A fancy word for a not-so-fancy problem...
You've have started the new school year with good intentions, a positive mindset, and ready to go! This time, you will start studying earlier for your exams because you know that you will be very well-prepared if you work on it every day. You also decided to do your homework once you have gotten it because you want to be on top this year. You have your plan in place, and then… reality hits. Likewise, you are busy with classes, after-school activities, sports, and weekend plans. It is all too much; you feel overwhelmed and need a break, and suddenly, you start scrolling, texting your friend, or napping. On top of that, you decided not to do your homework or study for the exam because you "didn't feel like doing it right now!"
Does this sound familiar? Well, that is “procrastination” at its best. Procrastination is “delaying or putting off important tasks until the last minute (or past their deadline), often doing other less important/urgent activities.
What are our reasons? Here are a few you can choose from:
o Not knowing what needs to be done
o Not knowing how to do something
o Not wanting to do something
o Not caring if it gets done or not
o Not caring when something gets done
o Not feeling in the mood to do it
o Being in the habit of waiting until the last minute
o Believing that you work better under pressure
o Thinking that you can finish it at the last minute
o Lacking the initiative to get started
o Blaming sickness or poor health
o Waiting for the right moment
o Needing time to think about the task
o Delaying one task in favor of working on another
How many did you check? I am sure you could even come up with a few more…
Why are we (yes, I'm including myself) doing this? We do it to avoid negative feelings that we associate with the task. For example, boredom (who likes doing homework?), nervousness (nobody wants to talk about problems), or self-doubt (“I cannot do this…!”).
What is the result of procrastinating? That you feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and pressured. Now the deadline (if you are lucky enough to have one…) is looming over your head, and you find yourself “procrasti-scrolling” (scrolling through social media like a maniac), “procrasti-calling” (calling your friend/mom/sister) or “procrasti-cleaning” (you suddenly find yourself cleaning up your room). You do all this instead of doing the dreaded, and very important task.
What can you do?
1. Realize what you are doing, namely that you are procrastinating!
2. Take a few deep breaths
3. Think about what feeling/emotion you are trying to avoid. For a task (stress because of a huge homework project), a personal problem (sadness because you are postponing talking to your girlfriend/boyfriend to break up with her/him), or a social situation (you are anxious because you must attend the weekend activity, and you don’t know anyone yet).
4. Start doing one little thing to get closer to what you have to do
-homework: find out what the actual homework is (where did you write that down?)
-personal problem: check your agenda for a good time to talk to her/him
-social situation: find out when you need to be where
5. Once you have started, make a checklist of all the other steps you need to do, prioritize them, schedule them all into your agenda, and, if necessary, set alarms to remind yourself.
You are not alone in procrastinating! Talk with your friends and classmates about what solutions they have found to beat it, and share ideas.
I wish you a good non-procrastinating school-year!
Kind regards, Andrea