Monday, July 12, 2010

Why do it now when I could do it later?

Procrastination. Most people I know suffer from it. I have come to believe that I may possibly be one of the worst procrastinator to exist. At almost no point in my academic career have I ever started a project or paper in a timely fashion. On nearly every occasion, I start andfinish the assignment the night before it is due. Don't get me wrong, I do think about the assignment and the task that needs to be completed but I always find some excuse to put it off. Take for instance our blog posts. I know that I have to complete them and know that if I don't, my grade will suffer. I tell myself everyday that I need to start my work and that once its done, I can breathe easy. Instead I decide that the stress I'll feel from doing the assignment is better left for another day.

So why do people procrastinate? According to the book "The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt- Free Play" there is anxiety that is often associated with starting or c
ompleting a task. In order to alleviate that anxiety, we use procrastination as a coping mechanism. Often, we will engage in behaviors that relieve the anxiety associated with the task. My favorite procrastination activities are usually associated with friends, television, or the internet.

If I have a project due date of a month away, I usually will think of what I'm going to do when the project or paper is assigned. About a week or two later I'll begin to tell myself that I should begin to work on the project in an effort to finish early and reduce some of the stress in my life. I usually tell myself that I am going to dedicate a night to my assignment and at least get half of it done. However, this almost never happens. If I talk to one of my friends I'll usually as them what their doing, which leads to us going out for a drink and the project never getting started. If my friends are busy and I make it to the point where I sit down to start the assignment, I usually turn on the TV. If there is nothing on TV, I usually find something to do on the internet. Facebook is a great way to pass the time. Finding out about all of the things happening in your "friends" lives can take up hours of your time. Before you know it, there goes another night when the assignment doesn't get started.

It is also thought that people procrastinate because they are perfectionists. According to the research done by Jason McGarvey of Penn State University, a perfectionist negatively evaluates their own performance and fears a poor evaluation by others. This is the exact reason why I procrastinate. I think that the work I am going to do is not going to be well received by others and therefore put it off till the last possible minute.

My theory is that I have received good grades throughout college and high school procrastinating the entire time so something must be working. I think I work well under pressure which adds to the reason I procrastinate. Like T. Bert Lance once said "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."


  1. Yup, that's me. I agree with the book. I know that I put things off so that I don't have to the anxiety in the begining, but in doing so I give myself more anxiety waiting until the last minute! I need to fix that.

  2. I love this post about procrastination. I thought I would be motivated more from this class to not procrastinate. but working fulltime over the summer, I was like time crunching every assignment. Maybe it will help for next semester

  3. I agree procrasination has really been something that I have been struggling with my entire life. Now that I am older I have acknowledged my problem and really try to stay on top of the task at hand.