The Evils of Procrastination

     By Avramit Katsnelson, Class of 2011

       Upon reading a title like that, I would think I’m about to be lectured by a parent or teacher.  That’s probably what you’re thinking right now.  So why are you reading this?  It’s probably because you know this is a student newspaper, and you can gain some insight into the problem of procrastination from someone who has not only been there, but who is still there!

            “Evils” may seem a bit harsh for something that causes inconvenience, but which seems to be pretty harmless.  However, once you’re through reading this, I’m sure you’ll agree that “evils” is appropriate.

            Procrastination is putting off chores, assignments, and homework—anything you just don’t want to do!  In my case, it’s putting off assignments until the very last minute, which is why I often stay up while the rooster is still asleep!

            Laziness is often associated with procrastination but is not always the cause.  It is true that many people procrastinate because they are lazy and would rather be doing something else.  Other times, procrastinators are merely intimidated by the task at hand; they don’t think they have what it takes to complete it.  Thus, they avoid it. 

            How many times have you heard someone say it’s a good idea to start working on an assignment as soon as you as you get it?  How many times have you had to rush to finish an assignment you were given weeks in advance?  After that kind of experience, you probably feel as though you’ve just been tortured and tell yourself, I’m never going to let that happen again!  And yet, you suddenly find yourself once again scrambling to complete an assignment given long ago instead of listening to music or going to bed!

            So why do we do it?  Are we masochists?  Actually, it’s quite the opposite.  Let’s look at the procrastination resulting from us wanting to do something more enjoyable than the task at hand.  When there’s a show we want to watch, for instance, we probably consider that there’s a task that needs to be done.  However, our first thought is, I’ll do it later.  So, what’s wrong with doing it later?  As long as the task gets done, is that so bad? 

Actually, yes!  The problem is not that the task isn’t completed immediately.  It’s that when you allow yourself to do something more enjoyable, you’ll probably do the same thing the next time the opportunity presents itself instead of returning to the work you sent into the bottomless pit of later!  Eventually, you end up doing the work last-minute. 

This is a problem because, first of all, when work is done last-minute, it is rushed, and no one enjoys being rushed!  Second, if it’s an assignment for school, it doesn’t allow you to ask any questions you may have about it.  Thus, although it wasn’t your intention, you have gone from enjoying yourself to making things difficult.  (If you were a masochist, you would enjoy that!)

            In this case, I consider procrastination to be associated with evils not only because of its consequences, but because of how you allow it to happen.  Think about it: it usually isn’t enough to watch just one show or play just one game before getting to your assignment.  Once you give in to that one temptation, you will use your same logic of I’ll do it later to give in to the next one.  In fact, when you continue doing what you want to do, you’re conditioning yourself to avoid assignments even when you want to start doing them!  You might remember a previous time you had fun not doing work and decide to not do it again just because you can!  This brings us to yet another cause of procrastination—rebelling.

            Admit it or not, there was probably at least one time you chose not to do something just because you didn’t like being told to do it.  Unfortunately, you still had to do it in the end, didn’t you?  That’s what happens most of the time, and, again, it only causes you more suffering in the end.  In my case, I despise being given work to do during the weekend or when it’s a vacation.  I feel that doing the work is taking away from the time I should be spending having fun. 

However, I’ve learned from experience that, because I will end up doing the work anyway, it’s a better idea to do a little of it every day—just set aside an hour—than do all of it at once!  At least you’ll then only have to think about school for an hour and still be able to have fun the rest of the day, whereas by doing all your work at the last-minute, you have to have negative feelings about school right before returning to it.  That’s not the best way to start your week (especially if you had to stay up late to finish your work)!  Also, when you procrastinate, you can’t really have as much fun because you know, in the back of your mind, that you have a pile of work waiting for you. (Or is that just me?)             

            Now let’s discuss the procrastination resulting from being intimidated by an assignment.  I know I’ve already made this clear, but in order to avoid procrastination, it’s important to remember that you will still have to do the assignment!  Thus, you should still try to do it earlier when you are intimidated by it. 

This will not only allow you to not rush through it (which sounds like torture to have to do through an assignment you’re already intimidated by), but it will give you an advantage:  if you need to ask a teacher or fellow student a question about it, you will be able to, and you will have time to look up information on the Internet if you need to.  Basically, it’s always better to just get the assignment over with.  (I would rather eat the vegetables before the chocolate cake, if you know what I mean!  How can you enjoy chocolate cake when you know you have vegetables coming up?)

            To conclude, I started off by referring to the evils of procrastination.  Basically, these are (1) conditioning yourself to avoid work, (2) wasting time that you could be spending doing work, and (3) suffering from having to rush through the loathsome work at the last minute.  Now that you know the negative aspects of procrastination, you probably want to know what you can do to make things easier on yourself.  Well, the first step is admitting that you have a problem. 

All you really have to do now is organize your time so that you can do a little bit of work every day, not letting it pile up until it becomes overwhelming!  If thoughts of more pleasant activities, the injustice of having to do work on a weekend, or how intimidating the task is begin to creep into your mind, just remember—you have to do it anyway!

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3 Responses to “The Evils of Procrastination”

  1. keep up the good work..seems that u have potential, but u just forgot to proofread. wait, let me guess….u’re procrastinated!lo
    (just kidding lo)
    Anyway, good job!

  2. hoops! looks like I forgot to proofread my comment…henn! who needs to proofread a slightly-spontaneous and stupid comment

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