By Makayla Braaten
Have you ever gotten an assignment and noticed yourself putting it off for a long while? Do you find yourself becoming stressed because you’re losing time? Are you thirsty? See what I did there, I distracted you. Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing something.
There’s many reasons why people procrastinate, whether that be forgetfulness, the fear of failing, being overwhelmed by the amount of work, lack of motivation or many other things. People often confuse procrastination with laziness, but it’s really the downside of not having self-control and clinging onto bad habits over a period of time.
Someone who is a procrastinator might find themselves getting distracted, or may intentionally distract themselves, which could cause them to forget about the project they’re working on. I find myself doing that a lot… whether it’s putting off homework assignments in a class and doing it the day of, or forgetting to do chores, procrastination never seems to leave my side!
Another reason people procrastinate would be the fear of failing. People find things/ways to distract themselves such as exercising, watching TV, etc. When the thought of starting the project comes to mind, they feel there being a high chance of failing so they’re afraid to even put anything on paper. These people know they don’t need to have everything perfect in the beginning but in their mind, it feels like they need to.
Research says that people who procrastinate have higher levels of stress and anxiety. This can cause them to avoid large projects that make them feel overwhelmed by engaging in more enjoyable activities, however; that only gives them less time to complete the project which makes them feel shame and guilt for having put it off. In the Washington Post they state that a 1997 study in Case Western Reserve University found that college-aged procrastinators ended up with lower grades and high stress levels by the end of the semester.
Procrastinators who continuously put things off cause more work for them in the long run. Part of the reason why things get pushed to the side is from lack of motivation, which causes more stress. The increase in stress can further decrease the individual’s desire to start their project. Additionally, with being forgetful, I see myself losing motivation to do things when I get home after a long day from school.
So as you can see, procrastination comes from many different sources and can manifest itself in many different ways. From the anxiety-ridden English student paralyzed with fear over the impending due date of their rough draft to the absent minded high school junior who’s feverishly working to complete this very article. Are you still thirsty? How about a shamrock shake? See, I distracted you again, right when this article was about to get to it’s main point. Now you feel a little bit of what it’s like for someone who is easily distracted and how that can potentially lead to procrastination issues. It’s not always a choice of the procrastinator causing them to continuously put things off and sabotage their own productivity, it’s their internal mechanisms influencing the way they respond to external stimuli.
Makayla Braaten is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 21st year.