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My persistent problem with procrastination

Published:   |   Updated: August 1, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Procrastination, meaning to defer or delay action, is a word that most of us are all too familiar with. From children in grade school to adults in the corporate world, it is bound to affect us all at some point. I myself have a love-hate relationship with procrastination.

Whenever a major project or paper is assigned, teachers always suggest starting on it right away. However, most students, myself included, tend to put assignments off until the very last possible second. Of course, finishing a project early sounds enticing, but so does anything but being productive. I happen to work best under pressure when it comes to schoolwork, which only fuels my procrastination.

I tend to get in the mindset that if I put assignments off, the quality of work I produce will be much better. Unfortunately, this is often times true for me, because a smaller time constraint causes me to work under pressure. It seems as though the quicker I have to get a project done, the better the project turns out.

During the school year, my procrastination is controlled a bit by the constant quickly approaching due dates. However, in the summer time, this is not the case. When I have the option to lie on my couch watching TV all day, summer reading deadlines seem far away. It's not that the books are uninteresting or even difficult; I just seem to imagine I have more time than I really do. Occasionally, I get spurts of productivity and read several chapters in one of the books, but my mind quickly reverts back to summer mode.

A normal summer day for me goes like this: I wake up with the intention of working on my summer reading, researching for an upcoming speech contest and cleaning my room. I usually end up lying on the couch watching a "Duck Dynasty" marathon. As the end of summer approaches, I realize that I should probably get it in gear.

It's funny how the only difference between procrastination and productivity is mindset. When people procrastinate about something, no one is making them put it off. Yes, they may have been invited to go out to lunch or go shopping, but they had the option to decline and be productive. Those who procrastinate will use absolutely anything as an excuse to put work off, myself included.

I often find myself saying, "I'll work on this after breakfast." I eat breakfast, and have no motivation to be productive. "I'll just work on this after lunch," I tell myself. This cycle continues, and the next thing I know it's 11 p.m. and I have yet to accomplish anything.

These excuses can be as simple as possible yet still prevent a person from getting work done. Regardless of what excuse has been made, the solution to procrastination is simply to sit down, tell yourself you have to get work done and do it.

Ironically enough, I sometimes procrastinate on a tedious task by doing something else that could potentially qualify as productive. If I have a research paper to write on a terribly boring topic, I might decide to work out or take my dog for a walk instead. While this could be seen in a positive light because at least I'm doing something, in reality it's just a cleverly concealed procrastination method.

Whether my excuse is working best under pressure, laziness, or walking my dog, procrastination has always been a problem for me. I simply have to remind myself that the only difference between procrastination and productivity is mindset.

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