Procrastination. We’re all guilty of it. Every college student has fallen victim to procrastination at least once within their years as a student. It is completely normal to fall into the deep hole that is procrastination. I am currently fighting it myself as I write this article, along with putting off the three other projects I have due before Thanksgiving break.
One thing I’ve found myself leaning on when procrastinating is Netflix; a site that hands us access to multiple movies and TV shows on a silver platter. There are other ways to procrastinate on homework, such as video games, Hulu, books, music and cleaning; however, I am most familiar with getting sucked into Netflix’s portal. Still, why do we procrastinate? Is it because we’re lazy? Is it because we’re not motivated enough? Do we find things too difficult or too easy to complete? Why is it that we spend so much money on education, only to spend a majority of our time not doing homework? It is not because we have bad work ethics. Many researchers have made their own reasons for procrastination, but no one can agree on one reason as to why everyone falls into this trap called procrastination.
According to Oxford Learning’s article “Why do Students Procrastinate,” most students procrastinate because they are afraid of failure or because they think they can’t live up to expectations. Others just don’t see the importance in finishing their work. If you’re like me, it’s a mixture of everything listed above.
The feeling of being continuously suffocated by all the work that you have to do but also having no motivation to do any of it causes a problem. The thought process of “I’ll start working after the next episode” or “I wrote a paragraph, time to treat myself with an episode of my favorite show” gets out of hand too fast. Personally, I spend too much time doing anything but my work. If I can’t find anything on Netflix, then I go to YouTube. There’s another spiral that is waiting to get out of control.
First, I watch motivational videos, then three hours later I’ve gone off on a tangent and am watching giraffes fight or an interview with some unknown artist. Next thing I know, it’s the end of the day and my important projects remain unfinished.
Procrastination is ultimately the worst. It sets you up for failure. It doesn’t set you up to beat failure, it sets you up to lose.
However, there are ways to help prevent procrastination. According to the Washington Post’s article, “The Real Reasons You Procrastinate – and How to Stop,” researchers suggest that one of the most effective things that procrastinators can do is to forgive themselves. Forgiving yourself can reduce the guilt you feel about procrastinating, which they claim to be one of the main triggers to procrastinating.
Another thing that is recommended, is to recognize that you don’t have to be in the mood to do a certain task – just ignore how you feel and start doing it.
Think about what the next action is, break down the project into smaller steps. A little progress – no matter how small – can make you feel much better about the task and increase your self-esteem, which also decreases your desire to procrastinate. The analogy that Pychyl uses compares it to building a house. “Procrastinators are great visionaries – they love to fantasize about the beautiful mansion they will one day have built – but what they need to be are gritty construction workers, who methodically lay one brick after the other, day after day, without giving up, until a house is built.”