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How I Overcame Procrastination | Advice from a Student

How I Overcame Procrastination | Advice from a Student

My assignment was due on Monday and I didn’t even begin until Sunday morning. I knew I wouldn’t get any assistance from my professor or TA because it was the weekend, so I wouldn’t get an email response until Monday at the earliest. I felt very anxious and stressed leading up to Monday. When I finally got a chance to speak to my professor, I felt embarrassed and knew it wasn’t going to go well. Up until this point, I was a good student and was doing well in the course. But finally, procrastination had caught up to me. She told me I could get an extension, but this was the last time. I was really upset and disappointed with myself, but I apologized to my professor, and within the next three days, I would have to submit my assignment. I was forced to ask myself, “How had my procrastination gotten to this point, and how could I stop it?” 

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Procrastination is a major issue among students, and I was one of those affected students. However, the good thing is that this issue is highly treatable and curable. Before delving deeper into my quest towards avoiding procrastination, let’s understand the origin of the word 'Procrastination'. It has been derived from the Latin word 'procrastinus'. In which the adjunct 'pro' denotes ‘forward’ and 'crastinus' points towards 'tomorrow'. In simpler words, the term 'procrastination' is used when someone pushes or postpones their tasks due to their work-shy attitude.  

“Why do I procrastinate?” is the question that I started to ask myself constantly. I began to observe my own behaviour when I procrastinated. The self-reflection made me realize that I delay those tasks and jobs that don't make me feel delighted or excited while being engaged with them. Thus, I prioritize them at the end of my to-do lists. Of course, there are other likely reasons too, such as disturbances, lack of focus, excessive pile of work, apathy and many more. This was the basis for me creating several delaying tactics. 

But one day, I realized that the consequences of our decisions, whether good or bad, follow us till the end, and we need to bear the consequences of it whether we like it or not. By putting off my duties, my potential and capabilities were getting affected and that led to poor performance in my respective career, a real disturbance in my daily routine and almost risked my volunteering roles. This ultimately left a bad impression on my professors, supervisors, fellow students and friends. “Having a dilly-dallying approach is a bad factor in one's persona and will eventually give rise to many difficulties,” said my professor. I realized it's necessary to take initiative to avoid procrastination. 

Procrastinating is not an inbuilt default in anyone's personality. Instead, it's developed as other tasks may seem more appealing and fun to do. I took my professor’s statement to heart and did my best to avoid this issue by following a few steps. My first step towards avoiding procrastination was to admit to myself that I am procrastinating. 

 After recognizing it, I got to know some methods of overcoming my work-shy attitude.  

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The first possible approach is promising to reward myself after the completion of a task The reward that you set for yourself will automatically boost your morale and make you finish that task more quickly. For example, after completing a task, I reward myself by watching an episode of a show I like. 

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The second approach is asking someone to keep an eye on me and supervise me.  

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Another approach is keeping the unpleasant tasks at the top of my to-do list. This way, I have more time to engage in activities that make me joyful and help me end my day on a positive note so I can tell myself, "Yes, I had a great day today!"

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If I want a more time-restrictive approach with a sense of urgency to get things done, I can use the Pomodoro Method or the Four Quadrants of Time Management to plan my days based on the most important priorities and set time restrictions for each task.  

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Lastly, when I am fatigued, I take a small coffee break or go for a stroll to refuel my energy.  

I successfully used these five methods to complete my assignment within the three-day extension and received a grade of ‘A.’  

There's never the right time to do any task ergo, procrastination or being work-shy is not the solution to get away from the work that does not make you feel enthusiastic or interested. Procrastination begins when you start ignoring tasks and say, "I am not in a mood, so I'll do it later." That task just keeps getting delayed and piles up along with other less important tasks. In the end, you face health issues like increased stress levels, anxieties and depression, which only increases the likelihood of procrastination – and the cycle continues. 

In conclusion, procrastination will only lead to increased stress and a stacked workload. It is better to be punctual with every task that is being assigned to you. This will avoid procrastination and make you more organized with your daily routine, and the deadlines will not be missed. It begins with acknowledging that there is a problem of procrastination and following steps to overcome it.  

There's a famous line by an Indian mystic poet named Kabir Das "Tomorrow’s work do today, today's work now. If the moment is lost, how will the work be done?" 

Dipanpreet Kaur Headshot

I am a versatile and budding poet from India, currently in my first year at York University as an international student majoring in English and Professional Writing. I began my journey as a poet in 2021 and I love to try new genres and styles of poetry. I am the ‘7th English Sainoist’ in the world. I have been appointed as the ‘Youngest Moderator’ of the digital poetry forum “Motivational Strips” on Facebook, with over 30,000 members from around the world. Being an optimistic and cheerful person filled with enthusiasm, I want to spread positivity everywhere through my writings.

— Dipanpreet Kaur