Studying Tips - Understanding Why You Procrastinate

Are you a procrastinator? Do you like to sleep in, half-complete tasks and leave everything to the last minute? Well join the club! 94% of people worldwide are in the same boat as you. And 94% of people also love saying the following four words: "I'll do it tomorrow".

We say these words to ourselves knowing that an assessment date draws closer and closer or the list of chores gets bigger and bigger, but we just keep on saying it anyway! Unfortunately, this doesn't help us in the slightest because it results in well, nothing! And that's the point, nothing is getting done.

The good news is you probably do have a brain after all! What a relief. The big problem is, however, that while the words "I'll do it tomorrow" may comfort you and give you a sense of relief that everything be will be OK or a hope about what tomorrow may bring, they are also the bane of your entire existence! They torture you. They tease you.

They make you think that when you wake up in the morning you will be super-motivated and super-pumped to tackle a task that yesterday seemed completely impossible. But not today! Today (being tomorrow) you know all the answers and have all the confidence in the world and all the obstacles that stopped you from starting the task yesterday are now gone aren't they? Well aren't they?

Unfortunately the answer is no, because nothing at all has changed! Everything is the same. Except that today is the day! Things are going to happen! Angels are going to fly! The earth is going to shake! OK well maybe not, but you are going to do some work you have been putting off anyway.

So Many Lies

Tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes and you just keep thinking, "Well maybe tomorrow I will do the work!" One day makes no difference anyway does it? Each day you face the same dilemma and each day you make a decision that tomorrow is the best option.

Have you ever felt the rush of an assignment due the next day and you haven't started yet? It may not be a good rush, but it's still a rush and that's why people do it. They then spring into action, usually with a heavy degree of dread and stress about the task ahead. But nonetheless, what was once a boring task has now taken on a challenging context.

 Their previously boring life now has a serious edge! This is the ultimate test and people like to test themselves - and pass (although most just fail and look a fool). In a procrastinator's mind, this rush allows you to perform to an exceptionally high standard and achieve things normal circumstances won't allow. However, it's the testing and failing that is the seriously dangerous part of this practise.

Find A Solution

It's time to stop, take a deep breath and think for a moment about why this is happening. What could the "payoff" be? What is reinforcing the behavior? What is making you want to procrastinate? Do you like drama? Do you enjoy the rush of having to get lots of work done in a short amount of time? Do you hate being told when to do work? Do you want to have a great time first and do your school work later? Are you worried your friends won't think you're "cool" if you do your school work and hand everything in on time?

Instead, just take a moment and think about it. Think about what the payoff is for you. Think about what it is that reinforces why you should procrastinate. There has to be a payoff. No-one does anything they don't want to do without a payoff being involved. So what's yours? Is it because you don't like being told what to do? It is because you want to be in control - even if that means failing?

Is it because you fear what your friends will think if you get your work done and act like a good student? Is it because you think it will be too hard? Is it because you don't know where to start and are hoping someone will help you? What is making you believe procrastinating is a desirable action? Think hard here. What could it be?

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