ProcrastiNation in LZNation


Photo by Photo by Parul Pari

Ever procrastinate long term assignments until the day before it is due? Here is how procrastination can impact your well being!

You get home from school and start scrolling through Instagram explore page, responding to friends on Snapchat, getting lost in the midst of tweets, or end up watching Youtubers. Next thing you know, it’s been 2 hours and you haven’t even thought about starting your homework. You end up staying up till 12 am finishing your assignments, don’t get much sleep, and wake up bright and early to go to school the next day. The cycle repeats. Procrastination has struck again.

In a study conducted by Tim Pychyl, the Director of the Centre for Initiatives in Education, 45 students reported their level of procrastination and emotional state for 8 times a day for five days leading up to a school deadline. As the assignments became more difficult and stressful, the students put them off for more pleasant activities. Yet when they did so, they reported high levels of guilt. Pychyl concluded that procrastinators do understand the immediate effects of what they are doing, but can’t overcome the urge towards something distracting.

Debby Chung, junior, can relate to being tempted to go on social media, on apps like Pinterest because her homework sometimes “is just too much to handle”.

“The biggest thing that I procrastinate in my life is definitely my math homework. [My teacher] does not collect it until the day of the quiz, so what I end up doing is all the math homework the night before. I convince myself that it is beneficial in some ways because it is ‘fresh in my mind’,” Chung said.

The consequences of procrastination can be seen in a theory by Social and Personality Psychology Compass, which proposes the idea is that procrastinators “comfort themselves in the present with the false belief that they’ll be more emotionally equipped to handle a task in the future”.

Putting off assignments because you feel that it will be easier in the future is something that Brianna Miller, junior, has found herself doing from time to time. Yet over the years, Miller has become more motivated to complete tasks on time.

When you have deadlines that are kind of in the future, it’s hard to make yourself do something right now since it doesn’t actually need to be done until later,” Brianna Miller, junior, said. “[But] I usually try to get it done as soon as possible because it’s just easier that way. If I am able to get ahead I will.”

People who are not completely opposed to the idea of procrastination argue that it doesn’t matter when a task gets done, so long as it’s finished eventually. Stanford philosopher John Perry, argued that people can put things off, and rearrange their to-do lists so that they’re always accomplishing something of value.

I think that procrastination can be unhealthy when it becomes a habit of your life and basically inhibits people from getting things done,” Miller said. “But sometimes if you do it once in a while, it can motivate you to get things done right before the deadline so you are not spending as much time doing things.”

Association for Psychological Science Fellows at Case Western Reserve University, tested this theory of whether procrastination was actually helpful or not long term by rating college students on an established scale of procrastination, then tracking their academic performance, stress, and general health throughout the semester. Initially, there seemed to be a benefit to procrastination, as these students had lower levels of stress compared to others, presumably as a result of putting off their work to pursue more pleasurable activities. In the end, however, the costs of procrastination far outweighed the temporary benefits. Procrastinators earned lower grades than other students and reported higher cumulative amounts of stress and illness. True procrastinators didn’t just finish their work later — the quality of it suffered, as did their own well-being.

“What I have learned from my experiences would be to do your homework when you are assigned it and that is what I always tell my FAME kids too,” Chung said. “Set aside time to start your homework the minute you get home that way you can spend the rest of your time having free time or studying so it is a reward in a sense so you earn your time for other things.”