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How to Manage Procrastination

Get ideas on why you might procrastinate, how to improve time management skills, and learn about resources on HSU.
by

Hannah Davis

on 17 August 2016

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Transcript of How to Manage Procrastination

Why does it happen?
Behavioral reasons:
What is it?
Challenging Negative Thoughts/Attitudes to Help Decrease Procrastination
Be reasonable in what you expect from yourself. Some things will come easily while other tasks will be a struggle. It is okay to need more time or help on certain tasks.

Look at why you procrastinate and see what negative beliefs about your abilities pop up, then ask yourself if that belief is really accurate. Try to reframe the negative thought to a more neutral or positive one.
Ex: Original thought -- "I am too stupid to write a three page essay."
Challenge it -- "Am I really? I got into HSU and have written other essays before. I have never failed an English class before."
Reframe it -- " I may struggle with this essay but will try my best and complete it on time. I may not be the best at writing essays but that does not mean I will automatically fail."

Don't fool yourself into thinking you can do more than is humanly possible.

Realize people need to take breaks and relax. Give yourself rewards throughout the activity and allow yourself to be proud of any step you complete. Doing so can help you reduce resentment toward the task and feel more positive about the work to be done.

Ask yourself "What do I gain by procrastinating?" and "What strengths or resources do I have to help me?".

Recognize that everyone procrastinates. Research has found we even procrastinate on things we find positive or enjoyable.
Ex: If given a gift certificate for a free movie people are more likely to not go if the certificate expires in several weeks and regret not going verse if they have to spend it in several days they are more likely to use the gift certificate.
How can you manage it?
1) Learning time-management skills.

2) Looking at and reducing negative thoughts or emotions that increase procrastination.
How Do You Procrastinate?
Who does it effect?
1. Do you act as though if you ignore a task, it will go away? The mid-term exam in your chemistry class is not likely to vaporize, no matter how much you ignore it.
2. Do you underestimate the work involved in the task, or overestimate your abilities and resources in relationship to the task? Do you tell yourself that you grasp concepts so easily that you need only spend one hour on the physics problems which would normally take you six?
3. Do you deceive yourself into believing that a mediocre performance or lesser standards are acceptable? For example, if you deceive yourself that a 2.3 GPA will still get you into the medical school of your choice, you may be avoiding the decision to work harder to improve your grade point average and thus may have to alter your career plans. This form of avoidance can prevent your from consciously making choices about important goals in your life.
4. Do you deceive yourself by substituting one worthy activity for another? Suppose you clean the apartment instead of writing your term paper. Valuing a clean apartment is fine but if that value only becomes important when there is a paper due, you are procrastinating.
5. Do you believe that repeated “minor” delays are harmless? An example is putting off writing your paper so you can watch 5 minutes of your favorite television program. If you don’t return to writing the paper after 5 minutes, you may stay tuned to the TV for the entire evening, with no work being done on the paper.
6. Do you dramatize a commitment to a task rather than actually doing it? An example is taking your books on vacation but never opening them, or perhaps even declining invitations for pleasurable events, but still not pursuing the work at hand nor getting needed relaxation. This way you stay in a constant state of unproductive readiness to work–without ever working.
7. Do you persevere on only one portion of the task? An example is writing and rewriting the introductory paragraph of the paper but not dealing with the body and the conclusion. The introductory paragraph is important, but not at the expense of the entire project.
8. Do you become paralyzed in deciding between alternative choices? An example involves spending so much time deciding between two term paper topics that you don’t have sufficient time to write the paper.

Latin origins
:
PRO meaning forward, forth, or in favor of
CRASTINUS meaning of tomorrow
By Hannah Davis
Oxford Dictionary
:
The action of delaying or postponing something
Proposed components
:
1) An act is delayed
2) The start or completion of the act is intended
3) The act is necessary or of personal importance
4) The delay is voluntary
5) The delay is unnecessary or irrational
6) The delay is done despite being aware of its potential negative consequences
7) The delay is accompanied by subjective discomfort or other negative consequences
Procrastination is related to increased stress and anxiety and can lead to poor academic performance
Students claimed it can take up 1/3 of their day
It decreases with age
People learn skills to help reduce procrastination
EVERYONE!
Procrastination occurs because the present cost of doing something seems higher than the future cost, even though the value of the future benefit remains unchanged.
Ex: "I am too busy now so I'll do it when I have more time."
In reality, it is likely you will be just as busy or more so in the future and the amount of work to be done is still as stressful and time consuming.
Emotional reasons:
Cognitive reasons:
Psychological reasons:
Situational reasons:
Wanting to avoid anxiety, stress, or feeling overwhelmed.
Due to dislike of the assignment, lack of motivation, the task feeling too difficult, the person doesn't have the needed skills, or they lack time management skills.
A person who is impulsive, easily bored, a sensation seeker, has reduced levels of self-control, highly self-conscious, or more easily anxious and/or depressed may be more likely to procrastinate.
A person holds negative and/or unrealistic thoughts about themselves, the situation, or the world.
Utilize resources!
CAPS
RAMP
Learning Center
Library

(707) 826-3236
Procrastination is a pattern or habit that has been reinforced by avoiding a negative or undesirable activity and feeling temporarily rewarded by engaging in enjoyable activities.
Find self-help books for professional development and time management.
Utilize handouts and school calendars to keep you on track. Find friendly tutors and staff to help you succeed academically.
Get help with study skills and goal setting.
Talk with a counselor to reduce stress or anxiety around classes caused by procrastination. See if other events in your life could be explored and help you become more able to focus on classes.
Located on second floor of Student Health building.
Located in Nelson Hall East room 212

Some people will self-handicap or purposefully place obstacles in their way to protect their self-esteem.

Ex: Sensation seekers may put off work so they feel the tension of getting work finished right before the deadline

Ex: Impulsive people can have trouble focusing.

Ex: Someone experiencing depression may not have motivation or energy to take on tasks.
Procrastinating is a temporary way to avoid anxiety and/or stress. Most people pick pleasant short-term activities to distract from what needs to be completed.
Ex:
--"I am inadequate."
--"The world is too difficult and demanding."
--"It is impossible!"
--"I have enough time to start next week."
--"I'll be super motivated tomorrow..."
--"I have to be in the right mood to be effective."
Time Management
Below are some unhelpful myths that can contribute to poor time management:
MYTH:
Life is completely controlled by external events.
FACT:
You have some control over many aspects of your life.
MYTH:
You should meet everyone's expectations.
FACT:
What others expect may be unrealistic or inappropriate for you and your lifestyle. Focus on your needs first and then consider others wants and needs.
MYTH:
I should have no limits.
FACT:
We all have limits and no one is perfect. Expecting to have no limits can lead to perfectionism or feelings of failure.
•Identify the times of day when your energy levels are at their highest and do your most important work at those times.

• Optimize your work environment. Keep things you need in your work area and make sure the environment allows for concentration, not just comfort. You may need to experiment to determine the right work environment. For example, some work best in a quiet setting while others work best with background music; some work best amidst clutter, while others need a cleared desk or table; some work best at a place reserved only for study while others work best at the kitchen table; etc. Find what works best for you!

• Protect your time by saying “no” to various interruptions, activities, requests, or people.

• Find and use a special space such as a library corner or an office where friends will be unable to find you.

• Avoid your phone and computer until you want a study break.

• Make a list of what needs to be done then organize it according to what is most important and/or urgent.

• Plan ahead and attempt to break down things into more manageable and less intimidating activities. Use a planner and allow extra time in case an emergency comes up or something takes longer than expected.

• Avoid over planning! Not all of your day needs to be pre-planned.
So what are helpful strategies for improving time management???
Handouts from HSU's Learning Center
http://www2.humboldt.edu/learning/handout-index#organization

Walk through the steps of setting personal goals for tasks on your to do list
https://www.mindtools.com/page6.html

Click on the links to get more tools for time management:
How to Manage
Procrastination

Located in the Lower Library
What could be the causes of your procrastination?
• Lack of Relevance - If something is neither relevant nor meaningful to you personally, it may be difficult to get motivated even to begin.
• Acceptance of Another’s Goals - If a project has been imposed or assigned to you and it is not consistent with your own interests, you may be reluctant to spend the necessary time to see it to conclusion.
• Perfectionism - Having unreachable standards will discourage you from pursuing a task. Remember, perfection is unattainable.
• Evaluation Anxiety - Since others’ responses to your work are not under your direct control, overvaluing these responses can create the kind of anxiety that will interfere with work getting accomplished.
• Ambiguity - If you are uncertain of what is expected of you, it may be difficult to get started.
• Fear of the Unknown - If you are venturing into a new realm or field, you don’t have any way of knowing how well you’ll do. Such an uncertain outcome may inhibit your desire to begin.
• Inability to Handle the Task - If through lack of training, skill, or ability you feel that you lack the personal resources to do the job, you may avoid it completely.
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