"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.

Plan effectively:

  • 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