Why Do We Procrastinate, and How to Stop It? If you’ve found this article while avoiding your work and lists of tasks you need to complete, you’re in the right place. Now, have you ever wondered why you leave tasks for the last minute? You set your priorities, keep a to-do list in mind, and find yourself doing all these other things. For instance, you catch yourself googling top-rated horror movies, calling your best friend, or even playing with your cat. After that, you glance at the clock and realize the day is over with little to nothing accomplished. Students often have a difficult time battling procrastination. Procrastination is what leaves you feeling guilty or regretful about the decisions you’ve made throughout the day.
Although there are many ways to change habits, procrastination is one of the major obstacles that students face every day. It is a student's responsibility to work efficiently and to meet their deadlines. Procrastination is often the reason students fall behind in class. In Tim Urban’s TED Talk, “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator,” he outlines the definition, mechanics, and consequences of procrastination. He then reveals that everyone is a procrastinator and encourages us to think more about what we procrastinate on, before running out of time.
What Causes Us to Procrastinate? The main cause of procrastination isn’t laziness. According to the New York Times article, “Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control)” by Charlotte Lieberman, she stated, “We must realize that, at its core, procrastination is about emotions, not productivity”. Therefore, it is due to our bad moods. For example, having anxiety or dreading a task can lead to procrastinating. You find your task boring, frustrating, or rather difficult and you want to take a 5-minute break on socials and the 5 minutes become hours, it’s already late and time for bed and there goes another day of you saving things for later. It is easier to avoid these tasks than to complete them right away. Another reason we procrastinate is that we feel the need to have to feel inspired or in the mood to work on the task. By doing so, all tasks will be delayed, and chances are you won’t find that inspiration easily for every task you have. In addition, some people procrastinate because they believe that they work better under pressure which is usually not the case.
Overcoming Procrastination First, a good way to start is to be aware that you procrastinate and to further understand why you do it. How do you expect yourself to overcome an issue that you don’t fully comprehend? Next, make a schedule: this way you have your tasks assigned for certain times and cannot just skip them. Eliminating surrounding distractions could help tremendously. Break down your tasks, splitting them up and making them less intimidating so that they are easier to complete. Motivating yourself is always helpful: there is no benefit in telling yourself that you are a failure for not getting done your tasks when you should. Do not give up so easily, but do not make excuses for yourself. Commitment to the task you are doing helps put effort and focus on each individual task. Lastly, reward yourself. Giving yourself something to look forward to after you complete a task could motivate you. Knowing the causes of procrastination and the ways to overcome them promotes self-awareness. Even though procrastination is a student's (or anyone’s) biggest enemy, it can still be conquered: today, not later, and not tomorrow.