Unless I take the first action step, the journey doesn’t begin.... In reality, all I need [to be a writer] is a ballpoint pen and a place mat or the back of a dry cleaning receipt... and the faith to stop procrastinating and take that first step in crafting an essay or article.
If we sit down to write an essay and find there is a lot to research, it is natural to feel a bit swamped. There are practical ways of solving this. If however you tend to lose direction, maybe reading books haphazardly without having a clear idea of how they can help you, you may get more and more overwhelmed until you put off starting the work altogether. Similarly if you have got all your work in a muddle, you may not know how to start getting it back in order.
Afterward, Sirois asked the test participants what they thought about the scenario. She found that procrastinators tended to say things like, “At least I went to the doctor before it really got worse.” This response, known as a downward counterfactual, reflects a desire to improve mood in the short term. At the same time, the procrastinators rarely made statements like, “If only I had gone to the doctor sooner.” That type of response, known as an upward counterfactual, embraces the tension of the moment in an attempt to learn something for the future. Simply put, procrastinators focused on how to make themselves feel better at the expense of drawing insight from what made them feel bad.
A few years ago, Sirois recruited about 80 students and assessed them for procrastination. The participants then read descriptions of stressful events, with some of the anxiety caused by unnecessary delay. In one scenario, a person returned from a sunny vacation to notice a suspicious mole, but put off going to the doctor for a long time, creating a worrisome situation.
A subsequent study, led by Tice, reinforced the dominant role played by mood in procrastination. In a 2001 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Tice and colleagues reported that students didn’t procrastinate before an intelligence test when primed to believe their mood was fixed. In contrast, when they thought their mood could change (and particularly when they were in a bad mood), they delayed practice until about the final minute. The findings suggested that self-control only succumbs to temptation when present emotions can be improved as a result.
Convincing evidence exists for both perspectives, which attempt to resolve the mysterious question - why do college students and people of all ages, alike, procrastinate?
One of the commonest problem worrying students is the tendency to put thing off until the last moment - or to beyond the last moment. Of course it is not only students who have trouble with this habit. Probably every one of us has tried to avoid some unpalatable task at some time - it is a natural human reaction. However university students are particularly vulnerable, possibly because of the amount of work expected of them, the lack of formal structure in university and the range of tempting distractions on campus.
We all have our own preferred way of working. If letting the tension build up a bit before you get started works well for you, then there is no reason you should change. However, if you get increasingly behind with your work and end up feeling wretched about yourself and your course the problem needs addressing. Counselors call the problem procrastination (from the Latin for "until tomorrow") and have given a lot of thought to why it happens and how to deal with it. Many people can and do break this habit, so read on if you need help.
8 Steps to defeat procrastination:1. Pick one area in which you find procrastination most annoying (homework, studying for tests)2. Begin small and progress as you experience success. Be patient. Establish your own deadlines. Be realistic in setting a timetable.3. Break the project into smaller parts. Chip away at it in small bites. Don’t wait for that “big chunk” of time.4. Set a definite beginning time. Yuu must break the inertia of inactivity. If getting started is especially troublesome, set a time for 10 or 15 minutes. Commit yourself to doing something on the project until the timer rings. Then you can decide whether to stop or continue. Chances are you will gain momentum and continue after the timer stops. If not, try another 10 minutes later in the day.5. Do the most important things first. Avoid the distractions of the trivial and routine tasks when a higher priority job is waiting in the wings. Examining each task in light of your goals will help you set priorities.6. Reward yourself for completing parts of a major task. It may be something as a 10-minute walk, a Coke, or a call. Contract with yourself for a big reward for completion of important tasks. A pizza, sleeping extra late on a weekend, or shopping for something may help motivate you to complete the job. Be nice to yourself.7. Avoid perfectionism. Excellence is a sufficient level of performance for most things in life, and for many tasks (a new hobby, cleaning your room) adequacy is all that is necessary. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. A good garden may have some weeds. You might double the amount of time spent typing a paper, attempting to get the spelling perfect. Could that extra time be better spent in another activity which will better help your grades? Probably so.8. Procrastination is a learned habit, and can supplanted with a more constructive habit, giving your greater control over your life. If procrastination has limited your achievements, do something about it now!
Do you feel you are letting yourself down by putting things off? Do you think of yourself as lazy and as a poor student? Do you compare yourself unfavorably with others because of your procrastinating?
If you answer yes to many of these questions, you may well have developed the habit of putting things off. Read on to learn why you do this and how to help yourself.
In this article, Gregg Krech draws on personal experience to illustrate how Morita Therapy can be utilized to coexist with fear, anxiety, indecision, and perfectionism and allow one to overcome procrastination and get things done.
Although the garden that Victoria tends today holds great meaning for her and others, the process of creating it was far different from what she had envisioned. At a critical point, despite her transcendent vision, she is forced to redesign her plan to meet the changing circumstances of the situation. Life rarely conforms to our plans for the future, at which point we must overcome procrastination and attachment to our ideas and meet the needs of the situation.