Overcoming procrastination

By Narena Nerahoo 24 and Jenna Bruckman 24

The word “procrastination” is derived from the Latin verb procrastinare, meaning to put off until tomorrow. 

However, according to Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology and member of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa, procrastination is more than voluntarily delaying a task. He describes procrastination as being an emotion regulation problem in which people tend to be more focused on “the immediate urgency of managing negative moods” than performing the necessary task. 

So what is it that causes 80% to 95% of college students to be chronic procrastinators, according to the American College Health Association/National College Health Assessment survey?

Researchers say that students who procrastinate tend to overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks and how motivated they will be in the future. They also underestimate how long certain activities take to finish and wrongly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind to complete a task. For example, we’ve procrastinated writing this article and it has taken us over a month to finish. 

So how can you overcome procrastination? There are many things you can do to fight your procrastination tendencies. 

  • Make a to-do list with a due date next to each task and break down the items on your list into smaller, more manageable steps so that your tasks don’t seem so overwhelming. 
  • Pay special attention to any thoughts of procrastination. If you begin to consider procrastinating, force yourself to spend a few minutes working on your task. 
  • Eliminate your distractions.
  • Identify what pulls your attention away from the task at hand, like your phone or TV, and turn off these sources of distraction. 

For more tips and help dealing with procrastination, visit: https://www.mindtools.com/a5plzk8/how-to-stop-procrastinating