"I'll Start it Tomorrow!"
Chris Moisenco, MA
Can you relate to any of these reasons for avoiding a task?
- "This assignment doesn't mean anything to me."
- "If I can't get it perfect, I'm not going to do it at all."
- "What if I get a bad grade?"
- "I'm not even sure exactly what s/he wanted anyway."
- "This isn't a subject I know very much about."
These are the kinds of things that you might be thinking if you have a problem with procrastination as opposed to just not managing your time efficiently. Having these feelings can be a result of guilt, a sense of inadequacy or anxiety, and can affect how you feel about yourself in general.
Do you find yourself:
- acting as if a task or assignment will go away if you ignore it?
- underestimating the amount of effort the project will require?
- lowering your expectations and standards?
- organizing your room instead of starting your paper?
- bargaining with yourself and planning to start right after your favorite TV show?
- obsessing with the title or introductory paragraph and not giving yourself enough time to write the body of the paper?
...if so, you may have a problem and be ready to deal with procrastination.
What can you do?
- Make a note of the feelings that apply to you.
- Be honest with yourself. Admit when you have decided to spend a minimal amount of effort on a project and don't let guilt prevent you from understanding your motives. You can teach yourself to recognize ways you work against yourself.
- Try to gain a realistic understanding of how much effort is required to meet the deadline.
- Learn to distinguish genuine efforts and those that only make you "look" like you are getting something done.
- Develop an overview of the project and outline the steps needed to complete it.
- Break the task into small segments or steps.
- Assign a reasonable amount of time to complete each step.
- Don't forget that you need relaxation and a variety of activities. Take breaks and reward yourself between stages.
- Keep track of your progress and reassess as necessary. Respond quickly if you notice a problem, and learn from your mistakes.
- Have reasonable expectations of yourself. Perfectionism could sabotage your progress.
If procrastination has become a serious problem for you, contact Counseling and Career Services (256-782-5475) for more information or to speak with a member of our professional staff.
Courtesy of California State University, Hayward
Anxiety and Panic Disorders
Communication in Relationships
Depression, Recognizing and Coping
Grief and Loss
Adjusting to College
Making the Most of the First Year