Why Do Today What You Can Put Off ‘Til Tomorrow?

By: Kristen Plahn and Chris Acampora

It is a week before the project is due, you’ve gotten all the supplies and are ready to get down to business and suddenly something catches your eye. It could be your phone, the TV, even your laptop. Suddenly the project that was once your main priority has gone to the back of your mind; it’s still there, just causing you a little bit of stress.

Now it’s been a full week of doing anything but that project. You become anxious, wanting t to do anything but that project, yet at the same time you know you have to. So, you pull out all those supplies, the rubric, the instructions, the notes, and then you have a small panic attack, knowing it’ll become another all-nighter like last time. When you finally finish at around three in the morning, giving yourself a measly two hours of down time, you scold yourself with one little word: procrastinator.

Yes, that is what you are (and don’t you deny it): a procrastinator. Maybe someday you’ll learn to just do your work and get everything done ahead of time, but for now, you’ll continue to put things off as long as you can.

Are YOU a Procrastinator? Do you:

1) Leave everything for the night before it is due?

2) Think that instead of looking up information, playing a game would be better?

3) Read a 500 page book and then write a three page essay about it in one night?

4) Get a panic attack just thinking about all the work you need to do?

5) Find that working under pressure helps you achieve your goal quicker?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you, my friend, are a procrastinator!

Wikipedia defines procrastination as “the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. (often accompanied by) the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.”

Some people become “pro procrastinators,” where their long history of procrastinating teaches them the skills they need to complete a weeklong project in one night, a monthlong essay in an afternoon, and a 400 page book in a weekend. The biggest aid to procrastination is holidays. Weeklong breaks, Thanksgiving and Halloween are the biggest culprits. Just think, you have to read that book over winter vacation. There’s snow, festivities, and so much to do; reading Charles Dickens suddenly becomes a lot less interesting.

There’s also the type of procrastination where, even on a fun project, you know you’ll have time to do it later. Always later.

Some teachers have found the dagger to stab in the heart of procrastination: check-in dates. It’s the simple solution to procrastination. Some who don’t struggle with procrastination may find these to be a nuisance, but these deadlines can save those of us who otherwise would put off everything until the final due date. We suggest that if your teacher doesn’t give you multiple due dates, create your own. The procrastinator in your mind won’t thank you, but maybe your tired body — weary of yet another all-nighter — will.

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