How Procrastinating Can Make Your Life More Difficult
You think you know fear until you’ve waited until the last possible moment to do homework for six different classes.
As an AP Human Geography and Honors English student, avid volunteer, and member of honor roll, you would think I would have figured out time management in my ten years of public education. You, like most, would be wrong.
The development of my procrastination skills started at a young age. I have always had the ability to grasp concepts quickly and retain information without much effort. These skills have allowed me to pass my classes with flying colors, but do not, by any means, help my work ethic.
Procrastination and Your Health
Procrastination affects all of us in some way or another. According to a study done by psychologist Piers Steel from the University of Calgary, about 80 to 95% of college students procrastinate (Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 133, No. 1). Although these numbers make it seem like procrastination is fine, choosing to wait to do your work can be extremely detrimental to your health.
Procrastination can cause stress, insomnia, and gastrointestinal problems. It can also lower immune systems and create other health problems. Our brains are equipped to deal with stress that lasts about 30 seconds, not the long term stress and anxiety procrastination can bring. Prolonged stress can cause memory loss, depression, and an increase in the chances of having a stroke.
Ways To Prevent Procrastination
Fear of failure, fear of success, lack of motivation, lack of focus, or poor time management, are all reasons people procrastinate. Procrastination is a learned behavior, but like any bad habit, it can be fixed.
Creating a plan and sticking to it can significantly improve procrastination. The primary problem of procrastinators is their ability to become distracted or postpone what they need to get done.
Eliminating distractions can also help. Turning off your phone, blocking out noises, and going to a quiet place alone can reduce your procrastination habits.
Reward yourself when you do not procrastinate. Positive reinforcement helps your brain associate working with less stress, happier attitudes, and rewards. Make sure not to overindulge in things you enjoy. Balance is key, and if you reward yourself too much the reward loses value.
Choosing to Benefit You
When I found myself in the ironic position of procrastinating this article on procrastination, I realized I have a problem. Not only does procrastinating make me stressed, anxious, and moody, it has also affected my performance in school, as well as my sleep schedule.
I’ve been a night owl for as long as I can remember, but nights filled with books and art changed into nights filled with homework and studying. Last week I achieved a daily average of about 4.5 hours of sleep every night.
Choosing not to procrastinate will benefit you in the future. As you figure out what studying and working habits help you achieve your goals, you will be happier and healthier.