“Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” My school motto:
Quote from Charles Schulz, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” A song about homework: “I work best under pressure, and if I wait until tomorrow, there’ll be lots of pressure.” Ah, I remember it well.
“Rule your mind, or it will rule you,” Horace said.
Why do people procrastinate?
From the New York Times, Smarter Living Section Charlotte Lieberman
March 25, 2019
“Over time, chronic procrastination has not only productivity costs but measurably destructive effects on our mental and physical health, including chronic stress, general psychological distress, low life satisfaction, symptoms of depression and anxiety, poor health behaviors, chronic illness and even hypertension and cardiovascular disease.”
But we procrastinate to feel better?
Procrastination is a perfect example of present bias, our hard-wired tendency to prioritize short-term needs ahead of long-term ones. If it seems ironic that we procrastinate to avoid negative feelings but end up feeling even worse, that’s because it is. And once again, we have evolution to thank.
Long ago, when I was a High School and College student, I was in the habit of frequently procrastinating. However, I did not put off every school assignment. I procrastinated completing assignments and Subjects I found unpleasant for me. In addition, as a young man, I coped with depression and anxiety. Avoiding or delaying school work were failed ways to reduce those symptoms. The result was that I experienced increased anxiety and depression.
So why do we procrastinate? There are many reasons, but some of the most common include:
- Fear of failure: We may procrastinate because we fear failing at a task. This fear can be especially strong if we have a history of failing at similar tasks.
- Perfectionism: We may also procrastinate because we want to do a task perfectly, which can lead to spending so much time trying to make the task perfect we need to do it.
- Boredom: Sometimes, we procrastinate because we find the task at hand to be boring. Boredom can be especially true if the task is challenging.
- Lack of motivation: We may also procrastinate if we are not motivated to do the task. The lack of motivation can happen for various reasons, such as being tired, feeling overwhelmed, or simply not caring about the task.
Whatever the reason, procrastination can harm our lives. It can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. It can also hurt our relationships, careers, and academic performance.
Procrastination is a serious problem for college students. It is easy to put something off until later, thinking you have plenty of time to get to it. However, waiting too long will compromise quality.
It is reported that some college students spend up to one-third of their time on procrastination-related activities. Many of these students know that their procrastination habit is a serious problem; they don’t know how to overcome it.
How did I overcome my procrastination? Psychotherapy was enormously helpful.