What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished.  Procrastination has a high potential for painful consequences.  It interferes with the academic and personal success of students.  It is a fear of failure, a fear of the unknown, or the fear of success itself because that success carries added responsibilities.  Chronic procrastinators usually are the students who end up dropping out of college.  Procrastination is a BAD HABIT!

Negative Impact of Procrastination, JUST DO IT OR ELSE

Procrastination drains away time and energy and leaves us with self doubt.  It results in a form of self-punishment due to excessive feelings of guilt, grief, depression, anxiety, or indecisiveness.  It is a self made form of escapism (much like addictions.)

Positive Factors of Procrastination

Procrastination allows us to maintain a temporary status quo; therefore, we can avoid new responsibilities and personal growth.  It temporarily reduces the time we spend on unpleasant projects.  It allows us to retain a temporary sense of control.  It temporarily provides us an excuse for miserable performance.  Perfectionists often use procrastination as an excuse for failure to live up to their unbelievably high and unrealistic self expectations.  Perfectionists who use procrastination set themselves up for continued rejection and putdowns.  They deny themselves peace of mind, resulting in a sense of failure and low self-esteem.  Give yourself permission to do a "good job" instead of an "absolutely perfect job."

How to Overcome Procrastination

  1. Take care of yourself.  You cannot complete projects if your physically and mentally exhausted.  Keep fit.  Form intimate/meaningful relationships with others.  Work harder to fulfill a sense of self worth.
  2. Develop a different state of mind.  Learn to accept change and risk.  Helen Keller once stated, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."  Believe you can, and you will change.  Learning to judge your own capabilities demonstrates that you have the strength to accept life's challenges.  Look at failure as your opportunity to discover that future successes lie in another strategy or direction.
  3. Break a bad habit with a good habit.  Change requires action.  You have to act different to be different.  Insight and understanding change nothing.  Identify your goals, strengths, values, and priorities and compare them to your actions.  Do something to begin your tasks.  Consider making a progress chart and update it every time you finish segments of a task or when you complete a task.

Several Specific Tips to Move from Procrastination to Action

  1. Wake up an hour earlier each day to make a plan or daily schedule of activities.  Use good time management skills.
  2. Memorize Action TNT:  Action Today Not Tomorrow.
  3. Finish what you start.  Make the task meaningful and reward yourself when it is completed.
  4. Choose to keep a positive attitude.
  5. Limit watching television.
  6. Make a list of five necessary and unpleasant tasks.  Give each a completion date.
  7. Seek out and talk to a successful role model.
  8. View problems as normal indications of change in progress.

If you need further information, please contact Psychological Counseling Services by telephone at (304) 788-6976 or simply stop by the office located on the base floor of the Health Center.