The act of procrastination is something we hear about on a daily basis. Many believe people procrastinate because they are lazy or they lack ambition or motivation. There are times where I can agree that that is true, not only for myself or others, but I believe there is actually a much larger reason for why many people procrastinate, even with day to day activities. Parrot discusses the act of procrastination as it relates to health in chapter three, but I believe of her points do not solely relate to heath and health procrastination. The tendency to procrastinate “raises fundamental philosophical and physiological issues.” In the article “Later”, from The New Yorker, my belief on procrastination is not only fully supported, but also exponentially expanded on, although I believe much of it can be summed up in that partial sentence I just quoted. As research into the roots of procrastination delves deeper, psychologists, philosophers and economics are all uncovering the implications of this mental paralytic.
My personal views on procrastination are based on the idea that the gap of time that seems to elongate as my motivation dwindles is extremely anxiety inducing. Researches have posed the idea that procrastination is a form of self-preservation, especially for people with perfectionist tendencies or a damaging fear of failure. In order to post-pone feelings of inadequacy and failure, we procrastinate tasks that require great amounts of our mental and physical effort to execute to our own personal standards. I’ve often found myself not daring to begin an essay or start a project because I don’t want to face my own doubt and anxiety. At times, this feeling can be particularly debilitating. As my fear of failure grows, so do my workload and my deadlines; as a college student, this is a horrible correlation.
While external tools like deadlines are effective in policing the inner conflict, added pressure and consequence has several drawbacks. The problem is that as my deadlines come closer and closer, I undergo immense amounts of psychological stress. While results are achieved and projects are completed, there is a mental cost attached. To exacerbate the problem, the cycle of procrastination, guilt, and stress continues on and becomes more damaging as self-worth and self-efficacy dwindle. This, in turn, worsens my procrastination, which creates a knock on effect on my anxiety. The sad fact is that I’m sure a large fraction of college students can relate to this. While I think that a more tailored approach to each student’s capabilities and areas of interest would help reduce the fear of failure, I still don’t quite know how to grapple with procrastination induced anxiety. ‘Tomorrow’ always seems like a better idea, until ‘tomorrow’ actually comes. It seems that in order to reduce my anxiety, I just need to convince my brain that.
Halle Van De Hey