- What is procrastination for students
- Why do students procrastinate?
- Adverse effects of procrastination
- How to overcome procrastination and start studying
Though the term procrastination is often confused with laziness, the two have their differences. We can say that while procrastination is a habit, laziness is more of a state.
While both result in the unwillingness to do a particular task, procrastination is more of an uncalled-for delay to do the task. Procrastination in students is one of the most common problems faced by students today.
Before we arrive at a solution, we must study the cause. Therefore, before we learn methods of how to stop procrastinating and start studying, we must decipher the reasons why students procrastinate in the first place.
11 Common Reasons Why Students Procrastinate
1. Online Learning
With the introduction of online learning in the curriculum today, procrastination has become more prevalent among students.
Online mode of education, although proved to be a boon during the pandemic, also gave rise to procrastination among students.
Online mode of education differed from in-person classes in more ways than one. Unlike the classroom mode of education, online classes are less rigid and more flexible.
Students were not time-bound or accountable for the work. This callous attitude that arose from online learning led to procrastination among students.
Students had less fear of being reprimanded for non-submission of project work or homework. Procrastination was one of the biggest negative outcomes of the online learning mode of education introduced during the pandemic.
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2. Insufficient Knowledge
One of the reasons why students procrastinate is because of insufficient knowledge on a subject matter.
When students do not know a concept, they prefer to not do or delay doing work related to the subject. Students consider the concept difficult to understand, resulting in “putting off” the work.
3. Fear of Failure
Another reason why students procrastinate is that they fear negative feedback after completing a task. Instead, students prefer not to do the activity for fear of receiving negative feedback.
Therefore, fear of failure is one of the main reasons why students procrastinate. When a student is not confident of doing something it means they have the fear of failure. This fear of failure makes them delay in executing the work.
4. Poor Organisational Skills
When you organise your day and prioritize work, you tend to be alert. However, when you do not organize your day, you procrastinate.
With haphazard schedules, you do not organise your tasks. Sometimes, when you can’t figure out what to do, you end up procrastinating over it
Believe it or not, many times perfectionists are procrastinators. People who are perfectionists, rather not do a job that they think they do not have the skill to do than to do it imperfectly.
6. Finding the Beginning
Sometimes not knowing where to begin leads to procrastination. This often happens when you have huge tasks to do.
For example, you have the task of sorting out a thousand library books in alphabetical order. The task is daunting and can take a lot of your time.
Moreover, you may not know which huge pile to begin with. This feeling of not knowing where to begin leads to procrastination.
7. Difficulty in Regulating Emotions
Many times difficulty in regulating emotions leads to procrastination. Studies have shown the role of difficulty in emotion regulation in academic procrastination.
Procrastination is defined as “to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay”.
It has various manifestations and forms such as General procrastination, Decisional Procrastination, Active Procrastination, Unintentional Procrastination, and Academic Procrastination.
It has been reported that 15–20 percent of the adult and about half of the students suffer from chronic and frequent procrastination and suffer from major problems in their daily lives.
Research has also estimated that more than 60 percent of Iranian students are involved in academic procrastination Academic procrastination is associated with major dysfunction in academic performance and reduces psychological well-being.
Students who procrastinate are more likely to experience depression and social anxiety than students who don’t procrastinate.
Procrastination is also associated with experiences of persistent stress and negative emotions, including anxiety, distress, depression, and hopelessness.
8. Careless Attitude
Many students procrastinate because they do not care about outcomes or results. Such students are not motivated to perform.
9. Over Exertion
When you ask the question, why do students procrastinate? One of the reasons is students being overburdened with work.
When students have a lot of work to complete they often feel tired and exhausted resulting in procrastination.
Distractions for students are another major reason why students procrastinate. A student’s life can be strewn with thousands of distractions, such as social media, fun with friends, or any other distraction.
Such distraction sometimes gets the better of a student and the students prefer to indulge in the distraction. This leads to procrastination with more important academic-related work.
11. Miscalculation of Submission Date
Many times, procrastination is because of a miscalculated submission date. The teacher may ask for an earlier date of submission which the student understands to be a later date.
The miscommunication or misinterpretation leads to procrastination as the student thinks he/she has time to do the task, whereas, in reality, there is not much time.
There are many other reasons why students procrastinate. However, these are just some of the reasons why students procrastinate.
Adverse Effects of Procrastination
There are several adverse effects of procrastination for students. They can be shortlisted as follows:
1. Missed Opportunities
Procrastination leads to missed opportunities. What could have been yours, will be lost forever because of your procrastinating behaviour.
2. Unable to Fulfill Your Goals
Another problem of procrastination is that you will not be able to achieve your planned goals. Procrastination delays work which leads to the unfulfillment of goals
3. Losing Time
Procrastination has all to do with time. It is the delay to perform a task. While you procrastinate, you lose time, which can never be gotten back.
4. Career Obstacles
Procrastination can be a big obstacle when it comes to building your career. Today, competition is tough. If you are not proactive you lose out. It can even lead to a loss of a job.
5. Lack of Discipline
One of the ill effects of procrastination is the lack of discipline. Procrastination leads to indiscipline in life.
6. Irreparable Damage to Reputation
Another dreadful impact of procrastination on your life is that procrastination can cause irreparable damage to your reputation.
Reputation is the respect you earn in society. Procrastination can easily ruin your reputation. Saying you will do something and procrastinating over it can damage your reputation in society.
Society will lose trust in your words. Procrastination is one of the main causes of damage to your reputation.
How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Studying?
Procrastination among students has been a topic of concern for many years. A research article published in the International Journal of Social Science and Humanities Research in 2020 stated the impact of academic procrastination on academic performance.
The research paper laid down certain theories for procrastination among students like Cognitive and Cognitive-Behavioral theories and Motivational Theories, among others. It further stated various interventions to overcome procrastination.
Some of those interventions include Mindfulness training, activity scheduling, cognitive restructuring, behavioral shaping techniques, functional analysis, chaining, token economy, etc.
The idea is to help the person believe in themselves, manage the environment and be able to model success.
Various other tips to manage procrastination are: to start the task even if it is for a few minutes in a day and do the difficult task early in the day.
Let us now take a closer look at some of the solutions for overcoming procrastination among students:
1. Break Down Your Tasks
One of the main reasons for procrastination for students is the huge mammoth of tasks to be completed. The very look of these tasks puts off a student, who then tends to procrastinate over the work.
Ideally, students must break down the work into more doable tasks. For example, a certain chapter in the science textbook is very long and difficult to understand.
Some students may put off studying the chapter only because of its size and level of difficulty. One of the ways how to stop procrastinating and start studying is to divide the chapter into smaller portions and study a bit every day.
2. Chalk out A Timetable
Time tables are specific schedules that reflect a particular task to be done in a particular period.
Making a timetable is one of the best ways how to avoid procrastination while studying. Timetables can guide you and help you achieve your studying goals.
3. Keep Distractions at Bay
As discussed above distractions for students is one of the biggest reasons why students procrastinate. Therefore, keeping distractions at bay can work wonders to avoid procrastinating.
Keep yourself logged off the social media channels, silence your phone and keep it away. When these distractions are close by, you tend to keep looking into them now and then. Your studying gets delayed because of your indulgence in distractions.
4. Think of The Result
Another way how to avoid procrastination while studying is to think of the great marks you will obtain if you stop procrastinating and start studying. This is one of the biggest motivators.
5. Reward Yourself
Students often need the motivation to study. While marks you get are the biggest motivating factor, you can also reward yourself with more materialistic prizes.
The motivation or reward at the end can be the single reason you stop procrastinating and start studying.
6. The Two-Minute Rule
One of the best ways how to stop procrastinating is to follow the tried and tested “two-minute rule”. This theory was initiated by David Allen, an American productivity consultant.
According to this theory which he named GTD (Getting Things Done), if it takes less than two minutes to do, then just do it.
For example, if you have to return the library book, but procrastinate to do so, think about the time. If it takes less than two minutes to do then just do it.
7. Know Yourself
Knowing yourself and your body is one of the most important factors that can affect your procrastination levels. Let’s explain this concept with an example.
If you are a morning person and prefer to get up in the morning and study then you must do just that. If you are a morning person but trying to study late in the night, you might tend to procrastinate because your body and brain are unwilling to adapt to the change.
So, it is best to know your body and listen to it to avoid procrastination.
8. Watch Your Health
Fitness and health play an important role in staying focused. When you are focused, procrastination takes a back seat.
Procrastination is like a credit card, it is a lot of fun until you get the bill. Procrastination does not serve any purpose.
It is only an unwarranted delay in performing a task. So, you might as well do it in the first place. Procrastination is the thief of time.