Most people have faced procrastination at one point in their lives. The trait has become a common denominator shared by almost all students globally. However, like many other bad habits, procrastination can be dealt with and managed properly.
The term procrastinate originates from the Latin word, ‘procrastinare’, which translates to putting off, or postponing work or any form of task. It does not necessarily just focus on neglecting tasks, as it can also describe delaying decision making.
Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not always intentional, therefore it can be unplanned for or unintended to occur. It is important to understand the implications posed by procrastination, in order to find solutions and methods to avoid it. In a student’s standpoint, procrastination can hinder the overall academic development and performance of a student.
According to a recent study, procrastination can be associated with certain negative personal characteristics, such as, “low self-esteem, low self-confidence, high perfectionism, competitive immobilism, dysfunctional impulsivity, depression, and anxiety.” These characteristics negatively impact an individual’s quality of life. For instance, a person may feel a loss of control over their own lives.
The consequences of procrastination may present themselves in a student’s academic life through missed deadlines, putting off studying for tests, or even as little as returning a book to the library.
One of the most influential parts in a student’s life encompass family. Research indicates that families who push their children, or pressure them into perfectionism, due to excessively high expectations, also push them (their children) towards procrastination. Therefore, the causes of procrastination are not only limited to internalized debilitation.
Moreover, there are practices that can help control your inclination to procrastinate. A good mindset to pick up is to focus on the bigger picture. People are usually consumed by what they can obtain or be rewarded within the present so much so that they often neglect the delayed gratification. This instance is defined as temporal discounting. Thus, studies have shown that individuals that focus more on the future rewards, are more likely to gain stronger self-control and regulation.
As mentioned earlier, perfectionism is tied to procrastination. Furthermore, people feel like their self-worth correlates with their performances, whether in an academic or professional level. Nevertheless, your self-worth is so much more than your accomplishments. You have your identity, family, friends, experiences, passions, and so much more. Therefore, do not reduce yourself to your performances and accomplishments.
Other ways you may cope with procrastination is through compensating for the time lost. A person that engages in active procrastination has planned ahead already for how they might face their issues. For example, some students work better under a ticking clock, others just organize and account for the lost time. However, it is important to note that both instances require you to know yourself very well.
You must think of your life as always developing, never stagnant. It is alright to be distracted sometimes, it’s natural. However, at the end of the day, the pace with which your life is moving is decided by you and what you choose to do.
Hendriksen, E., 2018. 5 Ways to Finally Stop Procrastinating. Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-be-yourself/201808/5-ways-finally-stop-procrastinating [Accessed January 17, 2021].
Reed, D.D. & Luiselli, J.K., 2011. Temporal discounting. Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development, pp.1474–1474.
Rosário, P. et al., 2009. Academic procrastination: associations with personal, school, and family variables. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 12(1), pp.118–127.