My Relationship with Procrastination..and how I’m trying to end it

The year just started and I feel as though I am starting to get behind rather than ahead. In fact - the year just started and I've already handed in an assignment late. Granted the penalty was only a 1%, but really that should be no excuse.

Why drove me to hand it in late? A mix of things; communication with my professors, anxiousness, some confusion about the assignment, however, it was mainly procrastination.

Procrastination is a dear friend, sometimes I find myself getting ready to start an essay and then somehow, I remember that I hadn't finished my laundry and the bathroom was a mess. How could I possibly work when I was surrounded by things that took precedent? Obviously, the lack of candles in my room is more important than an essay on the Cold War.

Procrastination is also a pain -- while yes, I can admit that some of my best grades came from the rush of doing four pages of comparative analysis in less than ten hours. I hate it. I hate the feeling and the anxiousness that comes from it. My relationship with procrastination? Toxic.

Why do we procrastinate?

To me, the first step of getting a handle on my procrastinating tendencies, was understanding WHY we do it. So, I turned to Google.

Google Search - Why do I procrastinate?

Oddly enough, it seems like everyone wants to cover this topic. According to an article by the Washington Post - experts say we procrastinate on tasks we find difficult, unpleasant, or just stressful.

Well then, that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? 

Upcoming assessments are inherently stressful. I struggle a lot starting tasks that I am afraid to do poorly on. Yet I rarely do, and then when I get my grade back and I see I got deducted for the simplest grammar mistakes on an essay and I think -- well if I had started earlier and began to edit it earlier, I wouldn't be in this situation! 

That's why I want to find ways to stop or at least be in a bit more control over it.

How can we stop procrastinating?

For me, the main cause behind my procrastination is fear and overthinking the workload I have.

This midterm season I will be breaking up the deadlines into steps to completing the assignments and exploring resources we have at Academic Success here at U of T. 

They have awesome programs around to help keep you accountable. One of them is the Accountability Group to help students create goals to get started on your tasks/work over the week with peers and peer mentors. The group meets Mondays (to set your goals) and Fridays (to reflect on your weekly progress).

There are also Virtual Study Hubs - you can actually read more about this program in Andrea's last blog "Why Virtual Study Hubs Work"!

To all my fellow procrastinators, I encourage you all to check out these resources. Maybe I'll see you in a study hub!