Don’t wait until the last minute!

As college students it is safe to say the majority of us have procrastinated on a project, paper, or studying at some point. Procrastination involves knowing that something needs to be done in a certain time frame, but the individual fails to complete the task due to lack of motivation or other factors such as behavior, cognition, and affect (Ackerman and Gross, 2007). Most of us can admit that we find ourselves with the, “I can finish it tomorrow or next week” thought when having difficulty to find the motivation. Unfortunately, procrastinating is typically followed by the late night in the library scenario scrambling to complete an assignment due the next morning. Consequently, procrastinating is also associated with stress, frustration, and feelings of guilt (Ackerman and Gross, 2007). A study researching a group of college students found that those who procrastinated ultimately reported a lower grade average, and higher levels of stress and illness (Jaffe, 2013).

The next area to address would be how to decrease the act of procrastinating. (Ariely and Wertenbroch, 2002) explain that setting self-imposed deadlines are effective in improving task performance and limiting procrastination. I personally have found this to be effective by making daily check-lists and breaking larger projects and papers up into smaller pieces. I find that this consistently opens up more time to study for exams and have a life outside of grad school. In addition, plan a daily structured routine which will help with time management. A good way to start would be to fill out a weekly schedule based around classes and other school commitments. After those are filled out, start adding in study, homework, exercise, and free times into the schedule. If you are an undergraduate student or know someone in their first couple semesters or school, address the issue of procrastinating quickly because it will catch up to you. A question to ask yourself is what are the activities in your life that are consuming the majority of your time? Common responses from college students are: working, sleeping, watching TV, videogames, hanging out with friends, internet (Pychyl et al., 2000).

Ariely, D., & Wertenbroch, K. (2002). Procrastination, deadlines, and performance: Self-control by precommitment. Psychological Science, 13, 219–224.

Pychyl, T. A., Lee, J. M., Thibodeau, R., & Blunt, A. (2000). Five days of emotion: An experience sampling study of undergraduate student procrastination. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15, 239–254.

Ackerman. D., Gross., B. (2007). I Can Start That JME Manuscript Next Week, Can’t I? The Task Characteristics Behind Why Faculty Procrastinate
Journal of Marketing Education 29: 97-110, doi:10.1177/0273475307302012

Jaffe, E. (2013). Why wait? the science behind procrastination after a long delay, psychological science is beginning to understand the complexities of procrastination. Observer, 26(4), Retrieved from

One thought on “Don’t wait until the last minute!”

  1. I think you can go a little further here. Although it is great to avoid procrastination, it will happen. What should we do when we do procrastinate? When I procrastinate with something,my intention is not always bad. Many times it is because something is more urgent, which causes other things to be put on the back burner. How do I handle this?

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