7 Key Differences Between a Productive & Lazy Student

First, let’s clarify what does ‘lazy’ actually mean? It is quite easy to put labels on people, especially when the cult of productivity is so trendy. Yet, productivity doesn’t always do good for those who can barely stop working or studying when trying to achieve their goals. For such people, giving in to laziness is a rescue sometimes.

Whether it is about deciding to simply take a day off or get help from professional paper writer at EssayPro to hand in the final paper in time, there are always benefits. You get the opportunity to get rid of the accumulated stress and have some time for self-care instead of reading notes, writing lengthy reports, and completing other tasks poorly.

The problems appear when avoiding tasks and missing work, classes, and important meetings becomes the new norm. Otherwise, laziness is not destructive but rather a sign that something should be changed. Meanwhile, the word ‘lazy’ has become some sort of negative characteristic, which is not always the case. One may feel reluctant to do something (or anything) for various reasons:

  • depression
  • physical or mental exhaustion
  • lack of motivation
  • the silver-platter kind of upbringing
  • just because it’s time to do nothing and relax

Yet, let’s discuss what distinguishes a chronically lazy student (who definitely needs to work on something from time to time) and their proactive counterpart.

Procrastination & Self-Discipline

Being productive doesn’t mean not procrastinating but knowing when to brace up and push yourself a bit. Let’s imagine you need to write an essay for tomorrow. The deadline is 2 pm. It’s not really long, just a couple of pages. You don’t need to research or read anything extra – just express your opinion and include a bit of analysis.

Whatever kind of student you are, you may procrastinate. Finally, those are just two pages you can write in the morning, can’t you? The difference is, though, in the result. A lazy student will either fail the deadline or submit poor work. A productive one will set the alarm, do their best to wake up earlier, and end up using their float time either to polish the essay or chill out.


Awareness of the tricks that help one focus on their studies is one of the most important aspects here. The internet has a range of recommendations for various types of people.

Whether you have a short attention span or struggle to complete tasks the way other students usually complete them, there are always tips that can help you out. And you can do it the old way – just ask your friends and parents how they get to concentrate on the important stuff. The secret of productive students is that they use these life hacks to their full extent and always look for new ones by experimenting.


Being flexible is also crucial. For example, in case you can’t properly study when someone is in your room – which occurs quite often if you live in a dorm – the ability to find a quiet and cozy place is above rubies. Otherwise, giving in to laziness is the most probable outcome.

It mustn’t be the local library – that’s a typical place, not all people like. Yet, there might be quiet hours in the canteen nearby or in your college. Use them to your benefit. That is what productive students do to make the best out of the situation, even if it is not really favorable.


Just like knowledge of lifehacks, goals may play the most crucial role when it comes to motivation to succeed in studies. How can one need an A if they do not have any clear plans or dreams? For a student without a goal, it’s just a grade that won’t mean anything, so why try? For the one who knows what they want, this is proof that they aced the subject and a boost of confidence. And even if they do not get the highest grade possible, it is a sign that there is still space for growth.

So, do set clear goals and deadlines for them. These can be a great source of motivation, which, if missing, often leads to procrastination and reluctance to make any effort.


The skill of planning is one of the main quirks of productive students. Whether it is about an electronic schedule, a physical planner, or just storing everything in your memory palace, it is important to plan your day. Otherwise, there will always be a number of things standing in the way of concentrating on the main tasks. It doesn’t mean you need to become a control freak, track every minute of your free time, and adhere to the schedule religiously. Yet, having one won’t let you lie around and watch Netflix all day long.

Fear & Response to It

Fear is one of the things that may unite some productive and lazy people, but there is still a but: they either fear different things or respond to those differences. When one tries – and sometimes succeeds – to keep up with lots of subjects, projects, and so on, they might do that in pursuit of good grades for the sake of someone’s appreciation. That is the fear of rejection.

In other cases, it is about the fear of not being good enough. For instance, not getting into the university or company of their dreams may be one’s worst nightmare.

So, lazy people may sabotage themselves or make little to no effort so that everything is clear in the end: of course, they didn’t get what they wanted – they did nothing deliberately. There is also another reason for them to sabotage their success – they think they will have to keep up with that same pace which they don’t have resources for.

On the contrary, proactive students may take great pains in order to get what they want and even be in denial of burnout. The fear of making a mistake also stands behind such decisions. So, here, it is important to acknowledge what exactly makes you drag behind or, vice versa, fall all over yourself. Usually, this destroys the fear or at least makes it less powerful.

State of Mind and Body

Lazy students are not necessarily spoiled kids who do not know how to make an effort. Health issues and personal problems may be so overwhelming that even a highly motivated student will give up trying. In turn, when facing issues, proactive students may try to get distracted from the problems and overload themselves.

Either way, if you are in any of those situations, do ask for help as soon as you feel that you can’t handle the pressure. When you are healthy, you are full of energy that can be used for your own good (just remember about the lifehacks and goal setting).


Well, now you know what differentiates productive and lazy students and even how to balance between these two guises. Remember that the latter is of utmost importance for your health and future. All work and no play do make Jack a dull boy, but who wants to be a mere toy?

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