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Hello, My Name Is… and I am a Procrastinator – Tips on How to Manage the Challenges of Putting Things Off During the School Year!

the-eleventh-hour-1254207_1920Have you ever waited until the last minute to complete a task?  Do you recall a moment where you were rushing to finish a project, paper, etc. the night before it was due?  You may be a procrastinator.

Merriam- Webster defines procrastinate as ” to be slow or late about doing something that should be done: to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it because you are lazy, etc.

I always said back in my school days that I procrastinated because I worked best under pressure. I have heard many other fellow procrastinators say the same thing; however, if I examined why I delayed the inevitable I believe it boils down to two main reasons.

  1. I’m scared of failing.
  2. I don’t know where to begin.

If I fear failure, as I often have my entire life I limit myself from trying altogether. Back when I was in school, I would push off a paper because I feared I would get a poor grade on the assignment, especially if that mark would make up a huge chunk of my final grade. Hindsight is always 20/20- I recognized putting off a paper or project out of fear of getting a poor grade was correlating to me getting a poor grade. If I had jumped into the paper or project, I could have had more time to work on it which would have only assisted in getting me a better mark.

The second reason I would put off school projects or papers was that I wouldn’t know where to begin. The biggest issue with waiting until the last minute because I didn’t know where to start, is that I couldn’t ask for help without the teacher knowing I had waited until the last minute. I could have asked for help if I had begun earlier, and the teacher would have been able to assist me if I was struggling with a starting point.

Procrastination may work out sometimes; I won’t pretend like it doesn’t; however, maintaining that approach may one day bite you in the butt. Therefore, how can procrastinators correct this bad habit, so it doesn’t cost you in the long run?

  1. Plan and Chunk: The best advice I ever received was to plan out your projects/papers/ etc. and break it into pieces. One issue procrastinators have (myself included) is they look at the big picture instead of all the little details and therefore, the task looks unmanageable. If you break the big picture down into small chunks, you then find yourself completing smaller more manageable tasks.
  2. List it out: Number One and Number Two go together. Once you have planned and chunked your project, write it all down so as you complete it you can check it or cross it off your list. I have found it to be the best feeling in the world when you can cross an item off your list and visibly see your list getting smaller.
  3. Turn off distractions: I remember when I was writing my Master’s thesis, I would put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode so no one could text or call me. While it was a challenge, it helped me to stay focused. Procrastinators need to remove any and all distractions. By doing so they will be able to stay more focused.
  4. Treat Yourself: Give yourself an incentive to complete the task, whether at different milestones or when it is all done. It will make doing the work more enjoyable and gives you something to look forward to as you complete the project/paper/etc.

Procrastinators delay completing tasks for different reasons, take a moment and examine why you procrastinate? I challenge you to figure out what works best for you to complete your tasks. Don’t make procrastination a bad habit you can’t shake!

 

Have a great week,

Abigail R. C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Apprentice

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