“I am so glad that I waited until the last minute to finish that project. It wasn’t stressful in the least bit”, said NO ONE EVER! Why do we do it? Or in this case why do we NOT do it? Procrastination is a productivity killer, time robber, and success mocker. Who would choose to affiliate with any of those descriptors? Yet, many of us are guilty of procrastinating or putting off today what we can do tomorrow.
As educators and those who study student success, we understand that historically, procrastination, AKA the “P word”, has plagued students across the country. It usually begins in middle school with projects, transitions to research papers in high school, and both in college. Students suffer often times when they choose to put off studying, writing, or prepping for upcoming assignments/tests. There are a few strategies that students can use to tackle their tendency to procrastinate. However, ultimately it is a choice students must be willing to make in order to stay on top of their responsibilities and assignments.
- USE TECHNOLOGY – Take advantage of the many devices, apps, and gadgets that will remind you of what and when something needs to be done. No more excuses about forgetfulness or “something came up”.
- ENLIST ACCOUNTABILITY NETWORK – engage your friends, family, and mentors in helping hold you accountable for getting the things done. Ask them to ASK you about approaching deadlines for assignments.
- CREATE REWARD SYSTEM – It’s ok to reward yourself for meeting deadlines and checking things off of your list…If you don’t, who else will? Do you enjoy Starbucks? Pedicure/manicure? Guilt-free time in the woods to hunt, fish, or hike? An out of town concert? Reward yourself with your pleasure of choice and make it appropriate for the goal you accomplished.
- POST CONSEQUENCES IN PLAIN SITE – The typical advice here is to post your list of to-dos where you can actively see it…I’m suggesting that you post the negative consequences “in plain site” that will result in you NOT doing the things. Some may include, feeling overwhelmed, having anxiety, being stressed out, overeating, making a bad grade, loss of scholarship, financial aid probation/suspension, missed social events, and the list goes on. Remind yourself that choosing to wait, will result in unpleasant consequences.
Students are under a lot of pressure these days to make the deans’ list, get the internship, log service hours, and work in order to help pay for rising college costs. Willfully procrastinating will only exacerbate the situation in a negative way. If you are there…in the middle of suffering from your past procrastinating ways…remember…there is always time to change your ways! Most importantly, try and keep a sense of humor. It will take some time, but if you commit to meeting those deadlines, one at a time, you will reap the benefit of feeling more at ease, less stressed out, and even learn better.
So…STOP PROCRASTINATING! Go DO what you need to do…but first…watch these videos!