Why do students procrastinate? Five problems and how to fix them…….DON’T read this later!

Actually….maybe I’ll wait a few hours until I start writing this?

As a student currently going through exams, procrastination’s ugly face has yet again appeared as the biggest hurdle to overcome in terms of going from average to good to great specifically in terms of overall grades. Not only for myself, but for many other students this has been a reoccurring theme over the duration of high school and university yet we continue never to address the situation as a whole despite the inevitability of this happening in the future. Instead, we attempt to navigate the murky waters at night without a light in the hope we don’t run into any trouble along the way and come out okay on the other side.

In my personal experiences, there have been five defining factors as to what has lead me to procrastinate and with them, five realizations that can be utilized and practiced to combat procrastination head on.

So without any further ado…if any of these apply to you then make sure you pay attention!

Problem 1:

We see certain projects or tasks as one big mountain and say NO THANK YOU!

Fix: Divide into smaller tasks and achieve something at least minimal each time you work on it

Have you ever been given a task at work, an assignment at university or 20 chapters to study for your final exam? Chances are you have and chances are also that everything else in the world apart from working at the task has suddenly become that much more interesting. Our natural tendency is to complete a task in its entirety no matter what it is…to an extent. To overcome this, simply write down the big task and all that must be done to achieve it and divide that up into an attainable time frame of completion. Consistency through continuous progression is key to overcoming this first problem.

Problem 2:

We are either scared of failure or don’t fully understand the consequences of our lack of doing!

Fix: Face the fear head on…I guarantee you will be better off in the future otherwise you will find out the consequences

Our fear of failure unfortunately dictates a majority of our decisions as well as our uncertainty avoidance when it comes to risk vs reward. We procrastinate due to this fear controlling our emotions and beliefs as all we know is that we will “fail” not what can come with it. I have particularly learnt that facing any uncomfortable or stressful situation face to face has prepared me for similar situations that arise in the future fantastically.

Problem 3:

We underestimate time commitments

Fix: Everything you partake in or do will take 30–60 minutes longer than you anticipate.

I am definitely someone who has abused this problem before…time management is a MUST! On average I would say it is safe to say we have around 15 hours a day to achieve what we want to which sounds like a lot doesn’t it? The reality is that it is over before we know it and when we reflect on our daily habits and successes we are never satisfied. Real life takes over any short or long terms goals you have set for yourself. Some tasks or commitments are unavoidable and you must partake in them, with this plan each day around them and understand how long you have to put time towards achieving what needs to be done. whether it be a work or study task, underestimating our commitments (aka poor time management) is a catalyst for a lot of poor habits.

Problem 4:

When do I actually have to use this knowledge in real life?

Fix: Yes, SPECIFIC concepts we learn may never be applicable to some situations however, a framework of understanding for your passions is invaluable to build off

The amount of times this has come up over the duration of any educational level I have been at is quite remarkable. Personally, I know A LOT of the things I have learnt in the last 15 years or so of schooling are extremely contextual and thus probably will have a very minimal impact on specific tasks in my working or daily life. Understand what you learn in any scenario is strictly a framework for you to personally build your knowledge off. The Pyramids needed some sort of a blueprint before construction was undertaken. That’s motivation enough to do well in whatever you are avoiding.

Problem 5:

We. Are. Naturally. Lazy. Creatures.

Fix: It is good to have some down time but don’t let that take over your life! List goals for the day, week, month and complete them!

Every single person in this world (especially students) enjoy having a lazy period dedicated to nothing too strenuous that fulfills a specific want. This type of activity and dedicating time to said activities is crucial but ONLY TO AN EXTENT! There is a fine line between doing things on occasion and letting them become habit. Do not let the latter take over and you will remain motivated.

So there you have it! My personal understanding from a student perspective as to the biggest problems presenting themselves as to why why most of us don’t reach our potential.

What are your biggest habits when it comes to procrastination?

How have you overcome them to achieve what you wanted?

Written By: Michael Candiloro

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