Procrastination Problem

I have always been a procrastinator. I put my homework off until the last possible minute but somehow I always end up completing it.  During soccer season practice ends at 5:30 and I “promptly” start my homework at eight ‘o’clock. Procrastination is a problem that I have always been able to manage until this year.

            When I decided that I wanted to take an online class I had to go see the head of the upper school to discuss my schedule. Mrs. Hill told me that taking this class would be challenging and recommended that I drop a few classes so that during soccer season I would have a study hall. I took her advice and dropped World Religions, and instead of taking AP Chemistry I dropped down to Physics. I assumed that my new schedule would be easier to manage and would give me plenty of time to complete the work for my online class.

When orientation for OSG began they said to spend five to seven hours on your class each week. I thought the work would be easy to manage because I only needed to put aside an hour a day to complete it. My train of thought seemed reasonable, and I was hopeful that my work would be turned by Saturday night. I forgot one thing; I procrastinate.

The first week of class began and I was prepared to follow the one hour a day schedule. On Monday I had a study hall but I forgot to bring my Wilson book to school. I couldn’t do the Government work at home because after soccer I focused on school work and studying for upcoming tests and quizzes. Then on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I continued to forget the government book.

Friday night I stayed home and began the assigned reading. The first thing I decided was that I was going to take notes on the readings while I read. After five pages took me over thirty minutes to read and to take notes on, I decided that my efforts had been in vain. We were assigned about fifty pages of reading; I could not spend approximately five hours on the reading assignment alone. I tore up my notes and brought out my highlighter instead. Chapter Two took me a long time to read but I pushed through and finished it on Friday night. On Saturday, I went out with friends and didn’t return home until 11:30, but I was determined to read part of the next chapter. I stayed up till 1’o’clock reading the third chapter and thankfully finished. After completing the reading assignments I was very proud of myself, believing that I had turned over a new leaf and would never procrastinate again.

Sunday morning came at around elven ’o’clock.  I woke up exhausted and the idea of work made me feel nauseated. Instead of working right away I watched some T.V. Noon came and went and I knew that I needed  to get down to work. I finished the OSG assignments at around 5:30. I was intimidated when I saw that my paper was the shortest and was afraid that I would look like the slacker of the group, but I ignored those thoughts and posted my paper anyway. I finally thought I was done, but then I saw that there was one assignment I overlooked. The assignment took me another hour to complete and again I had the shortest paper.

With my OSG work finally finished at seven ‘o’clock I was ready to take a break and watch “How I Met Your Mother”, but the realization that I still had homework from all my other classes pulled me away from the TV. The night was long and felt even longer when I learned that I had my first test in APUSH. I finished all my homework late and never got to watch “How I Met Your Mother”.

I used to be able to manage my procrastination but after the first week of OSG I learned that I would need to learn to manage my time. I can say with all honesty that I am a long way away from being able to manage my time wisely, but I and hopeful that OSG will make me learn valuable time management skills. I read an article that tells of how bad procrastination it during college (here is the link). I am hoping my procrastination problem will be fixed before college.

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13 comments

  1. Procrastinators unite…tomorrow!

    I have to say that I can totally relate to your dilemma. I am a huge procrastinator as well. I like to think of it as “I work best under pressure” but that isn’t really the truth. 🙂

    I also have taken online courses and understand the difficulty of managing time. If you were in class with a set time, most of it would be managed for you. I don’t know if this will work for you, but it did for me. For my grad school classes, I would look at the syllabus at the beginning of the week and see what I had to do. If it wasn’t anything that required something special that would take more than one sitting, I would just save it all until Sunday. In the morning on Sunday, I would drive myself over to Panera and sit there and do my work until it was finished. I found that with a pair of headphones and unlimited refills, I could minimize my distractions and get more done. I did have to be diligent about not checking twitter or facebook, but I would set little goals. I’d say no twitter until this part is finished and things like that. Having a set time every week to work on it really helped me. I also found that my work required more concentration than I could give it after a long day of teaching. I found myself reading the same things over and over. Your brain may be fresher and it may require less time if you can start fresh on a Sunday morning (or some other time that would work for you).

    Good luck and don’t beat yourself up about it too much!

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    • Thanks for the tip! I will definitely try going to either Panera or Starbucks and trying to get all my work done. I think that it will be helpful because I wont have all the distractions at home.

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  2. Hey Wallen,

    I’ve found that if I give myself very concrete goals, I get more done. And one way that helps me with that is I set a time for just about everything I do. If I need to write a blog post, I turn off all other distractions and set the timer for, say, 45 minutes. Then I can check my e-mail or Twitter or pet the dog or watch some tv or whatever else. But for those 45 (or 5 or 20) minutes, I just commit to being focused and getting things done.

    Try it and let me know how it works!

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  3. Hi Wallen – You are so smart to address this problem before you head to college, and you certainly are not alone in procrastinating. I don’t know very many people who don’t struggle with it.

    As for my solution, I make lists! I keep a list of everything I need to accomplish during the week, and I usually break it down by days. I’ve tried keeping my to-do items listed in different places – sometimes in my google calendar (with pop-up reminders), sometimes on paper, sometimes in a program like Evernote or OneNote. Right now I’m using a combination of a paper list and Google Calendar. Sometimes I even assign times to the list – do x project between 2 and 4 pm. I check it every morning and then keep it close by where I can see and use it often during the day to remind me of what I MUST accomplish.

    It looks like what you are doing isn’t working as well as you’d like…. so explore lots of different ways and see what works for you. Even though list-making works for me, it isn’t for everyone.

    I hope this course helps you to develop these skills. You will find college so much easier if you get this licked now!

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    • I am hoping that I get this problem dealt with before going to college or I know I will find myself starting a term paper two days before the due date. Thanks for the encouragement! I’ll definitely try some of your tips.

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      • Hi Wallen – you are most of the way to solving it by recognizing the problem. I know you’ll find ways to handle this! Good luck.

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  4. Hello Wallen,

    As a fellow procrastinator, I read and understood your opening paragraph. Yet, at times, procrastination can be a step in the journey to learn. Perhaps it’s nothing more than the subconscious mind warning us what lies ahead and our conscious mind not wanting to be involved. The key is overcoming the initial step and starting a task. Before long we become involved and have a love for what we do.

    I see you discovered the value of a highlighter when reading, a small invention I wish had been available when I was at university many years back in the days before calculators and laptops became available. More importantly, I read your took pride in completing your assignment, even if later you discovered more needed to be done. Pride in achievement shows you care about what has been done.

    As far as having the shortest paper is concerned, the length of an assignment is not an issue. I’ll share a task some adult writers were given…

    Write your autobiography in 6 words.

    This was an exercise in being concise. Many chose to write six separate words, others, like me, chose to write a sentence. My entry…

    Seeking ways to make a difference.

    Six words aren’t many but can sum up a life and the goals and hopes of a person. Some people can write numerous pages yet say little when we consider what has been written. Others can sum up the secrets of life in a few short words. Quality not quantity was always encouraged with my students even though they were only primary age (elementary school).

    Your discovery of the need to use time wisely, even if you haven’t yet mastered the idea, reminded me of a recent post from a primary school in England. Students were asked to discuss a philosophical question…

    Is it important to use time wisely?

    I added one of my longer comments via my “Extended Comments for Students” blog. Here is a little of what I had written…

    “When we are young, we don’t have the experiences to make objective judgements a strong part of our choices so we rely more on subjective judgements… As we grow, we experience more of life. We start to see the “bigger picture”. Our judgements start to become more objective… If a teacher were to say you weren’t using your time wisely, they mean they see the bigger picture and see the importance of other tasks in achieving goals. You might see the smaller picture but, in time, you will grow in experience and understand the advice given by others.”

    From what I can see, you are seeing the big picture. With time and experience, making the necessary choices can become easier although, at times, I still have time for procrastination. 🙂

    @RossMannell
    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

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  5. Thanks for taking the very risky step to post your thoughts online. Procrastination is a lifelong issue with me as well and occasionally has led to surface responses instead of deeper learning as I rush to meet deadlines. I find scheduling reminders followed by relaxation exercises helps me get in the mood to work.

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  6. Great blog! Procrastination is really a problem that everyone struggles with because nobody wants to be proactive with it. The best thing to do is just to keep a planner with you making sure which day you do what! Good luck with your procrastination habits and just try to stay on top of things!
    Aaron

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  7. Hi Wallen!

    My name is Claire, and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed reading your post on procrastination, and this is definitely a topic I think most of us can relate to. Procrastinating is a life-long battle for many people, including myself. It is so easy to let assignments or tests slip up on us because there is so much else going on in our lives. Like you, I played a sport in high school, and it took major focus and dedication to play volleyball while also maintaining all of my schoolwork. Even though procrastination is somewhat hard to overcome, I believe you are certainly on the right track to conquering it.

    I am a junior at South Alabama, so I am in my third year of the wonderful world of college. College definitely tests your time management skills, but I have found a few techniques that you may also find helpful as you are nearing entering college yourself. I always keep a planner with me. I have found that if I write everything down that I have to do for the week, I am able to check them off one by one as I accomplish them. Choosing a quiet place to study is extremely vital for me when trying to focus and get work done. If you can’t find quiet at home, try going to your school’s library or a local coffee shop. One of the main keys to unlocking procrastination for me is positivity. I have found that if I begin each task with a positive attitude, I get it done a lot quicker. Rather than dreading doing the work, I strive to find a good attitude towards each assignment. Once all of your tasks are completed, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.

    Well, I hope some of these tips can help you out in the future. You are certainly not alone in the battle against procrastination, so keep up the great work. Good luck with all of your future endeavors!

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  8. Hey Wallen,
    I am Melissa, and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in a class called EDM 310. I enjoyed you post because I two struggle with procrastination. The class I mentioned really test my ability to manage time. We have many projects and I am the worst about waiting until Sunday night when everything is do to start. I have found that making a checklist is the best way to both see what I have do (and how much) and feel rewarded by getting to check it off. Also doing the thing you are dreading the most out of the way first makes everything else seem not as bad and plus the worst is over. I wish you the best in your procrastination problem.

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  9. Hey Wallen,

    I attend the University of South Alabama. I am in a class called EDM 310. All of our work is done online, and due each Sunday night. I suffer with procrastinating also! I have always been just like you all through out high school and junior college. I wait til the night before all my work is due and pull an all nighter. But, when I came to a University, I found out that will not work. I now write everything down on my agenda, and try to do my work a week in advance. It is great doing this because you can enjoy your weekends with your friends and not have to worry about school work. It took me a while to discipline myself, but I am doing it now. I learned keeping everything written in my agenda works well for me! You should try it also!

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