I had some trouble focusing on school work this weekend so I went by the Academic Advising and Career Center to pick up a tip sheet on procrastination. It really helped me put things in perspective so I thought I would share it with you:
Student’s are especially vulnerable to procrastination because:
-they don’t have a supervisor overseeing their productivity
-rewards for effort are further in the future
-you have to apply yourself for four years before receiving the reward of a degree
Common Reasons for Procrastination:
Fear of Failure
-Students may set low goals to protect themselves from really trying and being disappointed if they should fail, but by procrastinating there is an increased likelihood of failure
Fear of success
-Once you have established a high standard for yourself you may feel a continued pressure to maintain that standard. This can be an overwhelming feeling
Disorganization/ Not Enough Information
-You may procrastinate if you don’t know where to begin
-A task may need to be broken down into component parts and goal sets
-Remember: “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Lack of Interest
-Students can lose interest in school for many reasons
-The course content may not capture your attention or personal issues may be interfering with your concentration
An Established Pattern
-The pattern of last minute projects may become a part of your study approach
-there is a tendency for such a pattern to become a problem
-if academic success is to be obtained it may be time to break the pattern
Solving the Problem
-You must first understand the reason behind your procrastination.
-the underlying reason may vary from course to course and a student may exhibit different symptoms at different times
Steps to begin solving the problem:
1. Identify the roadblocks posed by your time wasters, examine your rationale for procrastinating, and explore accompanying feelings
2. Pay Attention to self-talk : subconscious messages like “I have lots of time” or “I’ll do it later” lead many students into the Manana Trap. “Manana” means tomorrow in Spanish. Ask yourself why “later” is a better time to work on a specific task versus right now. Unless you have a rational reason for delaying: get started immediately!
3. Try the 5-Minute Plan: many students agree that the hardest aspect of completing a project is getting started. Next time you find yourself procrastinating, commit to working on the task for 5 minutes. Most of the resistance associated with that activity will decrease after working on it for 5 minute and at the end of that time you may feel yourself motivated to keep working.
The Importance of Rewards
Your old procrastination patterns can resurface from time to time. You may become discouraged and have a sense that change is impossible. You can help to foster change by incorporating rewards into your action plan. Take some time to explore both small and large rewards as part of your action plan to become a better time manager, and plan to implement these self motivators.
If you need to talk to someone about your personal study skills you can always drop by the Academic Advising and Career Center.
All the Best,