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 Services (256-782-5475) for more information or to speak with a member of our professional staff.
Courtesy of California State University, Hayward