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How To End Your Viscous Cycle of Procrastination

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UTSA chapter.

Do you know what is plaguing a higher percentage of adults than depression, anxiety, and alcoholism?

If you guessed procrastination, then you guessed correctly. We have all been there, trying to type up a 3-page essay at 10:30 pm when it’s due at 11:59 pm.

According to Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago and author of “Still Procrastinating? The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done” 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators.

If you tend to procrastinate, know that you are not alone! Let’s talk about what procrastination is, why we procrastinate, and how to stop procrastinating!

What is procrastination?

Procrastination can be defined as, “The voluntary, unnecessary delay of an important task, despite knowing you’ll be worse off for doing so,” according to psychology professor Fuschia Sirois.

Now that we know what procrastination is, let’s talk about what it is not. Procrastination is not relaxation or laziness. “Lazy people, simply don’t do anything and are just fine with it. Procrastinators, on the other hand, have the desire to actually do something but can’t force themselves to start,” says Procrastination.com, a website that gives tips on stopping procrastination.

Why do we procrastinate?

One thought process as to why we procrastinate is that we tend to put things off due to a lack of, “emotional self-regulation — and, in particular, an inability to manage negative moods around a certain task,” according to Professor Fuschia Sirois.

Another thought process says that people tend to ignore their responsibilities due to “decision paralysis, ignoring the value of time, and lack of self-discipline,” according to Procrastination.com

how do we stop procrastinating?

To stop delaying tasks, we need to, “Practice self-compassion, attach meaning to tasks, start small, and reward yourself,” says writer Angela Haupt from the Washington Post. This can look like being kind to ourselves when we inevitably avoid our tasks, because at the end of the day we are all human and bound to make mistakes. If you have a productive day, reward yourself! It can be something as small as watching an extra episode of your favorite show or as big as ordering that special item that has been sitting in your online shopping cart! It is crucial that you recognize and give yourself a pat on the back when you are successful.

Some other methods to help you stop putting off your responsibilities are having a “personal vision, to-do-today [list], and a habit list”, according to Procrastination.com. A personal vision is when you imagine yourself being productive and completing all your tasks efficiently. As for a to-do list and a habit list, who doesn’t love making a list? Each day, make a short and concise list of the tasks that absolutely need to be completed that day. Your habit list can be month-long and include things like making your bed in the morning, taking your vitamins, or going on a daily walk.

So now that you have all the knowledge in your tool belt to stop procrastinating, which task will you cross off your to-do list, first?

Hi, I'm Bailey! I'm a sophomore at UTSA, majoring in Communications with a Public Relations focus. On my page you'll find many articles ranging from environmental issues to feminism to how to throw the best girl's weekend trip!