Tackling Procrastination

Can it be dealt with?


Michelle Bekhtel

STOCKTON: According to famed entrepreneur Victor Kiam, “Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.”  Constantly waiting until later to do what must be done will push back opportunities again and again.  Many people around the world struggle with procrastination every day, which can reduce their productivity.  To understand why we procrastinate, we must learn the true definition of procrastination.  Procrastination is when an individual enables themselves to not complete a task.  Since the individual’s brain is telling them to push it back until later.  When delaying or postponing a task, procrastination will result in unneeded stress and the task will still need to be completed.  What might start as a small task we put off until later, may lead to a feeling of impossible to accomplish a task.  This concept is something that many of us are familiar with and deal with every day.

On the surface, procrastination seems straightforward.  An individual is too “lazy” or does not want to complete an activity now, and they decide to push it back.  This idea is

actually inaccurate, as there are many different forms of procrastination with different motivations behind them.  To be precise, there are six types of procrastination: the worrier, the perfectionist, the over-doer, the crisis maker, the dreamer, and the defier. In his article “The 6 Types of Procrastinator and How they Think,” psychologist Jayson Moran further goes into depth about what qualities make up each type of procrastinator.  The first type is the worrier.  The worrier believes that they will not be able to complete a task, so they do not complete the first step of starting.  Unlike the worrier, the perfectionist believes that their worth is based on completing the task extremely well, so they will wait until later to devise a successful solution.  The over-doer has a similar mindset to the perfectionist, but they devote themselves to too many tasks and have tactics linked with anxiety.  The crisis maker will rely on pressure to carry out a task at the latest time needed to complete it.  The last type of procrastinators are the dreamer and the defier.  These two personalities coexist since they both think that they shouldn’t have to work hard to succeed.  The difference between both is the dreamer thinks they shouldn’t have to do work to reach their dreams, and the defier simply doesn’t wish to complete tasks from the anger they feel towards the individual giving them the task.  Acknowledging the psychology of procrastination is a great way to decipher how procrastination affects you. 

Another great way to further understand procrastination is by listening to other people’s experience with procrastination.  Procrastination is a quality that is often associated with students, but people in  the workforce do deal with this issue as well.  In an interview with Miss Yeager, a Lincoln High teacher, she explained how she still deals with procrastination as a teacher.  She stated, “I work best under pressure.  Everything always gets done but sometimes there’s an added pressure and it gets done better.  I’m still a procrastinator, and I was really bad in high school.”  Based on our conversation, this Miss Yeager is most likely the crisis maker type of procrastinator.  Since she finds that she works best under pressure, she creates that pressure to get her work done most efficiently.  Miss Yeager mentioned that she thinks that procrastination in teens is something that they are still trying to make sense of and overcoming procrastination is a skill that students will obtain over time.  She explained, “It’s a life skill to learn how to organize your time and utilize your time.  It’s something that I think a lot of high school students are still trying to figure out.”  She lastly gave advice to Lincoln High School students on how to deal with procrastination from her viewpoint.  She said, “Your life will be a lot less stressful if you don’t procrastinate, because then you have time to make sure that you are doing things correctly and time to edit stuff.  Keep yourself organized!” 

Comparatively, a students’ perspective on procrastination looks different.  When interviewing a Lincoln High student named Madison Ancheta, she stated that she is a procrastinator and the main reasoning is that she has difficulty in starting her class assignments.  She explained, “Getting started is the hardest part, I keep getting distracted.  I need to fix that” Madison also stated that it usually takes her three hours to get to starting her homework.  She explained, “I get home at maybe around 4:00, and I get distracted by my phone, so I usually start my homework around 7:00”  To stop procrastinating, she tries to limit her distractions by putting her phone away and going into a secluded room.  When asked if she thinks teachers procrastinate, she believes that teachers don’t procrastinate.  She believes students do it more.  She said,  “No, I don’t think so. I know teachers may do it because of lots of grading, but I know more students that have missing assignments because they procrastinate” She adds that she believes teachers have more time in their grading periods, so they are less prone to procrastinate: “I know that they do have grading periods and they want to get it done so students can see their grades” Looking at the viewpoints on procrastination from both the perspective of a teacher and a student, you can now understand that procrastination is relatively common in everyone.  The hard part of solving it is to work on it.

Escaping the black hole of procrastination isn’t simple, it can take a large amount of time, effort, and control to do.  One way you can conquer procrastination is by seeing what type of procrastinator you relate to the most.  Are you like the worrier who believes that you will not be able to complete something so you do not make the first attempt.  Or are you like the crisis maker and who requires unneeded pressure to push yourself to complete something?  Whichever of the six procrastination types you are, it is recommended that you should sort out what qualities make you a procrastinator and then lock down on how to grow past these qualities.  Always remember, procrastination isn’t an easy concept to remove from your natural human habits, so be patient with yourself and exhibit determination.