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Procrastination should be avoided for academic and psychological health


October 29, 2015

Procrastination is not a one-time occurrence for most college students. In fact, it is often times a habitually experience; a part of their daily lives, per say. Procrastination is, as defined by the Oxford Dictionaries, “the action of delaying or postponing something.” Students are widely known by their professors to wait until the very last minute to turn assignments in, or submit their online exams.

In many cases, procrastination leads students to pull all-nighters prior to deadlines for papers due, or when cramming needs to been done before major exams that students haven’t well prepared themselves for. This loss of sleep due to their procrastination habits increases the pains of procrastination. According to the University of Michigan’s Student Life, “The amount of sleep that a college student gets is one of the strongest predictors of academic success. Sleep plays a key role in helping students fix and consolidate memories, plus prevent decay of memories.  Without sleep, people work harder and but don’t do as well.”

Students attribute their procrastination skills often times to laziness and a lack of motivation. Time management is also a major factor in the successes or failures of college students and how their level of procrastination plays out. Princeton University’s McGraw Learning Center declares, “Procrastination is not a matter, solely, of having poor time management skills, either, but rather can be traced to underlying and more complex psychological reasons…In reality, procrastination is often a self-protection strategy for students…For the most part our reasons for delaying and avoiding are rooted in fear and anxiety—about doing poorly, of not having control of our outcomes, of looking stupid, of having one’s sense of self or self-concept challenged. We avoid doing work to avoid our abilities being judged.”

In essence, procrastination hurts students’ academic performance and can also lead to sleep deprivation. Neither of which are beneficial to young adults seeking degrees for employment.

Here at UWRF, counselors in the counseling services department are available to help students seeking assistance in the area of combating procrastination. If a student is unwilling to seek help through the utilization of the university’s counseling services, they might want to try other self-help remedies, many of which can be found online through a simple Google search.

Students can also try these four tips for success:

  • Ask a friend to become an accountability partner; someone you can rely on to kick your butt into drive when you’re feeling weary. They should be able to keep you accountable for your assignments, reading and studying while also ensuring you have proper motivation to keep you going. An accountability partner shouldn’t push you to exceed your limits.
  • Develop goals, ensuring that they meet all of the requirements to becoming a S.M.A.R.T. goal. If they’re not specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, the goals won’t be as effective in keeping you on track to combating procrastination and becoming successful. When you have set your goals, they become a great resource for your accountability partner to keep you accountable.
  • Taking short moments for yourself in between studying will help you to have lasting endurance. One can become too worn down if they lack the opportunity to regroup a little and remove themselves from the work at hand. If you’re in the library, you might take a moment to run to the bathroom, the short walk will allow for some time to clear your mind. In the dorms, a causal stroll to the drinking fountain might give you a new perspective.
  • As mentioned earlier, procrastination isn’t all about laziness and poor time management skills; ensuring you have adequate time to reflect on your reasons for procrastinating will help you better tackle your procrastination mentality in the future. By confronting, head-on, the factors that cause you stress, you can learn to target these specifics and set a new mindset for yourself.

Melanie Meyers is a student at UW-River Falls.