Procrastination: the thief of time

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Procrastination: the thief of time

Abby Zinman

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You get home from school on a gloomy Monday afternoon with nothing but homework to do. There’s a history essay due tomorrow, followed by an english discussion about a book that you couldn’t be bothered to read, an upcoming math test, and, don’t forget, exam season is coming. You open up your laptop while pondering over which project to start first and, as you begin to review a very rough draft of your history essay, a subtle yet alarming notification pops up on the right-hand corner of the screen. It’ll only be one minute, you think, I’ll just check one notification and then get back to my work. However, just like having a taste of a delicious bag of chips, it’s impossible to stop after just one.

Ever since the creation of the Internet, it has become more and more difficult to withstand temptations such as Instagram, Netflix shows, and, of course, BuzzFeed quizzes. Procrastination has impaired the productivity of teenagers and has become a significant issue for high school and university students. A procrastinator is anyone who never actually completes a task until the very last moment, or anyone who uses the phrase “I’ll just do it later.” It may result in late nights, incomplete projects, and major stress as the deadline approaches. Despite these consequences, many teenagers still cannot bring themselves to do their homework or to finish a project with minimal distractions. In a poll of 30 high school students, 93% said “YES” when asked if they are a procrastinator.

The common problem of procrastination can be tackled in various ways, depending on one’s personality. One of the most common tactics is to eliminate as many distractions as possible by studying in a comfortable and motivating environment. If you are working on your laptop, turn on “Do Not Disturb Mode” to remove notifications and close tabs or bookmarks of any other websites that may sidetrack you. A Grade 10 student recommends to “do one thing at a time and give [yourself] small rewards, like watching a 5-minute YouTube video” — a great way to do this is to set a timer to stay on schedule.

Dr. Beverly Young, a psychiatrist at Mt. Sinai Hospital who specializes in anxiety disorders in women, has observed that many females procrastinate because they are perfectionists. “When someone is trying to accomplish a stressful task, she often wants it to be done perfectly at the outset. This expectation causes her to avoid the task for fear that the outcome will be less than desired.” Her suggestion is to “break down the project into pieces in order to feel more successful with each completed part.”

So, the next time you are swarmed with homework and feel a strong temptation to leave it all until the last minute, remember to prioritize, separate the assignment into parts, and reward yourself by checking those mesmerizing Snapchat notifications once the work is done.