How do I stop being so lazy and procrastinating

I have no motivation to do anything. Most of my time is spent on the internet, posting on this and other message boards, or watching videos on youtube. I spend a lot of time watching tv or movies or palying videogames too. I’m 21 and in college, and my schoolwork is my only responsibility now, for I have no job. I spend all my time procrastinating and I put off my work until the last minute and usually do a hurried ok job of it. Now and for the past week I have been on Spring Break, and I have some work to do, and a short essay to write. I spent most of this week not doing work, although often I complained of being bored. I just kept putting it off until now I have to do a lot of stuff hurriedly today and tomorrow probably staying up late, when I could have done it at a leisurely pace if I had spread it out throughout the week. I spent the past 7 days mostly just online and playing videogames. I waste all my time and I enjoy it then although I know I will regret it later and now I am mad at my past self. This has been the story of my entire college career. Whenever I have work, I put it off. Most of my essays I have written on the night before they were do. However, I still get good grades and I am able to skate through classes, so I have no reason to try harder. But eventually it will catch up to me and I won’t be able to keep it up. And I feel like I could be doing a better job on things, if only I put more time into it. I am letting everyone down (especially me). I am good at memorizing and I would like to think I am fairly smart, but because of that I can get through school without putting in very much effort, and that is now hurting me because I am not willing to put in the effort when I need to. Why is NHL '93 on sega genesis so much fun when I have homework due the next day? Even now I am posting here when I could be working on homework instead. I think I am just too lazy to succeed in life.

Just do it!

You know if you just force yourself to do things immediately, it will be done and you can fart around all you want the rest of the time. I was a big-time procrastinator going into college but I quickly discovered that if I just did all the work immediately after it was assigned, I could spend the rest of my considerable amount of free time smoking up and getting in trouble. Just sayin’…

I’ll tell you tomorrow…

Make an appointment with your college’s counselling center. They do a lot of anti-procrastination (anticrastination?) counselling, and they can help you figure out why you procrastinate in the first place (fear of failure / fear of success / perfectionism / laziness / something else) and how to get beyond it. You’re paying for the resource anyway, why not use it?

for a long time I have thought about going to the campus counselling services (for this and other reasons) but I am scared to talk to people and don’t know where it is (now I am just making excuses, but this is what I tell myself to talk myself out of going). I don’t know what I would say

“Someone told me you could help with procrastination, but I don’t know where to start.”

yeah everyone makes it seem so easy but I have a hard time talking to people (or maybe I am just making up excuses so I can continue to be lazy)

I think you’re asking the wrong crowd. :slight_smile:

Maybe you can email them instead? This is why mental health facilities often don’t work well in Western medicine: they rely on the person who has trouble taking initiative to take all the initiative.

Yeah but what else can you do? Call every single person and ask if they have trouble?

You know how when you catch a kid smoking and want to teach him a lesson, so you make him smoke cigarette after cigarette until he barfs? I think you need to do the same thing to cure yourself of laziness. You need to be so unbelievably lazy that it traumatizes you and you end up with a lifelong aversion to it.

So plant yourself on the couch, put your feet up, and don’t do anything. Go!

One problem is I never learn my lesson. Stay up all night the night before hurriedly writing the paper that is 25% of my grade, still pass the class with an A, why should I bother trying harder? Once I fail a class maybe I will learn something

They say one of the signatures of a genius is if they’re bored at school. You’re probably just too smart for your school. Can you maybe transfer to a harder school? I hear Harvard is pretty hard. If that’s still too easy you could maybe also get a degree in air conditioning repair on the side, because those guys make good money.

I’m not bored at school. I just don’t like writing papers. I just get scared of them because they are so daunting and put them off till too late. Or maybe I just don’t like them because they require more work.

Hmm, if you’re not bored then you’re probably not a genius. I’m pretty sure all geniuses are bored almost all the time.

Let’s try my plan A of overdosing on lazy and see how that goes.

You and I are a lot alike, PSXer.

Even though I still struggle with motivating myself, a big thing that has helped me is (bear with me) giving myself MORE things to do. I find that when I have like 10 things to get done, that worry that normally sets in the day before the exam sets in right away and I get all my things done with time to spare. If I have just one thing to do, I’ll totally put it off.

So, once I got a part-time job, my college grades actually went up, and I was enjoying life more.

If you try giving yourself more obligations (I don’t know, volunteer work, or sports, or a club, or whatever) then it could make you more motivated in general. Good luck!

If you’re getting A’s on your papers, I don’t really see a problem there. I do see a problem with procrastination with the other aspects of your life, though, since you want to change.

The problem is I can’t keep it up forever and as I get into higher-level classes I can’t keep getting As on papers done the night before. And I am not satisfied with my work even if I get an A; I feel I could write something better if I put more effort into it. I believe I am capable of being better and I am disappointing myself at least. And I don’t feel like this is the best way to do things: putting it off till the last minute. And maybe I should be doing more productive things than watching youtube. And when/if I go to the counseling services procrastination is just one thing I want to improve.

First, stop saying you’re lazy. Laziness is just the outer expression of something else: fear, depression, anger, etc.

Second, DrDrake was right about fear. The most powerful thing I ever read on the subject of procrastination was "Procrastination is not the problem - procrastination it is the neurotic solution you are using to deal with the real problem, which is anxiety." In other words, you are procrastinating to avoid dealing with something that you are scared of, the two most common being failure and success.

If you look at it from that perspective, you are much closer to finding out what drives it. Don’t ask “Why do I procrastinate?”, because you know: to deal with your anxiety. Ask yourself: what am I so anxious about that I am checking out to keep from dealing with it/feeling it/confronting it? And of course, if you procrastinate in a lot of areas, you are very likely to be anxious about a lot of things.

Focus on the fear, not what you do to cope with it.

A lot of habits that you can easily get by with in high school won’t sustain you no matter what college (or HVAC school) you go to.

Why don’t you set up a website for us that links to your paper assignment deadlines, and then post your drafts in advance. There’s sure to be someone here will check it and start pitting you being lazy and procrastinating until it’s done–in good time, we might hope.