Procrastination in College Students and Its Causes

We all have had the feeling. You return home from classes. You have many assignments to complete. There are tons of research and English papers to read. There are several essays to write. However, you have several days till the end of the deadline. In this situation, the most rational and practical decision is to do your tasks first and then proceed with personal activities. Yet, the reality most often does not appear what we want it to be. Whether you are a student from the USA or the UK, when having several days till the deadline, you will likely postpone the completion of the task till the time when there is no more postponing possible.  

The situation mentioned above happens to almost everyone. While you might think that you might be lazy or irresponsible, there is actually a scientific explanation for such behavior. Postponing important tasks is called procrastination. Often, suppose you deal with something important. In that case, there is a great chance that you will spend some time watching YouTube and reading Instagram posts instead before starting. By understanding the causes of procrastination, you can deal with it. We want to offer a professional and evidence-based explanation of what causes procrastination and provide you with tools that help you battle the beast. 

Know your enemy

If you think that procrastination affects only irresponsible people and does not have enough motivation, you are wrong. The expert opinion demonstrates that procrastination happens among the majority of students. According to the American Psychological Association, between 80 and 95 percent of learners face procrastination at some point in their studies. It would be best if you understood that procrastination is the act of delaying tasks until the last minute. Besides, you should know that procrastination is a natural part of a student’s life. 

As a psychological condition, procrastination can be active and passive. Passive procrastinators delay completing essential tasks because they have issues with making decisions and later acting upon them. To illustrate, if you have several papers to write and both tasks have the same deadline, you might procrastinate because of your inability to choose what paper to write first. In contrast, active procrastinators delay the completion of tasks on purpose. Such individuals like to work under pressure, which makes them more motivated. 

Informed means prepared

There is a great body of research dedicated to understanding the causes of procrastination. However, among them all, there are several ones worth mentioning first and foremost.

  1. Procrastination occurs most often in the realm of academics. Most students are not free from procrastination. Notably, the behavior occurs because learners often overestimate how much time they have until the deadline, especially with online assignments. You can see that procrastination is something that mostly affects students. It is safe to say that if you intend to go to college and enter an academic realm, you should be prepared to deal with procrastination.
  2. Physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion creates the foundation for procrastination to emerge. When you are tired, and when there are perhaps some family or personal concerns, likely, you won’t be able to properly focus on academic things. When something is bugging your mind, such an easy task as writing an essay comes with great effort. High academic overload and lack of sleep can result in exhaustion, which in turn translates into procrastination. 
  3. An inadequate work environment is also a major cause of procrastination. Having no dedicated space for learning or working means that you won’t be able to properly concentrate. Imagine yourself lying on the couch with a laptop. You need to write an essay, and the deadline is tomorrow. When lying and staring blankly into the screen, you notice a notification chiming on your phone. I can bet that you will be tempted to check that notification, and your attention will likely be carried away more than for several minutes. 

Practical tips to avoid procrastination 

Now, when you understand the causes of procrastination, it is time to equip you with the instruments that can help avoid it.

  • To avoid overload and exhaustion, you need to break tasks into smaller, more manageable parts. Being a student automatically means that you will have different assignments at the same time. Having all the tasks can be overwhelming. To avoid being overwhelmed, break more complex tasks into smaller parts, and soon you will see that even the most challenging obstacles can be easily overcome.
  • Don’t be shy to ask for external help. There are times when you can be overwhelmed with the ongoing tasks and responsibilities. It may seem that meeting the deadline for an assignment is almost impossible. When you find yourself in such a position, some experts can help. There are companies who will gladly have you for their customers. One such company has a team of dedicated professionals from CustomWritings website that can offer custom essay writing services ranging from the provision of a personalized order from scratch to top quality original reviews for a relatively cheap price. The service offers assistance and helps you relax and be sure that every given deadline can be met and there is no need to put important tasks for tomorrow.
  • Creating a study or work plan is a major remedy against procrastination. Just take a notebook and put down all the tasks and deadlines. Any research to make or review to be written. To any beginner writer (or even to professional writers), having a broader picture shows what assignments to prioritize and complete first. In such a case, knowing the deadlines, you can set a schedule for what tasks you should complete at once and what tasks you can postpone till later.
  • Eat, sleep, and exercise. To avoid physical, emotional, and psychological exhaustion, you need to constantly replenish your body’s resources. Having enough sleep is vital for a sound reason and proper focus. Nourishment grants you energy. Exercising is a major source of a good mood and motivation. You need to understand that writing an essay is mental work, and like with all types of work, you need time and resources to complete it. 


If you face procrastination, don’t blame yourself and don’t think of yourself as lazy and irresponsible. Procrastination is a natural thing, and it affects the majority of students. Remember, academic pressures, exhaustion, and improper study environment proved to be major causes of procrastination. In turn, having a schedule for completing your tasks, breaking the complex assignments into smaller parts, and sleeping enough can be simple tools for avoiding procrastination once and for all.