The Science Behind Procrastination
Article by: Cassidy Morrell
Edited by: Emily Baker
Ever look at your homework late at night that’s due tomorrow and think, “Why did I put this off?” Well you’re not alone. Most everyone thinks and feels the exact same way. It’s part of our human nature to sometimes have a ‘put off’ attitude once and a while towards certain tasks. But where does procrastination really come from? And why do we do it?
It’s estimated that ⅕ of adults procrastinate, along with ½ of all high school students. That’s about 500+ students in this school alone. Disheartening, isn’t it? Some major impacts from this world wide “disease,” include diminished performance, poorer mental health, increased stress, worrying, and guilt to follow up. Although procrastination has always been frowned upon, even ancient Greeks have struggled with it in 800 B.C. too, because it’s a habitual tendency that all humans possess according to article, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fearless-you/201506/9-reasons-you-procrastinate-and-9-ways-stop
Furthermore, keep in mind that even the most motivated person might not want to do something right away either, so it’s completely understandable that you sometimes say “I’ll do it tomorrow.” However, too much procrastination isn’t just hateful, it’s harmful. The amount of stress people put on themselves from not completing a task earlier can be very damaging to their health; physically and mentally from the website, https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/why-wait-the-science-behind-procrastination
Similarly, there’s nothing that screams procrastination more, than when you’re faced with a task you just don’t want to do. It comes from boredom, laziness, difficulty, or lack of energy.
Here are the 7 main reasons as to why we all procrastinate:
1. Self compassion gets thrown aside
Researchers noticed that when people have little to no self love, then they tend to feel more stressed out when performing even the simplest tasks, increasing the likeliness of procrastination.
2. Procrastination can come from role models
If you’ve ever seen your parent or sibling use a “I’ll do it later” kind of attitude, you’re generally more likely to pick it up from them.
3. You have a negative opinion against a certain responsibility
You might often think you can’t do something because of its level of difficulty, or that it’s not as exciting to complete, such as bills, taxes, homework, etc.
4. The timing is off
As functioning humans, we tend to underestimate the time it will take us to complete something, which is commonly known as planning fallacy.
5. Perfectionism can cloud your judgement
If you ever think something has to be ‘perfect’ don’t forget it also has to be ‘on time’ too. Try not to let these overly demanding standards keep you from even getting started.
6. Anxiety, depression, or other conditions that delay you from taking action
Someone who suffers from a mental illness can have a diminishing effect on perseverance, concentration, or motivation. If you or a loved one has a mental illness, try seeking professional help from a doctor or therapist.
7. Uncomfortable intolerance
Procrastination often comes from a belief that discomfort can be avoided if something is not done. For example, if a student sees their homework lying out, they may feel not inclined to even start it, because it can be bitter and uncomfortable to sit through.
Moreover, if you ever experience any of these encounters, you can try different methods to help encourage yourself into completing a task. If a task is too boring for your tastes, such as cleaning the house, try playing music to increase your energy. Or if you can’t find any reason why you should hit the gym, think about some personal goals you want to achieve, and see if they give you a boost of motivation. Remember, procrastination is only generated from you. Get up, get motivated, and get going!