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Procrastination—It’s Time to Let Go

Updated: Nov 16, 2023




Procrastination—the largest inhibitor of success amongst most students. Well, so it seems, anyways.


This menace has faced every student. Procrastination is manipulative. It is controlling. However, there is a way to fight it. Allow me to show you.


What is it?


Procrastination is the act of putting off tasks until just before their deadline, even to after the deadline. Those who procrastinate struggle with self-regulation. Pressure and urgency drive them.


At the very least, procrastination is irresponsible and decreases quality of work.


At the very worst, it can get you in big trouble in the corporate world—and, of course, in college.


The Psychology


Before I decided to study communication, specifically public relations, I wanted to study psychology. There is a history of psychology work in my close family—no doubt, I find it interesting.


Before we dive into it, just know that if you procrastinate, it isn’t as serious of an issue as I’ve made it out to be so far. Again, everyone has done it.


According to an article by Kendra Cherry, “around 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators.” Don’t fret if you’re in this 20%. The other 80% procrastinates, too. It just may not be as prominent of an issue for them.


Our minds are wired to be productive when we are motivated and inspired to do something. So, at its core, procrastination roots from the lack of motivation and inspiration. I mean, who wants to write that thesis—work on that one project that will take forever—or even sweep the house a little? These tasks are boring, and, if not boring, just a lot of work—work that you probably don’t want to do most of the time.


More specifically, the reason why you may be procrastinating is you don’t know how to approach your work—you, of course, don’t want to do it—or you simply don’t care enough about it.


You also may believe that you work better under pressure.


Thinking this way will get you nowhere. Before I get into detail on how to stop procrastinating, first, get out of that mindset.


You chronic procrastinators (the 20%) will be a tough egg to crack. But fear not—if you’re willing to put in the work to break this habit, this issue will be over-easy (I’m so sorry).


How to Stop


This blog is not going to be the cure to procrastination. The reduction of your procrastination depends on the implementation of good practices.


Some procrastinators procrastinate no matter the situation. Some procrastinate based on the situation. They come up with every possible way to keep…[themselves]…from taking action, that’s [what we call] creative avoidance,” according to an article by bestselling author, Roy Vaden.


Both types of people have an incorrect mindset, just some more severe than others.


To stop procrastinating, you have to re-program your brain.


Creative avoidance may not be as dangerous as what chronic procrastinators struggle with. However, it’s still a bad habit to follow with risks still present.


You can’t remind yourself of the potential consequences of procrastinating. When you decide to procrastinate, you are essentially arguing with yourself. Telling yourself that you may suffer bad consequences triggers your brain to respond with, “Well, you’ve done it before, and you’ve been fine.”


I mean, go for it, but you can learn the hard way when one day you fail an assignment or lose your job as a result of procrastinating (if you haven’t already).


The key to changing your mindset is not to flood your mind with what bad things could happen if you put things off, but what good things will happen if you don’t procrastinate.


In high school, I didn’t necessarily struggle with chronic procrastination to where I would be doing things at the last minute, but I sure did have the mindset that I will do my assignments when they closely approach the due date. It rarely got me in trouble, and I graduated with great grades. The time I spent procrastinating I would spend playing video games, watching movies, or getting sidetracked when attempting to do work.


There are so many things that I wish I could have done differently with my time, regardless of whether it had real consequences or not. I, too, was in a way, driven by the pressure of the due date.


Once I got into college, I decided to change that mindset and bad habit. Instead, I experimented. When the weekend came, I would do only a little bit of homework and studies on Saturday. On Sunday, however, since this day is a more uneventful day, I spent all day doing what homework I could get done for that entire week. Of course, I couldn’t just study for a test that was five days away only on Sunday, but I could get ahead on that research paper or that online quiz that I had enough material for already.


I spent several weekends doing this all while convincing my brain that this is the better route than procrastination. As a result of getting my work done as soon as possible (within reason), I had much more free time on my hands. I wasn’t ridden with guilt in this free time, either—guilt that would exist if I had been being unproductive with work needing to be done.


You see, when procrastinators end up doing their work, it is likely that they sidetrack themselves with scrolling on their phones or doing other unproductive things. What you don’t realize, is, that when you do that, your free time is mixed in with work and is wasted away.


Instead, work on convincing your brain that if you get a much done as possible as early as possible, you will have more genuine free time that you can spend. And, you won’t have to worry about that approaching due date.


Take small breaks in between your work. Your brain needs to be recharged, and your body needs to move.


I have created the mindset that I must get ahead, no matter what, so that I may have free time.


“The best decision you can make towards avoiding procrastination is to plan your days in advance,” says speaker, writer and entrepreneur Dean Bokhari. He’s right—planning what tasks you will complete that day can get your mind on track.


When he says to finish your day before it starts, I will go out on a limb and say to finish your week before it starts. Get ahead on that reading. Write as much of that paper as you can.


If you program your mind to want to get everything done as early as possible, I believe it will be very beneficial to you. I mean, who doesn’t like guilt-free, low-pressure time for self-care and fun?


Tackle those bad habits by convincing your mind that there are many more benefits to getting ahead because, well, there are. You’ll find that you become more responsible, more organized and better-off in general.


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