Procrastination: Why We Do It and How To Stop


Madelaine Patricia, Features Writer

Are you one of the many people guilty of procrastinating? Procrastination is one of those things we wish we didn’t do, but also something we can’t seem to stop. What causes procrastination, and what can we do to prevent it?

With midterm exams just around the corner, SHA students have incredibly large amounts of studying ahead of them. It almost seems unbearable to have to prepare for at least six different exams that cover five months’ worth of information, that will last more than an hour each, and that we take all in one week. Of course, thinking about this causes immense stress and anxiety, which simply makes us want to avoid getting started. But, somehow, we always find a way to manage it, don’t we? So wouldn’t everything be much easier if we stopped wasting valuable time worrying about how it will get done and procrastinating? Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done, but it really is simpler than we think.

It’s all about discipline and self-control. When we begin realizing we’re dreading doing something we have to do, such as studying, we’re setting ourselves up for a downward spiral of more negative thoughts that will just make it additionally difficult to begin. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that perfectionists tend to be major procrastinators, for they would rather continue to put off a certain task that stresses them out than risk doing poorly or falling short of their high expectations.

Preventing procrastination begins with managing your time. Although this can be difficult, it really is a huge help, and it gets easier with practice. This means planning ahead by using agendas and writing things down, eliminating distractions such as socializing with friends and spending time on electronics, and knowing your goals and what you want to accomplish.

It’s as simple as this: don’t wait until tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. Just begin. Procrastination is a cycle that we can end right away. The sooner we stop putting things off, the greater our chances are of succeeding, for we give ourselves more time to prepare and to do a finer job. Even if you procrastinate because you don’t know where or how to begin, starting as early as possible gives you the room to figure these things out.

When you think about it, procrastination only adds to the stress of it all, and sometimes is more maddening than the task itself. We can save ourselves a lot of time and aggravation by telling ourselves to get started right away whether we like it or not, because it will only do us good in the long run.