Procrastination Procrastination Student by linzhengnd


 Student academic skills center
            Dr. Marsha Urban
         What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that
needs to be done. Emotions create the blockage,
and reasons for procrastination which include
feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression, and self-
doubt. Poor organizational skills compound the
problem by making even small steps to complete the
Task difficult to seemingly impossible.

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            Why Procrastinate?
Reasons for procrastination include:
• Fear of failure.
• Lack of interest in the task.
• Feelings of anger or hostility toward someone—
  usually the one who gave you the assignment.
• The impression that the task is too time
  consuming—the task will take large blocks of
  time, and nothing can be done until you have one
  large chunk of time.

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• Lack of knowledge or skill.
• Low self-confidence and low self-esteem.
• Too busy—real or imagined.
• Stubbornness—"Don't think you can tell me
  what and when to do it."
• Manipulation—procrastination may be used
  to control or manipulate the behavior of

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•   Coping with Pressures—delaying things has
    become a method of coping with day-to-day
    pressures and experiences.

•   A Frustrated Victim—procrastinators often
    feel like a victim. They cannot understand
    why others can get things done, but they can
    not. Their inability to get the task done is a
    mystery they cannot solve.

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Types of Chronic Procrastination
•Thrill seekers wait until the last minute to
complete the task to get a “rush.” They
believe they work better under pressure.

•Unfortunately, when you wait for the last
minute, the work you produce is often of
inferior quality—because there is no time to
make corrections.

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• Avoidance procrastination occurs for many
  reasons, including avoiding perceived unpleasant
  tasks; fear the completion of the task will be a
  reflection of self-worth, lack of self-confidence in
  ability; or fear that successful completion of the
  task will instill high expectations for future
  performance on similar tasks.

• Avoidance procrastinators may prefer being
  viewed as lacking in effort instead of lacking in
  ability when they fail.

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Curing the Procrastination Blues
• Recognize that you have the ability to be in
  control and then make a commitment to yourself
  to change.
   o To learn a new habit, set up a new routine that contrasts
     with the old one. Create reminders to keep yourself on
     task, and announce your new plans to friends for their
   o Practice, practice, practice the new habit.
   o When you make exceptions, it takes much more effort
     to recover control than to maintain it from the
     beginning—it is like binging during a diet.

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o Set deadlines for yourself—and keep them.
o Break down big projects into smaller steps and set
  deadlines for each part.
o Tell people about your deadlines, so they can
  check up on you.
o Set up a reward system for each part and then
  reward yourself when you have completed a

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       Battling Procrastination
• Ask yourself questions to determine why you are
   o Is this a recent or reoccurring pattern?
   o What is the root cause? Fear? Avoidance?
     Self-confidence? Perfectionism?
   o Is this a personal problem beyond school?
   o Is it the assignment the problem or placing
     social activities over school activities?
   o Are you afraid to be labeled a “nerd”?
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• Do you think that college is just an extension of
  high school, and you can get away with
  incomplete work without consequences?
• Change your self-statements and restructure your
  thoughts to take responsibility for your actions.
  These statements blame others for your failure:
      • It’s not my fault. . . .
      • I could have done it, but. . . .
      • Yes, it was due, however. . . .
      • Yes, but. . . .
• Focus on when and where external attributes
  versus internal attributes may cause the problem.
  Could you have avoided the problem by beginning
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Behavior Techniques for Procrastinators
Time Telling
• Procrastinators tend to underestimate the time it
  takes to perform a task; therefore, they would
  benefit by practicing telling the time it takes to do
  something. Once they refine their sense of how
  long it takes to do a task, they can make better
  plans for completion of the task.
• Procrastinator are often remarkably optimistic
  about their ability to complete a task on a tight
  deadline. This is usually accompanied by
  expressions of reassurance that everything is under
  control; therefore, there is no need to start early.

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Organizational Skills
• What things need to me done and where necessary things
  for completion be found. You can arrange everything in
  an orderly fashion for easy access. Additionally,
  prioritizing the steps necessary to complete a task is
  essential to completion.

Prompts/Reminder Notes
• Notes placed in overt locations remind you to finish a
  particular task and helps keep you on task.

Structure the Setting to Facilitate Task Completion
• Procrastinator must find a place where they can focus on
  the target task—no interruptions.

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Bits and Pieces
• Focus on the smaller subsets of the task, rather than the entire
  task. Write out the steps necessary to complete the steps and
  then go through them step-by-step.

The “5-Minute” Plan
• Break the task 5-minute subsets and do them step-by-step.
  This is for people who prefer to have a set amount of time to
  work on things.

80% Success Rule
• Be realistic with your goals. Complete at least 80% of the
  task. This is a good start, and after completing the 80% you
  know you can go further and complete the whole task.

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Social Support of Task Completion
• Seek help from people who complete tasks. Build a social
  network of support, so there is someone who can push you
  on when you lose sight of the goal.

Models of Success
• Find models who know how to get things done and use
  them as your model. They can show you ways they use to
  stay on task.

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      Practice What You've Learned
• Think of one thing you are currently procrastinating
  doing. Write the task on a sheet of paper. It might be
  personal, school, or work-related.
• Now write all the reasons for your delay. Take five or
  ten minutes because some of them may be hidden
  from you. These reasons are the controlling
  influences. Write down as many as possible.
• List arguments against delay and argue against all the
  reasons for delay in a convincing manner. If you can
  argue against them successfully, you will be able to
  start the task.

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               General Hints
• Plan for tomorrow and establish priorities—some
  students find that simply writing down reasonable
  starting and stopping times help them get going.

• Expect some backsliding. Occasionally, your
  plans will not work. Accept the setbacks and start
  again. Do not fixate on failure, but rather learn
  from it. Why did you have the setback—now
  figure out how to prevent them in the future.

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• Procrastination is avoidance caused by
  feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression,
  and self-doubt.
• Chronic procrastinators fall into two
  categories: thrill-seekers and avoidance
Take control by learning new habits:
• Break tasks down to small steps
• Learn how long it takes to do a task
• Organize tasks
• Find models to emulate
• Practice, practice, practice good habits
• Don’t beat yourself up if you backslide, just start
  practicing the new habits again.
It is essential to understand why you are
procrastinating, so observe what you do (or
don’t do) and then determine the underlying
cause. When you know the cause, focus on
ways to overcome your procrastination.
Create a plan and then practice the new habits
until they become a part of you.

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