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Fighting procrastination: the disease of achievement

by Tori Martinez - Managing Editor
Tue, Nov 7th 2017 09:00 pm
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College is a stressful balancing act of work and play. If it hasn’t been before, it’s now completely up to you to do your work and get where you need to be on time. It’s four or so years of juggling class, homework, extracurriculars, friends, work — everything that comes with the freedom of doing what you want. There’s no one else to rely on.

Whetherornotyoualready developed the bad habit, college is the prime-time to instill procrastination into your daily schedule. It’s not necessarily that you want it there, and you definitely don’t need it there, but it’s easy to incorporate.

We justify our procrastination by saying that we work well under pressure, which is true, but it’s probably because we have no other choice at that point. In reality, we’re stressed, anxious and rushing.

With extra time on our hands, we could have looked the assignment over and fixed anything that might have given us a better grade, or at the very least, relaxed and had more free time to do what we really wanted to do. It’s not always easy to break bad habits, but if you can admit that you need to fix something about yourself, you can take steps to stop procrastinating.

Kenna Griffin, a professor at Oklahoma City University, hosted a session at the CMA/ ACP Fall National College Media

Photos from pexels.com PUSH THROUGH One of the biggest struggles faced by college students is procrastination.While the typical response to having a full course load would betostressout(above,left),themoreproductiveresponsewouldbetomakea

plan to help get work done so you have more free time (above, right).

about yourself in two different ways: your Present Self and Future Self. When you set a long-term goal for yourself, you imagine what your life will be like in the future, and your Future Self is happy. But your Future Self can only set goals, while your Present Self takes action.

Clear writes, “When the time comes to make a decision, you are no longer making a choice for your Future Self. Now you are in the present moment, and your brain is thinking about the Present Self.Researchershavediscovered that the Present Self really likes instant gratification, not long-term payoff.” Thus, procrastination.

Clear suggests finding ways to make your future rewards and consequences become present rewards and consequences. He uses the example of writing a paper. It isn’t until the day before the paper is due that you feel the present consequences of procrastinating.

One way of turning your future plans into present plans is by holding yourself accountable to someone for your actions. For example, make plans to hang out with your friend or significant other after you get an assignment done. If you don’t finish the assignment, then you can’t go out, and now two people are sad. Knowing that you let not only yourself down, but someone close to you, is motivating.

Clear also suggests The Ivy Lee Method, a five-step productivity system.

One: at the end of each day,

write down no more than six important things you need to accomplish the next day. Two: prioritize those items in order of importance. Three: when you get to it, concentrate on only the first task, working on the next task only when the first is completed. Four: continue with the process for step three until you’re done with all your tasks; finish any incomplete tasks first thing the next day if necessary. Five: repeat this process every working day. This makes each task or assignment you have seem doable, making it easier to complete on time and help prevent the stress and anxiety that leads to procrastination. Clear has a multitude of articles on his website that go into detail about the science behind procrastination, as well as more tips to overcome procrastination. You can visit jamesclear.com for more.

Procrastination is not an easy thing to overcome. By setting goals, creating calendars and to-do lists and holding yourself accountable, you’ll set yourself on the right track to at least prevent it as much as possible.

Finishing work at the last minute in college is not always inevitable, but it’s possible to get most of it done in a timely fashion. Remind your Present Self that your Present and Future Self will thank you for completing your responsibilities, allowing yourself to relax at the end of the day.

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