Time to Stop Procrastinating

photograph by Bhumi Finding Herself - https://www.flickr.com/photos/bhumi/2099061195 - CC BY-ND 2.0 license

BY MEAGAN LAUDENSLAGER

I believe that everyone reading this can say that at one point in their lives they have procrastinated with something. Whether that thing be big, small, important or not, we have all become victims. There are two different types of procrastinators, the chronic procrastinator and the situational procrastinator.

Chronic procrastinators are known for consistently having problems finishing tasks. These are the types of people who start something with the full intention of finishing it, but not end up finishing the job. Situational procrastinators delay finishing selectively, based on the particular task at hand.

The classic to-do list – photograph by Meagan Laudenslager

Personally, I feel that I am a situational procrastinator. Depending on what it is I need to do, and when I need to do it by determines if I procrastinate or not. If I have something that isn’t due until the next week, I won’t do a thing until the night before it is due. I have come to realize throughout my years of school that this strategy doesn’t really work out too well, and I end up getting a bad grade on something.

Most people feel that they are negatively affected by procrastination. Whether the result is ending up not doing an assignment, or losing sleep the night before a big assignment is due, most think that if they didn’t procrastinate, the assignment would be completed better with more effort.

Sophomore Mike Cavanaugh acknowledges the negative effects of procrastination.  “There are some late nights, and I probably don’t get the grade that I should. I try to jam everything into one night, or I will forget it entirely, and that is a zero, and that affects everything.”

Even though most people realize how procrastination gets in the way of their best performance, it is still difficult for them to get the motivation to do something a week ahead of time. It is a lot easier to put something off to the last minute, because you get a break from your work at the moment.

Why Procrastinate?

Overall, people procrastinate with things that they don’t have a lot of interest in. If there is a subject in school that people don’t like, they will wait until the last possible moment to do the assignment that needs to be done. For things like packing for vacation, or practicing something that they love to do, they can’t wait, and go and do those things at the earliest time that is possible. So how can you fix a procrastination problem?

Organize Yourself

What sometimes helps for some people is that they organize before they start. Figure out what needs to be done the next day, and put those things as a priority. After that, decide how much of the other things that need to get done later is a good pace to get them done on time

Break the Work Into Segments

If you wait until the day before something is due, you end up with a lot more work, or possibly not getting the task done at all. The typical advice is to space things out based on when they are due, but that is easier said than done. You need to actually gain the momentum and want to do something. One thing that I sometimes try to do is keep to a schedule, and take breaks along the way of doing something. After doing one assignment, or working for a set amount of time, take a break.  Some people take a break after 30 minutes of working, giving themselves  5 or 10 minutes to regroup, and get a little bit of free time.

Create a System that Works for You

Personally, for homework, I get one subject done, and then depending how long that took to get done, take about half the time it took to complete the task off. But, with getting the things that need to get done sooner first, by the time all of those are done, I don’t really feel like doing any of the other work.

A strategy to avoid this problem is to start with the things that need to get done at a later date, and work on those for a set amount of time before starting the work that is due the next day. This way, after getting ahead, you have no choice but to keep working and get those things done.

The most sensible tip is simply to not procrastinate!  Start homework and things that need to get done as soon as possible. This way, it is over faster, and you don’t have to be worrying about things later when you are tired at night.

Even if these tips probably won’t solve all your procrastination problems,  hopefully they will get people like you and me to get a little better with getting things done in a faster and more efficient way.