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One of the Worst Yet Very Common Monsters: Procrastination


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We have all done it. All of us have waited until the last minute, put it off, pushed it until tomorrow. Yet, we also know all the consequences. The guilt, the fear of not having enough time, the shame we feel. Nothing good ever comes from procrastination. Maybe a marathon on Netflix feels right at the time, but when you are faced with that test at 8am the next morning, you wish that you had done something more. Why is that voice in our head still there, urging us to put it off, when we know already it is the wrong thing to do? How can we make it stop?

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Many surveys have shown that up to 95% of students admit to procrastination. As you lay in bed watching “Stranger Things” on a school night, you are most likely not alone. It is common among students of all ages, at all stages in life–yes, it will follow you to college. It is a part of human nature to procrastinate. There are many psychological reasons why we do it. Studies have narrowed it down to about six, as listed below. As you read through them, maybe they will sound a little bit familiar…

 

  1. Lack of motivation. People wait for that spark of motivation in order to get the job done. Honestly, you are wasting your time. If you sit there and wait for that inspiration from the heavens to begin that paper, you will be left with a blank Word document forever. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Nobody ever wants to clean the house, pull the weeds, mow the lawn, or do other boring and tedious jobs. Often times, the best way to get motivated to do something is to just start it. Once you take that first step, you are more likely to take another one forward than another one back. So, next time you are sitting there staring at your computer screen, for goodness sake, just start writing SOMETHING!
  2. Lack of skills. People do not want to do the things they are not good at. This is alsological. Everybody wants to be the best at something, and if you are no good at something, you are less likely to do it. If you have bad study habits, slow reading comprehension, trouble with numbers, or whatever it may be, you cannot let that deter you from doing your work. Often times, it is better to practice those skills in order to make them better. So next time you are faced with a project you do not want to do because you believe you are bad at it, see it as a challenge to overcome, and once you are able to overcome it, you will be able to improve your skills.
  3. Lack of interest. People do not want to do the things they are not interested in. If you are a science person, you have more motivation to do your science homework than your English homework. If you are an English person, you will not want to do your math homework. In order to move past this, you could try to connect your subjects to what you are interested in. If you are faced with reading a novel but are interested in psychology, look at the book you are reading like a psychological experiment of experiencing the world through someone else’s eyes. If you like puzzles or critical thinking questions but have to analyze a poem, imagine you are trying to work out what the author is trying to say, looking for clues and cues just like solving a puzzle. If that doesn’t work, sometimes it is best to “just do it”. Just get the “boring” stuff over with so that you can move on to what you are truly interested in. You will be able to focus more on your interests instead of worrying about the dull projects.
  4. Fear of failure. People procrastinate in order to avoid “real failure”. When you procrastinate, you can use that as an excuse for why you failed. Imagine: You studied for a whole week before the test, and you receive a terrible grade. That failure will feel a lot worse than if you pulled an all-nighter and received a terrible grade. This does not make all-nighters okay. It is not wise to procrastinate this way. If you never put in that extra work, how do you know if you can succeed? It may be a risk because you might experience that true failure, but then you will be able to grow and learn from your true mistakes. We learned this in kindergarten: always do your best!
  5. Fear of success. The other side of the fear story is fear of success. Although it may sound irrational at first, it can make sense in some ways. If people succeed, there may be added pressure to meet that same level of success the next time. If people succeed who are not normally in the spotlight, they may not like the spotlight and will try to retreat. How do people avoid success? Procrastination. It can also help people cope with the idea that every one of us has felt at some point in life: I am not good enough. I do not deserve a good grade so I will procrastinate. In order to stop this procrastination habit, you have to remind yourself that this idea is not true. You are good enough! You deserve to succeed!
  6. Rebellion. People procrastinate because they feel it is a way of control. We are teenagers. Our lives are insane everyday, and many times we feel out of control. How do we get that sense of authority? We use our time how we want to. We procrastinate. However, this will not benefit you in the long run. When you procrastinate, although it may feel like a sense of power, it will soon turn into chaos. You will lose that sense of control when you do not get done what needs to get done. If you need more control in your life, use your time wisely and you will feel on top of the world.

 

Oh my look at the time! It’s almost midnight and I haven’t started my project due tomorrow! But look, just one more episode until I finish the season…STOP! Stop yourself right there. Don’t you dare click on “Continue Watching”. Just get your homework over with! You will feel instant relief after you do. You will be able to conquer that test or stand confidently to give your presentation, and your stress levels will begin to fall. It may seem like you have a mountain of homework to do, but that mountain will only grow as time goes on. Don’t let the monster of procrastination control your life. Get the job done!

 

To find out more and see where I found my information, check out these websites:

http://success.oregonstate.edu/learning/6-reasons-people-procrastinate

http://brandongaille.com/17-lazy-procrastination-statistics/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200308/procrastination-ten-things-know

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The Ursuline Chronicle:The student news magazine of Ursuline Academy
One of the Worst Yet Very Common Monsters: Procrastination