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Procrastination

PROCRASTINATION--this word brings to the surface different images for each of us. If you are among the gifted that are not severely afflicted, you may picture yourself lying under a tree, contentedly drinking a lemonade instead of mowing the lawn. However, if procrastination has been a problem for you, the images are probably not quite so pleasant: a desk so cluttered that you can hardly see it beneath the debris; pulling all- nighters to get ready for a test; a research paper that is even now waiting to be done; etc.

"Procrastination does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, sex, or ethnic origin" according to Burka and Yuen, authors of PROCRASTINATION: WHY YOU DO IT; WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.

Procrastination can be defined as "the behavior of postponing". How troublesome procrastination is to you determines the severity of the problem. For example, external consequences may range from paying a library fine for an overdue book to failing a course. Internal consequences can range from mild irritation to rather strong self-condemnation. So why do you procrastinate and what can you do about it? To learn more, read on.

Reasons for Procrastination
    • To avoid an assignment you cannot do thoroughly or perfectly.
    • Difficulty focusing on a task.
    • Magical "payoff" in being able to wait until the very last minute and be able to "pull it off".
    • To avoid something that provokes feelings of incompetence or powerlessness.
    • Need to be in the "right mood" to get work done.
    • "I'll save time and effort if I wait and get it done all at once".
    • "I know I can get this done at the last minute, because this approach has worked for me before".

Help for the Procrastinator

    • Learn to manage time efficiently.
    • Determine the time of day you are most effective.
    • Rely on your "feelings" or emotions to make appropriate choices, and learn to anticipate consequences.
    • Set up a reward system for yourself.
    • Modify tasks so they are more appropriate to your skills.
    • Set up artificial deadlines for yourself.
    • Seek assistance through the Counseling Center should it prove to be too difficult to change behaviors on your own.
    • Another alternative for dealing with procrastination would be to review the topics of Stress Management, Study Skills, and Time Management. These issues are covered in depth and can be located under the general heading Academic Success Services.