Mastering Procrastination


Danielle Stone

Procrastination is defined by putting off a task for a more pleasurable one. This practice causes unnecessary stress which takes a toll on mental health.

Danielle Stone, Staff Writer

Everyone has had nights when they are overloaded with homework and have an essay or two to write, and, chances are, those tasks were put off until the last possible moment. For some people, this is only an occasional problem, but for others, procrastination is almost a disease. There are, however, many techniques to overcome this problem. There are the average remedies such as writing a to-do list or filling up a calendar, but many find fault with these methods.

One of the solutions I find very useful is fear. By scaring myself with the consequences of not doing a certain task, I usually provoke enough anxiety to allow me to plow through a task without halting. However, this method may not be the best solution. In my case, by imagining how miserable my life would be with that failure, I either scare myself or realize life would go on as usual and the task would be left undone.

Another method I find to be helpful is by doing little bits of a task at a time, and then taking a short break. A good system is to watch a TV show, and every time there is a commercial break, use that time to work. Not only will this help complete the chore without too much pressure, but it will also pass time through the commercials.

Bribery is also a technique to aid the punctually-challenged. Bargaining with oneself with the promise of a fun activity encourages faster working. For example, making plans with a friend sets a definite deadline and there is nearly no choice other than to complete work before that time. Even something as small as a promise of  ice cream can be inspiring.

On the other hand, coming up with a consequence is also very motivational. Self-punishment could range from not allowing technology use to prohibiting human interaction. If a task is left unfinished by its deadline, a negative corollary will ensue.

Also, notifying the public of the intended project will increase pressure and encourage completion. When friends and family know of plans, the expectations, as well as the stress, to finish them are intensified. Stress is not always the enemy; it has the potential to be a great motivator.

The ultimate system to defeat procrastination is with more procrastination; two negatives make a positive. There are times when I am so bent on putting off one task, I actually begin another: if I have to do a particularly unpleasant chore, I will go to great extents to avoid it by keeping myself busy with other tasks. For example, I will do all my homework along with countless other chores before I will actually do what I am dreading the most. I am so determined to avoid certain tasks; I actually become productive so as to have a valid excuse. With the aid of extreme procrastination, not only will the task at hand be finished (eventually), but all the other chores that have piled up will be completed as well.

Procrastination is part of human nature, that is, to avoid displeasure, but there are many ways to overcome its inconveniences without exerting serious effort.