conducted in the current study since it is suitable for testing a theoretical framework from a prediction perspective ( Shmueli, 2010 ). In addition, this technique is considered as the preferred tool when the sample size is small ( Hair, Ringle, & Sarstedt, 2011 ). More specifically, the PLS-SEM minimum sample size is estimated using the “10-times rule” which assumes that the sample size should be greater than 10 times the maximum number of any latent variable in the model ( Kock & Hadaya, 2018 ). “Perceived learning ineffectiveness” in the current study has the largest number of items (7); therefore, according to the rule, as the sample size was greater than 70, PLS-SEM could be used for the data analysis.

4. Instruments

4.1. development of the questionnaire.

The questionnaire items were adapted from previous theories or researchers and were obtained by professionally translating the original items into Chinese using the forward-backward method three times to verify the accuracy of the translation and to ensure the face validity of the items. A 5-point Likert scale was employed with 1 indicating strongly disagree and 5 for strongly agree . Additionally, we performed first-order confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to examine the internal and external validity of the questionnaire ( Kline, 2015 ). We subsequently tested the reliability and validity of the constructs.

4.2. Measurement

4.2.1. srol measurement.

Adapted from Martinez-Lopez, Yot, Tuovila, and Perera-Rodríguez's (2017) six sub-constructs, this study designed five items for each sub-construct: Environment-structuring, Time-management, Help-seeking, Mood-adjustment, Self-evaluation and Task-strategy to evaluate the participants' SROL during the coronavirus lockdown. We designed four items for each SROL. For example, “Before learning online, I check the content I do not understand in order to ask questions during class” for task strategy, “Before learning online, I like to get my errands done to avoid being distracted during class” for Mood-adjustment; “To learn online, I pay attention to whether I am in a good mood or not, for example, feeling tired from eating too much” for self-evaluation; “Before learning online, I pay attention to whether the location is quiet for attending a lesson” for environmental structuring; “I allocate extra study time for my online courses because I know it is time-demanding” for time management; and “After learning online, I ask my classmates about the content I do not understand” for help-seeking.

4.2.2. Academic procrastination measurement

The items for this measurement were mainly adapted from Lay's General Procrastination Scale (GPS) ( Lay, 1992 ), which assessed trait-like tendencies to procrastinate across tasks. Moreover, taking procrastinators as disposed as a psychological trait, and they are likely to express negative emotions about procrastination ( Chen, Peng, et al., 2020 ; Chen, Zhang, et al., 2020 ). Accordingly, for the present study, we designed six items for assessing participants' academic procrastination. For example, “I often fool around before the homework deadline has arrived.”

4.2.3. Learning ineffectiveness measurement

Ruhland and Brewer (2001) claim that learning outcomes not only determine what students know, but should also the cognitive and affective development from learning experiences. Because adolescents endorse being self-focused and tend to view external resources negatively ( Daniel & Benish-Weisman, 2019 ), we decided to use ineffectiveness rather than effectiveness to ask students about their perceived performance regarding their online learning. Nine items were designed, including, “Since learning online, my mental state while studying has become worse.”

4.3. Item analysis

The first-order CFA was employed to test the internal validity of the items, and the factor loading value lower than 0.5 was used as the criterion to screen out the items ( Hair, Black, Babin, & Anderson, 2010 ). The results showed that 1 or 2 items needed to be deleted from each construct to meet the criteria by reducing the higher residual values in each construct. Finally, the number of items was seven for “Perceived learning ineffectiveness” and three for each of the remaining constructs: “Academic procrastination,” “Task-strategy,” “Mood-adjustment,” “Self-evaluation,” “Environmental structuring,” “Time-management” and “Help-seeking.”

In addition, the critical ratio was calculated for each item to examine the external validity and to check whether the item could be used to successfully distinguish the respondents in the high 27% and low 27% scoring groups ( Cor, 2016 ; Green & Salkind, 2004 ). Table 1 shows that all items have significant t values with good CR, indicating that they can differentiate the respondents from the different groups.

Reliability and validity analysis.

4.4. Construct reliability and validity analysis

Cronbach's α was conducted to examine the internal consistency in the scale items, where Cronbach's α is higher than 0.6. Composite reliability (CR) was conducted to examine the internal stability of the scale items. The CR value should be higher than 0.7 to be considered as an acceptable result ( Hair et al., 2010 ). Table 1 shows that all values meet the requirements, with Cronbach's α values from 0.73 to 0.94 across constructs, and CR values from 0.85 to 0.95.

As for convergent validity, factor loading (FL) values for all retained items were higher than the criterion of 0.5 ( Hair et al., 2010 ). Specifically, the FL values in “Academic procrastination” ranged from 0.83 to 0.89, “Task-strategy” from 0.89 to 0.92, “Mood-adjustment” from 0.81 to 0.82, “Self-evaluation” from 0.79 to 0.815, “Environmental structuring” from 0.86 to 0.92, “Time-management” from 0.77 to 0.88, “Help-seeking” from 0.66 to 0.89, and “Perceived learning ineffectiveness” from 0.85 to 0.89. Regarding average variance extracted (AVE), all AVE values were between 0.65 and 0.78 ( Table 1 ). They were all higher than the standard of 0.5, thus showing good convergent validity ( Hair et al., 2010 ). In addition, the AVE has often been used to assess discriminant validity. According to Hair et al. (2010) , the AVE square root of each latent construct should be higher than the absolute value of the Pearson correlation coefficient. If that is the case, construct discriminant validity is established (see Table 2 ).

Construct discriminate analysis.

We tested each hypothesis by computing the correlation coefficients between the latent constructs and their explanatory power using SmartPLS. Fig. 2 reveals that all of the β values were negative and reached a significant level, indicating that all correlations in the model were negative. As for the explanatory power of each latent endogenous variable, the R 2 values ranged from 0.44 to 0.87, indicating a high explanatory power, and the effect size f 2 was from 0.77 to 6.41, indicating a good effect size; thus, the paths between each variable are well verified.

Fig. 2

Verification of the research model.

The mediated effect of the research model was significant ( β  = −0.94***) with 95% CI from 0.89 to 0.98, which revealed that there was indeed a full mediating effect of the six components of SROL in the negative relationship between academic procrastination and perceived online learning ineffectiveness.

6. Discussion

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, an increasing number of students have had to study online, but how effective online learning actually is which is a source of disagreement. Due to active learning being essential to the online learning effect, we focused on academic procrastination to explore how it affected participants' SROL components and their perceptions of learning ineffectiveness. We adapted TAT to develop the conceptual framework and hypotheses, and used structural equation modeling to verify the research model. Taking academic procrastination as an individual trait, and six types of SROL as activators which affect the perception of online learning ineffectiveness, we found that procrastination can negatively predict the six components of SROL, which can in turn negatively predict perceived learning ineffectiveness. More details are described as follows.

In the academic domain, procrastination is a serious barrier preventing students from succeeding in their school work which requires learning mastery. Procrastination is the purposeful but needless delay in completing academic tasks ( Zhao & Elder, 2020 ). On the other hand, SRL is known as a critical factor for effective online learning. Thus, students' perceived academic control is an important antecedent of SRL ( You & Kang, 2014 ). Among the individual traits, academic procrastination is a component that is highly associated with behavioral deficiencies in most SR models ( Loeffler et al., 2019 ). Supporting this, we explored the relationship between academic procrastination and each of the six SROL components: task-strategy, mood-adjustment, self-evaluation, environmental-structure, time-management, and help-seeking during the coronavirus lockdown.

The results of this study revealed that participants with higher levels of SROL components would perceive lower levels of learning ineffectiveness; in other words, they were more positive about the effectiveness of their learning. In light of the importance of adopting SRL strategies during online learning, it is necessary to measure students' use of SRL strategies and to identify those students who are likely to put efforts into online courses ( Cicchinelli et al., 2018 ). SRL can enhance students' monitoring of and reflection on their learning process, which can promote their learning effectiveness ( Dorrenbacher & Perels, 2016 ). However, the results concerning the relationships between SRL and academic outcomes in the previous research have been mixed ( Jansen et al., 2020 ). To explore the correlates between SROL and the perception of online learning ineffectiveness in the context of facing the coronavirus lockdown, we assumed that self-regulated learners need foresight to adapt to the learning settings, and to engage in and evaluate their achievement in the process of online learning.

Procrastination has negative effects on learning behaviors by perceiving pressure to complete the course and assignments ( Alghamdi et al., 2020 ). Online learning systems are perceived as a useful teaching platform. Students who engage in online learning work and adopt positive SRL practices tend to achieve higher grades than their counterparts who do not engage in online learning ( Fan et al., 2017 ; Magalhaes et al., 2020 ). Supporting the above studies, the results of this study show that, during the coronavirus outbreak period, students' procrastination was related to their learning ineffectiveness perception mediated by SROL.

7. Conclusion

In online learning, students studying by themselves may have less spontaneous interactions, and there are concerns about the effectiveness or their learning. To understand this issue, we explored the correlations between individual academic procrastination, six types of SROL and online learning during the coronavirus lockdown. Briefly, the results indicated that participants with high levels of academic procrastination had low levels of SROL, leading to high perceived ineffectiveness of online learning.

7.1. Implications

Many researchers have indicated that SRL plays a critical role in online learning (e.g., Jansen et al., 2020 ). To promote the effectiveness of online learning, students' SRL should be activated based on the trait-activation-theory. However, since higher levels of academic procrastination can lead to lower levels of SROL, teachers may find some approaches to decrease students' procrastination, such as providing more reminder services if students do not do their online course work in time.

Another implication is that students who have less experience of using SROL strategies should pay attention to the items related to the six components listed in Table 1 as a checklist to regulate their SROL behavior. By using this checklist before or during online learning, the six components of SROL can be enhanced. Thus, their online learning ineffectiveness can be decreased.

7.2. Limitations and future study

Alghamdi et al. (2020) found that female students with higher levels of SRL experience had better academic performance than male students. They proposed that gender difference should be further studied in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. In the future, the gender impact should be taken into consideration. Moreover, we did not analyze the effect of the number of hours spent on online learning on the variables of participants' procrastination and SROL. It is suggested that future studies conduct a comparison to explore the effect of the number of hours spent on online learning with those components of SROL that may affect the perception of online learning effectiveness during the coronavirus lockdown.

Finally, students in China tend to encounter tremendous physical, emotional and psychological pressures from family and from teachers' high expectations. Such outside pressure might enforce their academic control; this may be why the participants in this study reported low levels of academic procrastination. Future studies may compare the level of academic procrastination across different cultures during the coronavirus lockdown in order to explore how academic procrastination influences the SROL of students from different cultures.

Finally, future studies may include academic procrastination as a predictor of perceived learning ineffectiveness to check if its multiple linear regression can confirm the essential nature of academic procrastination.

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Jon-Chao Hong: Conceptualization, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – review & editing. Yi-Fang Lee: Writing – review & editing, Validation, Software. Jian-Hong Ye: Data curation, Writing – original draft.


This study was financially supported by the Institute for Research Excellence in Learning Sciences of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) from The Featured Areas Research Center Program within the framework of the Higher Education Sprout Project by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taiwan.

Daniel Wong

Equipping Students to Be Successful and Happy

30 Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Find Motivation to Do Homework

Updated on January 24, 2023 By Daniel Wong 41 Comments


To stop procrastinating on homework, you need to find motivation to do the homework in the first place.

But first, you have to overcome feeling too overwhelmed to even start.

You know what it feels like when everything hits you at once, right?

You have three tests to study for and a math assignment due tomorrow.

And you’ve got a history report due the day after.

You tell yourself to get down to work. But with so much to do, you feel overwhelmed.

So you procrastinate.

You check your social media feed, watch a few videos, and get yourself a drink. But you know that none of this is bringing you closer to getting the work done.

Does this sound familiar?

Don’t worry – you are not alone. Procrastination is a problem that everyone faces, but there are ways around it.

By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to overcome procrastination and consistently find the motivation to do the homework .

So read on to discover 30 powerful tips to help you stop procrastinating on your homework.

Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the tips found here, plus  3 exclusive bonus tips that you’ll only find in the PDF.

How to stop procrastinating and motivate yourself to do your homework.

Procrastination when it comes to homework isn’t just an issue of laziness or a lack of motivation .

The following tips will help you to first address the root cause of your procrastination and then implement strategies to keep your motivation levels high.

1. Take a quiz to see how much you procrastinate.

The first step to changing your behavior is to become more self-aware.

How often do you procrastinate? What kinds of tasks do you tend to put off? Is procrastination a small or big problem for you?

To answer these questions, I suggest that you take this online quiz designed by Psychology Today .

2. Figure out why you’re procrastinating.

Procrastination is a complex issue that involves multiple factors.

Stop thinking of excuses for not doing your homework , and figure out what’s keeping you from getting started.

Are you procrastinating because:

Once you’ve identified exactly why you’re procrastinating, you can pick out the tips in this article that will get to the root of the problem.

3. Write down what you’re procrastinating on.

Students tend to procrastinate when they’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

But you might be surprised to discover that simply by writing down the specific tasks you’re putting off, the situation will feel more manageable.

It’s a quick solution, and it makes a real difference.

Give it a try and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.

4. Put your homework on your desk.


Here’s an even simpler idea.

Many times, the hardest part of getting your homework done is getting started.

It doesn’t require a lot of willpower to take out your homework and put it on your desk.

But once it’s sitting there in front of you, you’ll be much closer to actually getting down to work.

5. Break down the task into smaller steps.

This one trick will make any task seem more manageable.

For example, if you have a history report to write, you could break it down into the following steps:

Focus on just one step at a time. This way, you won’t need to motivate yourself to write the whole report at one go.

This is an important technique to use if you want to study smart and get more done .

6. Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines.

As a follow-up to Point #5, you can further combat procrastination by creating a timeline with specific deadlines.

Using the same example above, I’ve added deadlines to each of the steps:

Assigning specific dates creates a sense of urgency, which makes it more likely that you’ll keep to the deadlines.

7. Spend time with people who are focused and hardworking.

Jim Rohn famously said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

If you hang out with people who are motivated and hardworking, you’ll become more like them.

Likewise, if you hang out with people who continually procrastinate, you’ll become more like them too.

Motivation to do homework naturally increases when you surround yourself with the right people.

So choose your friends wisely. Find homework buddies who will influence you positively to become a straight-A student who leads a balanced life.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun! It just means that you and your friends know when it’s time to get down to work and when it’s time to enjoy yourselves.

8. Tell at least two or three people about the tasks you plan to complete.

Group of students

When you tell others about the tasks you intend to finish, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your plans.

This is called “accountability,” and it kicks in because you want to be seen as someone who keeps your word.

So if you know about this principle, why not use it to your advantage?

You could even ask a friend to be your accountability buddy. At the beginning of each day, you could text each other what you plan to work on that day.

Then at the end of the day, you could check in with each other to see if things went according to plan.

9. Change your environment .

Maybe it’s your environment that’s making you feel sluggish.

When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Or is your distracting computer within easy reach?

If your environment is part of your procrastination problem, then change it.

Sometimes all you need is a simple change of scenery. Bring your work to the dining room table and get it done there. Or head to a nearby café to complete your report.

10. Talk to people who have overcome their procrastination problem.

If you have friends who consistently win the battle with procrastination, learn from their experience.

What was the turning point for them? What tips and strategies do they use? What keeps them motivated?

Find all this out, and then apply the information to your own situation.

11. Decide on a reward to give yourself after you complete your task.

“Planned” rewards are a great way to motivate yourself to do your homework.

The reward doesn’t have to be something huge.

For instance, you might decide that after you finish 10 questions of your math homework, you get to watch your favorite TV show.

Or you might decide that after reading one chapter of your history textbook, you get to spend 10 minutes on Facebook.

By giving yourself a reward, you’ll feel more motivated to get through the task at hand.

12. Decide on a consequence you’ll impose on yourself if you don’t meet the deadline.


It’s important that you decide on what the consequence will be before you start working toward your goal.

As an example, you could tell your younger brother that you’ll give him $1 for every deadline you don’t meet (see Point #6).

Or you could decide that you’ll delete one game from your phone for every late homework submission.

Those consequences would probably be painful enough to help you get down to work, right?

13. Visualize success.

Take 30 seconds and imagine how you’ll feel when you finish your work.

What positive emotions will you experience?

Will you feel a sense of satisfaction from getting all your work done? Do you relish the freedom that comes with having some extra time on your hands when you’ve completed your homework?

This simple exercise of visualizing success may be enough to inspire you to start doing your assignment.

14. Visualize the process it will take to achieve that success.

Even more important than visualizing the outcome is visualizing the process it will take to achieve that outcome.

Research shows that focusing on the process is critical to success. If you’re procrastinating on a task, take a few moments to think about what you’ll need to do to complete it.

Visualize the following:

This kind of visualization is like practice for your mind.

Once you understand what’s necessary to achieve your goal, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get down to work with real focus. This is key to doing well in school .

15. Write down why you want to complete the task.


You’ll be more motivated when you’re clear about why you want to accomplish something.

To motivate yourself to do your homework, think about all the ways in which it’s a meaningful task.

So take a couple of minutes to write down the reasons. Here are some possible ones:

16. Write down the negative feelings you’ll have if you don’t complete the task.

If you don’t complete the assignment, you might feel disappointed or discouraged. You might even feel as if you’ve let your parents or your teacher – or even yourself – down.

It isn’t wise to dwell on these negative emotions for too long. But by imagining how you’ll feel if you don’t finish the task, you’ll realize how important it is that you get to work.

17. Do the hardest task first.

Most students will choose to do the easiest task first, rather than the hardest one. But this approach isn’t effective because it leaves the worst for last.

It’s more difficult to find motivation to do homework in less enjoyable subjects.

As Brian Tracy says , “Eat that frog!” By this, he means that you should always get your most difficult task out of the way at the beginning of the day.

If math is your least favorite subject, force yourself to complete your math homework first.

After doing so, you’ll feel a surge of motivation from knowing it’s finished. And you won’t procrastinate on your other homework because it will seem easier in comparison.

(On a separate note, check out these tips on how to get better at math if you’re struggling.)

18. Set a timer when doing your homework.

I recommend that you use a stopwatch for every homework session. (If you prefer, you could also use this online stopwatch or the Tomato Timer .)

Start the timer at the beginning of the session, and work in 30- to 45-minute blocks.

Using a timer creates a sense of urgency, which will help you fight off your urge to procrastinate.

When you know you only have to work for a short session, it will be easier to find motivation to complete your homework.

Tell yourself that you need to work hard until the timer goes off, and then you can take a break. (And then be sure to take that break!)

19. Eliminate distractions.

Here are some suggestions on how you can do this:

20. At the start of each day, write down the two to three Most Important Tasks (MITs) you want to accomplish.

Writing a list

This will enable you to prioritize your tasks. As Josh Kaufman explains , a Most Important Task (MIT) is a critical task that will help you to get significant results down the road.

Not all tasks are equally important. That’s why it’s vital that you identify your MITs, so that you can complete those as early in the day as possible.

What do you most need to get done today? That’s an MIT.

Get to work on it, then feel the satisfaction that comes from knowing it’s out of the way.

21. Focus on progress instead of perfection.

Perfectionism can destroy your motivation to do homework and keep you from starting important assignments.

Some students procrastinate because they’re waiting for the perfect time to start.

Others do so because they want to get their homework done perfectly. But they know this isn’t really possible – so they put off even getting started.

What’s the solution?

To focus on progress instead of perfection.

There’s never a perfect time for anything. Nor will you ever be able to complete your homework perfectly. But you can do your best, and that’s enough.

So concentrate on learning and improving, and turn this into a habit that you implement whenever you study .

22. Get organized.

Procrastination is common among students who are disorganized.

When you can’t remember which assignment is due when or which tests you have coming up, you’ll naturally feel confused. You’ll experience school- and test-related stress .

This, in turn, will lead to procrastination.

That’s why it’s crucial that you get organized. Here are some tips for doing this:

23. Stop saying “I have to” and start saying “I choose to.”

When you say things like “I have to write my essay” or “I have to finish my science assignment,” you’ll probably feel annoyed. You might be tempted to complain about your teachers or your school .

What’s the alternative?

To use the phrase “I choose to.”

The truth is, you don’t “have” to do anything.

You can choose not to write your essay; you’ll just run the risk of failing the class.

You can choose not to do your science assignment; you’ll just need to deal with your angry teacher.

When you say “I choose to do my homework,” you’ll feel empowered. This means you’ll be more motivated to study and to do what you ought to.

24. Clear your desk once a week.

Organized desk

Clutter can be demotivating. It also causes stress , which is often at the root of procrastination.

Hard to believe? Give it a try and see for yourself.

By clearing your desk, you’ll reduce stress and make your workspace more organized.

So set a recurring appointment to organize your workspace once a week for just 10 minutes. You’ll receive huge benefits in the long run!

25. If a task takes two minutes or less to complete, do it now.

This is a principle from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done .

You may notice that you tend to procrastinate when many tasks pile up. The way to prevent this from happening is to take care of the small but important tasks as soon as you have time.

Here are some examples of small two-minute tasks that you should do once you have a chance:

26. Finish one task before starting on the next.

You aren’t being productive when you switch between working on your literature essay, social studies report, and physics problem set – while also intermittently checking your phone.

Research shows that multitasking is less effective than doing one thing at a time. Multitasking may even damage your brain !

When it comes to overcoming procrastination, it’s better to stick with one task all the way through before starting on the next one.

You’ll get a sense of accomplishment when you finish the first assignment, which will give you a boost of inspiration as you move on to the next one.

27. Build your focus gradually.

You can’t win the battle against procrastination overnight; it takes time. This means that you need to build your focus progressively.

If you can only focus for 10 minutes at once, that’s fine. Start with three sessions of 10 minutes a day. After a week, increase it to three sessions of 15 minutes a day, and so on.

As the weeks go by, you’ll become far more focused than when you first started. And you’ll soon see how great that makes you feel.

28. Before you start work, write down three things you’re thankful for.


Gratitude improves your psychological health and increases your mental strength .

These factors are linked to motivation. The more you practice gratitude, the easier it will be to find motivation to do your homework. As such, it’s less likely that you’ll be a serial procrastinator.

Before you get down to work for the day, write down three things you’re thankful for. These could be simple things like good health, fine weather, or a loving family.

You could even do this in a “gratitude journal,” which you can then look back on whenever you need a shot of fresh appreciation for the good things in your life.

Either way, this short exercise will get you in the right mindset to be productive.

29. Get enough sleep.

For most people, this means getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. And teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night to function optimally.

What does sleep have to do with procrastination?

More than you might realize.

It’s almost impossible to feel motivated when you’re tired. And when you’re low on energy, your willpower is depleted too.

That’s why you give in to the temptation of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube videos more easily when you’re sleep-deprived.

Here are ways to get more sleep , and sleep better too:

30. Schedule appointments with yourself to complete your homework.

These appointments are specific blocks of time reserved for working on a report, assignment, or project. Scheduling appointments is effective because it makes the task more “official,” so you’re more likely to keep the appointment.

For example, you could schedule appointments such as:

Transform homework procrastination into homework motivation

Procrastination is a problem we all face.

But given that you’ve read all the way to here, I know you’re committed to overcoming this problem.

And now that you’re armed with these tips, you have all the tools you need to become more disciplined and focused .

By the way, please don’t feel as if you need to implement all the tips at once, because that would be too overwhelming.

Instead, I recommend that you focus on just a couple of tips a week, and make gradual progress. No rush!

Over time, you’ll realize that your habit of procrastination has been replaced by the habit of getting things done.

Now’s the time to get started on that process of transformation. 🙂

Like this article? Please share it with your friends.

Images: Student and books , Homework , Group of students , Consequences , Why , Writing a list , Organized desk , Gratitude

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January 19, 2016 at 11:53 am

Ur tips are rlly helpful. Thnkyou ! 🙂

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January 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

You’re welcome 🙂

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August 29, 2018 at 11:21 am

Thanks very much

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February 19, 2019 at 1:38 pm

The funny thing is while I was reading the first few steps of this article I was procrastinating on my homework….

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November 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm

same here! but now I actually want to get my stuff done… huh

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December 4, 2022 at 11:35 pm

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June 6, 2020 at 6:04 am

I love your articles

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January 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Thanks soo much. It’s almost like you could read my mind- when I felt so overwhelmed with the workload heap I had created for myself by procrastination, I know feel very motivated to tackle it out completely and replace that bad habit with the wonderful tips mentioned here! 🙂

January 21, 2016 at 8:04 pm

I’m glad to help 🙂

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January 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

You have shared great tips here. I especially like the point “Write down why you want to complete the task” because it is helpful to make us more motivated when we are clear about our goals

January 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Glad that you found the tips useful, John!

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January 29, 2016 at 1:22 am

Thank you very much for your wonderful tips!!! ☺☺☺

January 29, 2016 at 10:41 am

It’s my joy to help, Kabir 🙂

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February 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Always love your articles. Keep them up 🙂

February 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Thanks, Matthew 🙂

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February 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

There are quite a lot of things that you need to do in order to come out with flying colors while studying in a university away from your homeland. Procrastinating on homework is one of the major mistakes committed by students and these tips will help you to avoid them all and make yourself more efficient during your student life.

February 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Completely agreed, Leong Siew.

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October 5, 2018 at 12:52 am

Wow! thank you very much, I love it .

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November 2, 2018 at 10:45 am

You are helping me a lot.. thank you very much….😊

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November 6, 2018 at 5:19 pm

I’m procrastinating by reading this

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November 29, 2018 at 10:21 am

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January 8, 2021 at 3:38 am

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March 3, 2019 at 9:12 am

Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! Please keep up your excellent work!

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April 12, 2019 at 11:12 am

We should stop procrastinating.

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September 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Thank you so much for the tips:) i’ve been procrastinating since i started high schools and my grades were really bad “F” but the tips have made me a straight A student again.

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January 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm

Thanks for the tips, Daniel! They’re really useful! 😁

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April 10, 2020 at 2:15 pm

I have always stood first in my class. But procrastination has always been a very bad habit of mine which is why I lost marks for late submission .As an excuse for finding motivation for studying I would spend hours on the phone and I would eventually procrastinate. So I tried your tips and tricks today and they really worked.i am so glad and thankful for your help. 🇮🇳Love from India🇮🇳

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April 15, 2020 at 11:16 am

Well I’m gonna give this a shot it looks and sounds very helpful thank you guys I really needed this

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April 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! keep up your excellent work! May you give more useful content to us.

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May 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm

nice article thanks for your sharing.

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May 20, 2020 at 4:49 am

Thank you so much this helped me so much but I was wondering about like what if you just like being lazy and stuff and don’t feel like doing anything and you don’t want to tell anyone because you might annoy them and you just don’t want to add your problems and put another burden on theirs

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July 12, 2020 at 1:55 am

I’ve read many short procrastination tip articles and always thought they were stupid or overlooking the actual problem. ‘do this and this’ or that and that, and I sit there thinking I CAN’T. This article had some nice original tips that I actually followed and really did make me feel a bit better. Cheers, diving into what will probably be a 3 hour case study.

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August 22, 2020 at 10:14 pm

Nicely explain each tips and those are practical thanks for sharing. Dr.Achyut More

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November 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Thanks a lot! It was very helpful!

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November 15, 2020 at 9:11 am

I keep catching myself procrastinating today. I started reading this yesterday, but then I realized I was procrastinating, so I stopped to finish it today. Thank you for all the great tips.

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November 30, 2020 at 5:15 pm

Woow this is so great. Thanks so much Daniel

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December 3, 2020 at 3:13 am

These tips were very helpful!

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December 18, 2020 at 11:54 am

Procrastination is a major problem of mine, and this, this is very helpful. It is very motivational, now I think I can complete my work.

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December 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Daniel Wong: When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Me: Nope, my super-comfortable bed is one step away. (But I seriously can’t study anywhere else. If I go to the dining table, my mum would be right in front of me talking loudly on the phone with colleagues and other rooms is an absolute no. My mum doesn’t allow me to go outside. Please give me some suggestions. )

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September 19, 2022 at 12:14 pm

I would try and find some noise cancelling headphones to play some classical music or get some earbuds to ignore you mum lol

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March 1, 2021 at 5:46 pm

Thank you very much. I highly appreciate it.

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