This article was contributed by Nellie Burges, a blogger and a tutor who provides writing services.
Many of us often put off important and responsible things later, getting distracted either by more straightforward tasks or entertainment. I was procrastinated the most when I needed to write my term paper, which took a lot of time and energy. I even had to use coursework writing services because there was very little time left by the time I decided to start. So yes, procrastination can cause a lot of inconveniences, and in this article, we will try to understand why it occurs and how to deal with it.
Psychologists call this condition procrastination and admit that they have not yet thoroughly studied its causes. And if adults with a more developed sense of responsibility find it easier to cope with this problem, it can be a severe dead-end for students.
Neurologist and former schoolteacher Judy Willis identify five principles to help overcome the reluctance to work and not put things off indefinitely.
A survey of more than 1,300 high school and college students found that 87% of those surveyed put off specific tasks until later.
Similar figures (80 to 95%) appear in a study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA). Many respondents are aware that procrastination often negatively affects their academic performance.
Most often, students put off homework due to distractions. Also, many students admitted that they are quite busy, and in these conditions, it is difficult for them to concentrate and understand where to start doing their homework. Few admitted that they did not enjoy doing their homework – 10 to 15%, depending on the gender and age category.
The main distractions are social media and television. Interestingly, television is still first (60%), while it has already yielded to social networks (63% of those surveyed).
It is erroneous to assume that turning off the Internet or other radical measures will help a child cope with procrastination. He will find something else to do, not to do what he does not want to do at the moment.
There are several theories to explain this behavior. Still, they do not give a clear answer to the question of why the procrastinator puts off work, rather than seeking, for example, a way to abandon it or pass it on to someone else.
Neurologist and former schoolteacher Judy Willis wrote in an article for The Guardian that procrastination is instinctive. According to her, the idea of avoiding doing certain things is a consequence of the need to survive in primitive times.
The human brain has learned to concentrate on solving simple momentary tasks. And the result of this activity should be visible immediately. This makes it much harder for us to focus on long-term tasks with unclear outcomes that require extra attention and diligence.
Judy Willis notes that as a person gets older, he gradually learns to suppress this instinct, although he cannot get rid of it completely. Children find it more difficult to fight it. They often need help with tasks they don’t consider necessary at the moment and with doing things they potentially don’t enjoy. It is very important (to both parents and teachers) to explain the principles of coping with a condition they do not quite understand themselves. Not only will this help them accomplish tasks on their own in the future, but it will also reduce the likelihood of chronic procrastination in adulthood.
Here are some helpful tips to help students cope with procrastination:
Figure out the assignment
Students often put off an assignment simply because they think it is too complex or incomprehensible. It is usually not the case, though. It is necessary to make a habit of spending at least a few minutes to understand the essence and volume of work. It may also contribute to the fact that you gradually get involved in performing the task.
Make a plan
It’s important to teach your child to plan carefully, keep track of progress, and divide large tasks into several smaller ones. When a student does small jobs, they regularly see the positive result of their efforts. As a result, dopamine is produced in the brain, which causes a feeling of satisfaction, improves memory attention, and increases motivation. The brain stops considering big or tedious tasks by receiving constant rewards and suppresses the instinctive desire to put them off.
Keep yourself interested
Procrastination can arise from an awareness of the practical uselessness of the work being done. The student is much more willing to take up the task, which will give him additional knowledge and skills relating, for example, his hobbies. However, you can cheat the brain – take a few minutes and come up with a scenario where the task and the experience gained in its solution can be useful in later life.
Don’t get distracted
The most obvious but the essential advice. Try to get rid of any external stimuli and fully concentrate on the task, at least at first. It will be more challenging to get distracted when you have already started working.
Do not overestimate yourself
One of the reasons for procrastination is the desire to do everything perfectly. Sooner or later, a person realizes that the result is likely to be imperfect, and he loses any desire to do the job right now. To avoid such a situation, you need to assess your strengths soberly and understand that it is often impossible to reach the ideal.
We wish you good luck in this complex matter of overcoming procrastination and success in your studies.
About the author
Nellie Burges is a blogger and a tutor who provides writing services. The author writes mostly about psychology, education, and philosophy for web magazines and educational portals. Self-development and emotional intelligence are the main areas of the author’s interests.