“I will do it tomorrow.” Those five simple words can have a big impact on a student’s future.
In other words, if you procrastinate, other underlying issues could be associated with your physical well-being.
Many adults describe the reason behind procrastination in students as being “lazy,” but this is not the case. In Clarry Lay’s 1986 article “At Last, My Research Article on Procrastination”, published in the Journal of Research on Personality, he noted that procrastinator behavior is independent of need for achievement, energy, or self-esteem. In other words, you may be a procrastinator even if you’re confident in your own abilities, energetic, and enjoy achieving things (Overcoming Procrastination: Manage Your Time. Get It All Done, n.d). Without any exaggeration, procrastination can be categorized as an addiction. In short, addiction uses a substance or engages in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeat the activity, despite detrimental consequences (What is Addiction?, n.d). One may argue that if addiction provides pleasure, then how procrastination can fall into that category if it causes anxiety and depression. In response, every addiction has negative symptoms and consequences. In my experience, the climax of pleasure is received when finishing the assignment last minute and getting a decent grade on it. It gives the student a feeling of “rush” and pride. Similar was discussed in the article listed on Psychology Today. Also, some students state that they procrastinate because their best work is produced when they are in a hurry to finish. The challenge to finish a task at the last moment provides motivation to the student.
Although procrastination can provide a moment of pleasure, it has long-lasting periods of negativity as well. As a current high school student who procrastinated for years, I can state that it negatively affected me physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. First of all, it critically affects a change in our health. Truthfully, there have been times where cramming has been a success, but it is nothing compared to the many times I have failed. The ratio will always remain disproportionate. I remember when I would sit in my chair for hours trying to write a ten-page essay in a day when it was assigned a month ago. The pressure would cause me to have back pain, constant depression, and aggression towards my family and friends who tried to contact me during my moments of cramming. Also, I can admit to having emotional breakdowns as well. This included uncontrollably crying from sudden realization of not being able to finish on time. I would always seem to be battling with time, but finally the day came where I had to battle with the real problem, my addiction.
No one should feel threatened from trying to change because it will help them reach their goals. With a strong will, anyone’s life can be organized like a stack of books. Moreover, it will bring happiness when the student proudly looks back to their past and is glad to have made the right decision. The path will always bring success.
The first step of changing is to admit the habit and understand its negative consequences. Often, procrastinators attempt to avoid the anxiety or worry aroused by a tough task with activities aimed at repairing their mood, such as checking Facebook or taking a nap. But the pattern, which researchers call “giving in to feel good,” makes procrastinators feel worse later, when they face the consequences of missing a deadline or making a hasty, last-minute effort, says Timothy Pychyl (rhymes with Mitchell), an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and a researcher on the topic (Shellenbarger, 2014). Therefore, the key is to make organized schedules and try to avoid distractions during times of work. The distractions may include: watching television shows/movies, using your phone, chatting with friends and family, and having sudden urges to eat. These activities can be done as a reward after finishing the “to-do” list. You may not be surprised to learn that procrastinators tend to be self-critical. So, as you consider your procrastination and struggle to develop different work habits, try to be gentle with yourself. Punishing yourself if every time you realize you have put something off won’t help you change. Rewarding yourself when you make progress will (Procrastination, n.d). Finally, a student should use motivation to change. A motivation can be a wonderful psychological phenomenon if used for the correct reason. This plan will not only control procrastination, but will further a student’s ambitions to succeed and boost their self-confidence. All addictions have negative consequences, but it is our choice to control them to be able to grow and develop into a successful individual.
Originally published on the Zealousness blog in 2015. Revised and updated in 2022.
Read more personal development related articles on Zealousness blog Personal Development – iN Education Inc. (ineducationonline.org)
- What is Addiction? (n.d). Retrieved July 18, 2014, from Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/addiction
- Overcoming Procrastination: Manage Your Time. Get It All Done. (n.d). Retrieved July 18, 2014, from Mind Tools: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_96.htm
- Shellenbarger, S. (2014, Jan 7). To Stop Procrastinating, Look to Science of Mood Repair. Retrieved July 18, 2014, from The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303933104579306664120892036
- Procrastination. (n.d). Retrieved July 18, 2014, from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/procrastination/
- “(PDF) the Nature of Procrastination: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review of Quintessential Self-Regulatory Failure. Psychol Bull 133: 65-94.” n.d. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6598646_The_nature_of_procrastination_a_meta-analytic_and_theoretical_review_of_quintessential_self-regulatory_failure_Psychol_Bull_133_65-94.