Procrastination: A problem that should be changed now, not later

May 14, 2018 — by Jeffrey Xu

The problem with homework, or any sort of work for that matter, is that I don’t feel any pressure to do it until there is an immediate deadline. And that’s why I almost always procrastinate.

When I volunteered to be a defense lawyer for the mock trial of Kaiser Wilhelm II in World History back in early February, I knew how much work it would take to gather all the facts, prepare all the witnesses and come up with the examination questions. And yet, I still allowed the generous two weeks of preparation Mr. Sheehy gave us to fly by without enough work done.

Thanks to my procrastination, I stayed up until 3 a.m. on the night before the trial and the few nights during the trial, calling the witnesses to brief them and finding additional evidence to support our case — all the while juggling my other homework and extracurriculars.

In the end, the defense won unanimously on both charges, but it felt like a Pyrrhic victory for me. All those sleep-deprived nights took a toll.

The irony is that in freshman year, when my Biology teacher Mr. Orre assigned us a 20 Time project in which we could choose any topic of our interest to conduct research on, I chose to find a way to “cure” procrastination.

In my experiment, I asked my subjects, who were just a couple of my friends, to test specific methods that I thought would counteract the dark force of procrastination.

These methods included not eating, not sleeping or even not using the bathroom until finishing homework. I asked my friends to report the times at which they finished their homework, but the self-control required for these tasks makes me think that they didn’t actually implement these methods and failed to report accurate data to me.

However, this inconclusive project still taught me a valuable lesson: Combatting procrastination is not a matter of using slick tips or tricks; rather, you have to be disciplined to actually get things done.

According to Forbes, some powerful sources for motivation and discipline to combat procrastination include goals with deadlines and rewards for getting things done.

So next year, I plan to set concrete goals and reward myself when I get the work done. This will be especially crucial to combat the nightmares of junior year.

Hopefully, these strategies, rather than the ones I used in my 20 Time project, will motivate me to have better self-control, which is what will finally propel me out of the void called procrastination.

 

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