By Daniel Kokoski
“I’ll leave tomorrow’s problems to tomorrow’s me.” This foolish man’s statement is usually the mindset for chronic procrastinators who leave their work for the last minute.
Procrastination is an inefficient way to get work done, yet many still practice it anyway. An online survey posted on Schoolloop showed 94.5% of the 145 respondents procrastinated extensively, mostly due to lack of motivation.
Many would rather choose TV, social media, video games, or even sleeping over a tedious task such as homework. StudyMode, an international student help network, conducted a survey on over 1,300 high school and college students. Roughly 87% responded that they procrastinate on schoolwork, most of the reasons being that they get distracted by other, more appealing tasks. This is understandable, not many would be so fervently eager to tackle their homework right after school when they get home. So the impulse to do it later would most likely kick in.
The severe problem of procrastination is not so easily solved. Some may suggest that time management skills would help relieve this troublesome habit. However, this is not always the best solution. Since lack of motivation is the main reason for postponing work, some people would not be able to plan out their work and time effectively without a strong reason to do so. Without motivation, action cannot be executed with ease.
“It really has nothing to do with time-management,” explained Professor Joseph Ferrari, a member of the Association for Psychological Science. “As I tell people, to tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up.”
Procrastination is quite detrimental to an individual’s health. Usually, student procrastinators are more vulnerable to sleep deprivation. Delaying work can also cause high levels of stress and even anxiety, especially among students. Fascinatingly, there are studies that show that procrastination can potentially harm heart health.
Psychological scientist Fuschia Sirois conducted a study among 182 people diagnosed with CVD (cardiovascular disease and 564 healthy controls through a series of online surveys. The survey’s results showed that the CVD group scored considerably higher on procrastination than the control group. Although direct causation between procrastination and cardiovascular health remains unproven, the former shows a definite correlation to the latter.
Nevertheless, procrastination does provide some benefits, such as good stress.
“Sometimes we procrastinate because we have good stress that will influence us to get things done better and faster when there’s a limited amount of time,” elaborates social science teacher Melanie Neethling. “Sometimes we actually perform better under the stress and given circumstances.”
Despite the benefits it can bring, the perplexing question of how to cure procrastination remains. As predictable as it seems, there is no absolute elixir that can solve this concerning issue.
Of course, procrastination does not have to cured. It is a double-edged sword, capable of harming one’s health while also providing good stress and short-term pleasure. People can manage a successful life while harboring such a chronic issue. However, it is important to be aware of the potential long-term consequences that would come your way when giving your future self your future problems.