Procrastination is one of those things that even the most well-organized and punctual fall victim to at some point or another. Think about the last time you found yourself watching television when you really should have been doing homework. While common, procrastination can have a detrimental impact on your life, including your grades.
It may come as no surprise that procrastination is a serious problem among students. Experts estimate that between 25 and 75 percent of college students put off doing their academic work on a regular basis. So why is it students fall into this deadly time trap? Researchers Ferrari, Johnson and McCown suggest that some cognitive distortions help contribute to this tendency to put important things off until the last moment.
Students tend to:
- Overestimate how much time is left to complete assignments
- Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future
- Underestimate how long various tasks will take to finish
- Mistakenly believe that they need to feel inspired or in the right frame of mind to begin an assignment
So what can students do to overcome procrastination and avoid the stress, anxiety and poor performance that comes from completing assignments at the last second? Researchers suggest that developing a schedule, carefully planning academic tasks, and improving time-management skills are all effective ways to cope with procrastination.
Some techniques you might try include making a list of assignments that must be completed and breaking each assignment down into manageable portions. Next, estimate how long it will take to complete each step and then double that number. Chances are good that it will take you longer than you think to complete each assignment. Finally, offer yourself some type of reward for each task you complete.
Learn more about the psychology of procrastination including why we tend to procrastinate and some of the excuses we use to justify this behavior. Not sure if procrastination is really a problem in your life? Take this quick procrastination quiz to get a better idea of the impact that procrastination has on your day-to-day existence. If you do struggle with this problem, be sure to check out our tips for overcoming procrastination.
Image by Renato Benicio