Three weeks ago from today, Alyssa, my roommate, thought she had what seemed like all the time in the world to do her assignment for her Art History class. However, most of that time was spent going out here and there with friends and socializing with new people. The day is almost over and she’s getting nervous, rushing to get the assignment done before it’s due. My roommate now repeatedly says, “I knew this was going to happen. Will I ever learn?” Although she didn’t say it, I knew which lesson she was talking about. Her feeling of panic wasn’t a stranger to me, or a stranger to many others, as many of us students have suffered from procrastination.
What exactly is procrastination? According to Oxford Dictionaries, procrastination is “the action of delaying or postponing something.” From my own experience, I know this is something many people my age do. This doesn’t mean people of all ages don’t procrastinate, but I’m focusing on those in college.
The Encyclopedia of Business and Finance describes procrastination as “one of the deadliest enemies of good time management” (846). People who suffer from procrastination wait until the last possible moment to do almost anything. Some find it almost impossible to take the first step in any project. It can seriously affect work quality and heighten personal stress. It may create uninvited feelings of panic and chaos. Feeling panic during an exam due to not studying or knowing the material can lead to cheating. This could start at an early age and follow students through college. This is not only against school code, but the student doesn’t learn any of the material from doing this. Not completing an assignment on time can lead to students copying off each other’s work, once again, leaving them to learn nothing for themselves. The reason for procrastination varies from person to person.
Lack of good time management definitely plays a role in procrastination: “Time management may be defined as the discovery and application of the most efficient method(s) of completing assignments of any length in the optimum time and with the highest quality.” (Foley 846). Without good time-management skills, how will we ever get that paper in on time? I had asked 10 people in my own Art History class if they always hand their work in to the best of their ability, and 8 out of 10 of them told me they hand in all their work on time, but they know it isn’t their best work due to the little time they leave themselves to do it. They use up almost all the time they have to actually complete the work with doing other activities. Going out late at night, spending the day with friends and just wasting time downloading music were only some of the things my classmates told me they do instead of the work that needs to get done. Some say they work better under pressure, but is this true? The work may get done when under pressure (having little time to complete it), but the actual quality of the work is not better. When we are under pressure it is common to feel rushed, and most of us cannot rush through work while doing a high quality job at the same time.
Procrastination not only leaves us little to no time to do our work, but it also leaves us to not doing a good job. So how can we better our time management skills? Prioritizing and developing goals are both key to be successful when it comes to time (Burton). The Encyclopedia of Small Business links time with success. The more time we give ourselves to complete a task, the better we can be at completing it well and on time, therefore more success. We must use our time efficiently and avoid the unwanted stress that comes from procrastinating. Unfortunately, there are college students who often forget to prioritize, and put socializing with friends on top of the list. This leads to putting the more important tasks at the bottom of the list, and therefore ending up like Alyssa, rushing to do things last minute.
Burton, Virgil. “Time Management.” Encyclopedia of Small Business (2011) : 1260-1261. Gale. Web. 9 Apr. 2013.
Foley, Carrie. “Time Management.” Encyclopedia of Business and Finance (2001) : 846 – 848. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 9 Apr. 2013.
“Procrastination.” Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press, 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2013.