The Truth About Procrastination
The misconceptions of procrastination may be affecting your efficiency in the things you do regarding, school, work, or life
The Truth About Procrastination: By Taija Pryor
If you’re reading this, you’re probably just like me- ride or die procrastinator looking for a way to get things done in a more efficient way. If it is any consolation, you’re not alone, about 80-90 college students procrastinate on almost everything. The key to being an effective procrastinator, is simply making things count when you finally get around to doing them. In this article, I’ll be discussing two types of procrastination - active and passive - and will give you some tips on how to keep yourself from playing catch-up all the time.
First, let’s talk about types of procrastination. If you received the same public school education I did, you may have been told that there is only one type of procrastination, and that it was bad. You probably heard this in an AP class, or an English class when given an assignment to write some type of essay. Does “Don’t leave this until the last minute, you won’t do well” ring any bells? Well they lied. First, I’ll get into the details about passive procrastination since it’s what most people think procrastination is. Then I’ll discuss how active procrastination works, and get into all the details about self-management and how to turn your procrastination into a positive tool instead of something holding you back.
To get started, passive procrastination is the typical put something off until the last minute, produce a sub-par product that will keep you from getting fired or from failing a class. Often, this work is done to complete the bare-minimum requirements and looks like any plane-jane PDF you can pull from the internet. The people who participate in this type of procrastination admit to a habit of wasting a substantial amount of time, delaying important work for no reason, and finding other things to do with their time instead of getting work done.
In contrast, Active procrastinators tend to achieve better results from putting off assignments. Some people don’t like to rush at the last minute so they schedule a time to do the work so they are able to get it done before the deadline, but will wait to work on it until that day. It has been found that for active procrastinators, they do better work waiting until the last minute because they are aiming for a high score / high quality result.
So what does that mean for you? Well, if you do better when you procrastinate, and you plan to procrastinate then you’re probably an active procrastinator. And if you don’t plan to procrastinate and do sub-par work, you’re probably a passive procrastinator. If you’re anything like me, using a planner to help you stay organized is one of the most beneficial things you can do. When I am in school, my assignments are color-coordinated as are my classes, and I am able to sit down and get things done when I need to. Keeping myself organized has played a major role in being so successful with my academic career. Additionally, I have a separate planner for my work that I do at home and in the office, so that I am able to keep myself on track in all aspects of my life.
Some people benefit from having a cleaning schedule, or a study schedule, or even having a calendar on their phone dedicated to reminding them when to do things because they forget easily. The most beneficial thing you can do is identify what is going on in your life, and address it. If you are an active procrastinator, and are doing well, why make a change? If you’re a passive procrastinator, maybe work towards becoming more organized, or aim to start tasks right away when you get them instead, and then plan to finish them closer to the deadline so you have a lesser workload. Additionally, check in with your mental health. I found that when my mental heath wasn’t that great, I was more passive with things. I still did decent work, but I didn’t care as much about what my grades would be, so I missed points on little things like formatting or using additional sources.
Speaking of sources, here are mine:
The development and concurrent validity of the procrastination scale
Educational and Psychological Measurement, 51 (1991), pp. 473-480,
Procrastination and the five-factor model: A facet level analysis
Personality and Individual Differences, 30 (1) (2001), pp. 149-158,
E.S. Alexander, A.J. Onwuegbuzie
Academic procrastination and the role of hope as a coping strategy
Personality and Individual Differences, 42 (2007), pp. 1301-1310, 10.1016/j.paid.2006.10.008