Many of my clients at the moment are young first year uni students. Their first year at uni has been lonely.
They began the year in lockdown not meeting other students or lecturers, not feeling connected and unable to form study groups. There’s been no normalcy in their lives, and many have been procrastinating about their assignments. Because everything’s so new, they don’t know what to do.
They have huge assignments.
They’ve got to learn how to write academically, and a new referencing style. It’s all pretty daunting. Everything I’ve read on procrastination is that it’s wrapped up in bad time management. However, I think it’s more complicated than that.
Because of the unusual environment we’re living in, fear and motivation come into play, and not knowing what to do and who to turn to.
What Research Shows
Procrastination has been around for a long time and it’s harmful to our health and well being. Studies show that people who procrastinate have higher levels of stress, lower self worth and well being. One study followed students performance through their first year. At first they found those who procrastinated we’re doing better than those who put effort into their assessments. This was probably because they were finding more fun things to do rather than study. By the end of semester, the procrastinators reported more ill health, higher stress levels and lower grades than those who work diligently throughout the semester. They’ve found that procrastination isn’t about poor time management – It’s that the procrastinator feels guilt, shame, and anxiety at the decision to delay what they need to do.
I’ve just read, “Focus: 4 Fast, Easy Strategies to Beating Procrastination Forever” by Keith Abraham and found it useful. Keith says, “Procrastination produces doubt… Focus creates certainty.” and he gives tips and tricks throughout the book to support that. This book was quick, easy and fun to read, which is what procrastinators need.
Here’s what I did. I’m a typical procrastinator…
A Bit of Fun
I watched a TED talk on procrastination, thinking that it was related to science.
I really relate to the TED Talk.
It’s called “Inside the Mind of a Procrastinator” by Tim Urban. I thought he was going to give a scientific talk, but it was something quite different. Watch it. It’s entertaining, which is what our procrastinating mind wants.
What You Can Do Now
- Set a goal.
- Schedule time for your assignment or whatever you’re procrastinating over.
- Break it down into small chunks.
- Get an accountability partner buddy who will nurture you not bully you.
- Set a timer.
- Don’t pressure yourself with the negative self talk.
- Take your time.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Focus on what’s important.
- Most of all, have fun.
It’s important for you celebrate your success after each session you achieve. Have a huge celebration after you’ve handed in your assignment – feel the joy of your success.
This Is Me
I am the procrastination queen. If I didn’t have deadlines things just wouldn’t get done. I’m very good at starting things, then researching, and then stopping. That’s as far as I get until the deadline, then it’s crazy time trying to complete it by the deadline but I do it.
Recently, I’ve gathered a support group around me who keep me accountable through love and nurturing my growth. Instead of me by myself, staring at this looming deadline telling myself that I can’t do this; I don’t know what to write; I don’t know how to begin, and all that talk that prevents me from completing the task.
Now I have nurturing words in my head from my support group, like:
“How’s it going Cait?”
“Where are you up to?”
“Do you need any help?”
“Do you want me to talk with you about some thoughts you’re having?”
“Haven’t heard from you in a while, how are you getting on?”
These are the encouraging words stuck in my head now. Every time I think that I’m stuck, I think about what each of my supportive friends would say and it makes me smile. It’s easy to continue with my project then.
So now I’m less of a procrastination queen, however it might be the most familiar place to be at first. Then I notice what I’m doing, have a laugh and keep going.
The final word
I wish you well in whatever you do. Remember, we as procrastinators are drawn to fun, pleasure, and excitement. Think outside the box on how you’re going to achieve your goal.
Email me with any thoughts you have around procrastinating, and how you’re going in life. [email protected]