Procrastination affects most of us at some stage in our life because we will all face tasks we don't like or find difficult and will attempt to avoid the real or perceived 'pain' of completing those tasks, by delaying doing them.
Procrastination & Study
The problem in relation to study is a lot of the associated tasks seem to involve an element of 'pain'; exam preparation, reviewing material, planning and preparing an essay or assignment - all these tasks need our full attention and can be difficult.
The temptation to find other things that distract us is understandable, to a point. For some, procrastination is a temporary hurdle and one they easily overcome; for others it becomes more of a pattern of behaviour and can be associated with stress and anxiety.
“ The psychic entropy peculiar to the human condition involves seeing more to do than one can actually accomplish and feeling able to accomplish more than what conditions allow. ” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience .
Below you will find a YouTube clip that perfectly depicts the procrastination process many of us go through on a regular basis!
- Why Do We Procrastinate?
- You may lack engagement with the course material.
- You may be daunted by a specific task or lack confidence about it. This is probably the most common reason for procrastination.
- You may need more information and be unsure where to find that information.
- If you are new to studying at university, or the subject matter is unfamiliar to you this can cause a feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Perhaps you need to increase your knowledge or skills in a specific area?
- You may be doing too much. If you are, you can become tired and may start sub-consciously (or consciously) resisting or avoiding more work.
- You may be struggling with anxiety, related specifically to study, or otherwise.
- You may be struggling with perfectionism; this is often linked to anxiety and avoidance, and causes self doubt because there is always the sense something is never 'quite perfect', so it can never be completed.
- Maybe there seems to be too much to do, or the task seems too big.
In summary once you start to feel anxious about your work in some way you are possibly going to procrastinate.
Take a look at some of our top tips to help you avoid procrastinating.
- The Writing Centre
- 'Turbo Charge your Writing', Maria Gardiner and Hugh Kearns, 2010, Flinders Press.
- New York University article on Resting and retention