How Can Procrastination be Prevented?


Procrastination graphic from Tim Urban’s popular TED Talk

Aaron Sanders , Journalist

     Everyone has told themselves at some point that they can just “finish it tomorrow.” By the time the next day comes around they say the same thing and repeat this process until it is too late. The cycle of procrastination is an unhealthy way of living that everyone should learn to avoid.

     The list of procrastination’s negative effects stretch a very long way, but the most significant ones include late work, low quality work, all-nighters, and most importantly, increased stress levels. Stress is shown to cause many physical effects on your body including headaches and fatigue all the way to symptoms such as high blood pressure and obesity.

     With all of this information, why do millions of people continue to procrastinate? There are several reasons for this, but one reason found by DePaul University’s professor of psychology Joseph Ferrari and stated by an Association for Psychological Science (APS) article written by Eric Jaffe, suggests that procrastination has nothing to do with time management, and “telling a chronic procrastinator to ‘just do it’ is like telling a clinically depressed person to ‘cheer up.’” Procrastinators tend to get distracted easier and will put off less enjoyable activities and responsibilities for more exciting ones. Only when they are forced into doing that task by a due date or deadline, they will cram it all into one night.

     With so many students partaking in procrastination, how can they avoid it? College student and self-proclaimed non-procrastinator Ethan Milton suggests that “procrastinators should take at least 10 minutes a day to sit down and do a piece of whatever it is they need to get done after making sure all distractions are off.” Ferrari’s best solution was tough love, saying how if people enable procrastinators, the issue will never be resolved. For example, if the person procrastinates going shopping for food, let the fridge go empty. A solution for procrastination in school was given by 14-year-old Kaden Housh, who says that “teachers can give several due dates for pieces of larger projects.” He claims this will help procrastinators get each piece of work done on time and will not end up doing the whole project in one night.

     Everyone is different in how they learn and operate, so it may take more than one try to find a solution that works. The best thing to do is to keep trying, and better prepare for life by stopping the cycle of procrastination early. Good luck to all procrastinators that have 3-page essays due tomorrow, and try not to stay up all night.