Procrastination Nation

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.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/10/11/later

Halle Van De Hey

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8 thoughts on “Procrastination Nation

  1. I would also call myself a procrastinator.But my motive for procrastination I think works in my benefit. I am convinced that my best work comes from procrastination. I think that because I procrastinated I am then forced to get it done and done well. Where as if I start on it long before the deadline I will get very distracted.

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  2. I procrastinate a lot. I’m always used to a deadline it is almost like a game. My most clutch work come when I’m against a clock almost like I’m playing basketball again. I would consider my work pretty good even though i procrastinate.

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  3. I have always been a procrastonator, but it’s not always a bad thing. There is a method in engineering called ‘least commitment.’ The idea behind the method is that you keep exploring your options until you no longer can. You don’t make a decision until you have to. This allows you to have as muh information as you can before you make your decision. While this doesn’t necessarily apply to everything, I have better learned content the day before the homework is due, or found a much more interesting topic a couple days before a paper is due. To me, this makes sense as a reason to put something off, especially with external deadlines.
    Dylan Nourse

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  4. I also procrastinate due to the pure stress and anxiety that accompanies turning in an assignment. I often get distracted if I begin too early because I have a million and one other things I need to be doing and I tend to focus on the things that I need to do now versus the things that could wait to be completed. I also had a professor my second semester of my freshman year here that gave our class a decent sized project due a short time before finals. My friend and I decided to start working early so we wouldn’t be slammed for finals and we were almost finished when our professor decided to change the guidelines because he was sure no one had started working on it yet. My friend and I wasted our time because we didn’t procrastinate. Procrastination may be dangerous, but in my experience it leads to higher productivity.

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  5. I am definitely a procrastinator myself when it comes to school work. I agree with you when you said that we don’t do it because we don’t want to face the doubt or anxiety that comes with the homework. I also procrastinate when I know that I have a week to do an assignment. If I believe that it is an easy assignment and I can get it done quickly, I put it off. I ask myself why I put it off and I realize it’s because I feel relaxed and assured that I will get the assignment done in time and that I will do it well. On the other hand, if I am assigned a difficult assignment, I put it off for the reason that you explained, not wanting to deal with the anxious feeling of overwhelming critical thinking and work. I like this topic and I believe many people can relate to it.
    -Traci Alig

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