How to Avoid Procrastination and Burnout When Writing



As a college student, workflow can oftentimes feel like a series of ebbs and flows.Sometimes you’re on top of your game, cranking out schoolwork at the rate of a tsunami. Other days can feel like ‘low tide’ as burnout and procrastination increase levels of stress and decrease productivity.


Writing papers for college is something that essentially every student will face. This requires an immense amount of self-delegation as students at university level are regularly faced with heavy research requirements and harsh writing deadlines.

As someone who’s struggled with procrastination and burnout at school, I can confidently say that there are ways of getting past these roadblocks. The following tips will help you regain lost traction within your writing endeavors at school.

Set Your Goals and Priorities

You may already be buried in procrastination and experiencing levels of burnout right now, and that’s completely alright. While you may feel hopelessly stuck now, there are always ways to break the cycles of procrastination at school.  Fortunately, you can start breaking out of it, at this very moment!

An excellent starting point is to get a pen and notebook (or your text document of choice) and jot down the following:


  • Write exactly what needs done in detail.
  • What writing projects are you currently working on? Include what’s holding you back from completing each task or each phase or your writing.
  • Prioritize this list from most important to least, make sure deadlines and due dates at the front of your mind.
  • If you haven’t, try breaking writing projects into smaller, more attainable tasks–with that, you should now have an easy-to-follow plan of action.

If you are very behind on writing assignments you may have some long weekends of work ahead of you. Be willing to put forth a tremendous amount of effort to get caught up. Oftentimes this is the only way out.

But in the long run this effort always pays off. Focus on consistency within your writing workflow once you are at a good point again. Don’t let the procrastination bug bite you again!

Furthermore, this simple piece of advice from University of Alabama Birmingham is absolutely relevant in terms of becoming a more successful writer and student:

“Students must be mature, self-disciplined, organized, and have excellent time management skills to succeed.”

Related: 5 Ways to Deal with Fatigue for Busy Students

Give Yourself More Time Than You Think You Need

As students, we tend to overestimate our abilities. Keep in mind, just because you think you can complete a project in three days doesn’t mean you always will. You could get sick, the project might require more research than you estimated, or family could surprise you with a visit at an inconvenient time.

These are all important  when creating a threshold for your writing; give yourself some wiggle room to finish your projects! Do your best to overestimate timeframes. This will help guarantee that you have plenty of time to meet writing deadlines and can even spark extra motivation if you finish early.

Related: 7 Time Management Tips for College Success

Don’t Become a Workaholic

When feeling extra burnt out, take a step back and ask yourself: ‘Am I simply working too hard, or too much?”

Writing papers can result in hours upon hours of working without proper breaks or time to wind down, and detract from work. Be sure to have ample time for self-driven work and everything else in your life outside of work!

Take breaks throughout the day. Make time for your other hobbies and for self-care. Say no when you really don’t have time; don’t compromise if you don’t want to! Set boundaries like these for yourself, and paint your own masterpiece of a writing schedule.

Remember: scheduling out schoolwork requires balance and harmony.


If you’re someone who simply despises writing, keep your chin up and your attitude positive. Love it or hate it, writing at university level isn’t going away. So embrace the fact that you’ll have to write rather than loathing it.

Since college students call the shots when it comes to scheduling and completing schoolwork, it’s important to be mindful and urgent without becoming completely burned out. What other tips do you fellow freelancers have to alleviate procrastination and burn out?Finally, this can all look different from student to student so any and all suggestions are absolutely welcomed in the comment section. I encourage you to describe what’s worked for you to personally avoid getting behind or feeling burned out from writing college papers.

Robert Parmer is a freelance web writer and student of Boise State University. Outside of writing whenever he has spare time, Robert enjoys creating and recording music, caring for his pet cat, and commuting by bicycle whenever possible. Follow him on Twitter @robparmer

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