Why do we procrastinate?
With exam week (for me) just around the corner, I thought this might be a good topic to cover :)
Bad Things About Procrastination:
1. Your work is often sloppy.
2. It stresses you out.
3. People feel you are undependable.
4. The free time you gain is not enjoyable because of #2.
5. You develop bad habits for future education.
Good Things About Procrastination:
WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE? There's really nothing to be gained by it. Sure, you gain temporary free time, but there's always that little itch in the back of your mind that says "but remember, you still have an entire semester's worth of biology to cram into tomorrow"...And people stop trusting you to get your work done on time. I mean, maybe you always manage to pull together an A (*cough* ...like me... *cough*), but you and the people around you are constantly on edge, wondering if you'll make it this time. It's exciting for sure, but not healthy.
Let's look into psychology...
According to Dr. Kevin P Austin, "Most people assume that the reason that they procrastinate is because they lack will power....The reality is that people who procrastinate demonstrate quite a lot of will power for certain things. It is only when they experience emotional conflict about what they have to do that they procrastinate and the question of will power becomes an issue."
Dr. Austin suggests that people avoid doing a task because there are emotions involved that they don't want to feel. Maybe you'd rather NOT KNOW how deep you're sunk in chemistry. Maybe doing your chores feels like you're BEING CONTROLLED by your parents. Maybe you think sorting things out with your friend will just cause you MORE PAIN.
Dr. Austin goes into a lot of detail about the different categories of emotional struggle, but somehow I get the feeling you'd rather see the big picture ;) If you DO want to read his whole article, click HERE.
Greg Frost, another doctor of psychology, sums up procrastination in three simple reasons:
1. Perfectionism - "Some people have unrealistically high standards and expectations, and this causes them to procrastinate as they feel that they do not have the skills and abilities that are needed to complete it satisfactorily."
2. Anger - "The feelings of anger and resentment against them [your superiors, the ones who assigned the project] can translate into an unwillingness to do what they have assigned you to."
3. Negative thinking - "These are the people who constantly harbour thoughts that they are not good enough, or that they always fail, and are probably just stupid and incapable."
Which one are you? Well, I fall into the category of perfectionist to some degree. Everything I do has to be perfect, and the first time, too. My motto:
"If at first you don't succeed, hide all evidence that you ever tried."
My fear isn't that I cannot complete the project satisfactorily, though. Honestly, I know I can do stuff pretty well. Then I lean toward Dr. Autin's theory, that there are some emotions (being overwhelmed) I'd rather not feel/deal with.
So there you have it. We procrastinate not because it causes something GOOD, but because it avoids something BAD.
Categorize yourself, figure out why you procrastinate. Then (if you WANT to), you might be able to start turning in your homework/doing your chores/calling your friend on time.
Info taken from:
- Counseling Center
- Enzine @rticles