Ferson, Nathan P
Procrastination is defined as “the action of delaying or postponing something,” and for many students, procrastination is part of their educational lifestyle. In the minds of many teachers, the perfect student gets their homework done the day that it is assigned, but this is a pipe dream as many students leave work undone for days.
85 percent of students admit to having problems associated with procrastination according to a 2017 study and the percentage of students who routinely procrastinate has quadrupled in the last 30 years.
Students procrastinate for a multitude of reasons with many thinking that it’s less stressful to leave work for later then to do it as soon as possible and others doing it simply because they believe they do better work with their backs against the wall. “I usually do it the night before, sometimes I will do it right before class starts though.” senior Nathan Swetlow stated.
A student’s life is busy. From work to extracurriculars, students have to find time in between their daily activities to complete their homework and study for quizzes and tests. However, students don’t always use this time efficiently, with many choosing to devote that time to watching youtube, movies, playing video games, etc. The number one offender when it comes to time wasting is social media. Senior Yannis Eyob stated, “I spend about half of my day on social media because it’s such an easy distraction.”.
The average teen spends nearly six hours a day on social media and many of those six hours are spent in place of doing homework or studying. Video games and Youtube are also big time-wasters due to the lengthy nature of these activities.
Beyond the methods of procrastination, the deeper psychological traits that cause people to procrastinate give a better idea of the roots of the issue. Think of it like this, motivation and self control are the enemy of procrastination.
Self control helps you to know your limits with electronics and other time wasters, lessening the amount of time you spend procrastinating. Motivation works in accordance with self control by giving you the will to work well and work fast once your self control stops you from procrastinating.
Factors such as exhaustion, anxiety, and depression limit our motivation and self control. When negative factors like these outweigh our motivation and self control, procrastination occurs.
Negative factors such as exhaustion and anxiety are common among students who are forced to balance a heavy workload. “I struggle to get my homework done on time because I have a lot of after school activities” senior Ryan adams stated.
Among many students, fear for the future, or disconnect from one’s future goals create fear, anxiety, and ruin motivation and self control. There is a heavy emphasis on career choice and college from the beginning of high school and this long term pressure can give students an impending feeling of doom that leads to worrying and exhaustion.
The causes of procrastination are apparent, but what are the effects? Putting off important tasks can lead to them being forgotten or disregarded. If it gets out of hand, the “I’ll do it later” mentality can work against your career and life goals, making you miss deadlines or forcing you to turn in lackluster work. Procrastination in your schoolwork will most likely lead to more stress once the work piles up towards the due dates. The other option when facing a large pile of work is simply not to do it, and though this may seem crazy to some, it is a reality among many students who see the workload as insurmountable.
Beyond schoolwork, routine procrastinators will put off menial tasks like washing dishes and doing laundry, this leads to a messier lifestyle that feeds into procrastination and laziness.
Although procrastination can seem like an insurmountable habit, it’s not an illness without a cure. To overcome procrastination, we must first identify what about the work makes us not want to do it. If the workload is large, boring, difficult, and/or lacks immediate relevance to us, we tend to shy away from it in favor of another task that is more interesting or easy.
If the workload is large and tedious, try to split up the work into small increments with breaks in between. This can trick your mind into thinking the workload is less daunting. “I just don’t procrastinate, I always make sure my work is done in advance.” senior Veronica Gonzalez said.
If the workload is difficult and/or seems meaningless, find any small way to get started even if it means only taking the work out of your backpack.
Simply having the work in sight will make you more likely to do it. Other methods of overcoming procrastination include disconnecting from your electronics and eliminating distractions.
A mind can’t be fully focused unless there are no outside distractions.
As the school year gets into gear and assignments become more difficult, avoiding procrastination is a must for students.