Procrastinators Unite Tomorrow

In the words of one of this country’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, “You may delay, but time will not.” This truism indicates that while life continues to move forward, with humanity making significant progress in various fields with each passing day, one issue perpetually looms over our heads. Halting advancement and stifling productivity is none other than procrastination.

A succinct yet precise definition of this word lies within its Latin roots; essentially, it is the act of putting things off until tomorrow. Although procrastination is not a valid medical disorder, it is nevertheless a problem that has plagued many, from the Average Joe to great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci. While statistics on this phenomenon are scarce, according to a 1992 study by Gallagher et al., 52 percent of students indicated that they needed a significant amount of help in dealing with procrastination. As the college lifestyle may strike many students as more relaxed, with a sudden decrease in actual assigned work and the lack of instructors checking up on each individual’s progress, many succumb to this habit. However, in the end, procrastination is not worth it and far from advantageous. An examination of its root causes and methods of prevention may provide further insight into how to overcome procrastination.

Perhaps the most common scenario for college students involves the easy availability of technology. While facing the daunting task of writing an essay, for example, thoughts may quickly wander from one place to the next such as checking school e-mail, updating Facebook statuses, to phone calls from friends to hanging out.

By the end of the week, many face the often insurmountable task of studying or completing an assignment that should have ideally been started the day it was assigned. Such scenarios inevitably prove to be inconvenient and put a great load of stress on the mind.

In an article from The Independent titled “Time Well Spent,” Natasha Sheikh presents helpful tips on combating procrastination. It is a fact that procrastination is more or less an addiction, one that needs to be overcome in order to more efficiently manage time. Sheikh states that giving oneself enough time to complete an assignment before its due date makes things far more manageable; it’s just a matter of breaking the cycle of putting things off.

It is certainly true that overall, time management will trump laziness any day in both its efficacy and the accompanying feeling of accomplishment. In her article, Sheikh encourages students not to “be fooled” by the allure of other activities while trying to finish up work. If one is focused on an undesirable task, it is only human nature to find alternatives to the inevitable, no matter how trivial or pointless they actually are. This is why the ability to pace oneself is also important.

“The prospect of sitting down and doing nothing, but write an essay for a few hours straight can be daunting enough to stop you doing it at all. So, make it more achievable by breaking it down,” Sheikh said.

If work is finished in steady increments rather than all at once, it refreshes the brain by providing a break from the subject matter. Plus, this strategy eliminates the burden of last-minute cramming if started ahead of time.

Ultimately, procrastination is just a feeble attempt at shirking responsibility. Why delay assignments that need to be completed regardless? Rather, it follows logically to stay on top of one’s work, which will essentially mean more free time to relax and hang out with friends after the weight of impending schoolwork is removed. Perhaps if more students had the foresight and determination to reap the rewards of good time management, all would more fully realize their potential.