I would like to welcome Kieran Evans to the blog for this week! I think the topic he speaks on is one we’re all guilty of at one time or another! I’ll be brave and admit it! 🙂 Enjoy!
by Kieran Evans
Greetings and salutations, now, originally, I had spent roughly half an hour ranting about the rhetoric of a topic – ie, I had written 500 words on the joys of not really having anything to write about. Then it hit me just what it was I was doing. I was procrastinating on my blog post, and that’s not a great thing to be doing when you’ve got a deadline. I’m sure everyone’s done this at some point over the years.
So, today the topic that will be covered is procrastination. This is the delicate “art” of putting something off; or rather it’s the counterproductive deferment of activities until a later date or time. The word itself is taken from the Latin ‘procrastinatus’ by pro – meaning forward, and crastinus – meaning of tomorrow. Around 1548 it was first seen in the sermon ‘The Union of the Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and York’ by Edward Hall.
Procrastination can also be derived as task avoidance, either way, it can cause stress, guilt for not completing the task at hand, loss of personal productivity – since the individual isn’t doing anything anyway, and suffering negativity from peers for their inability to meet commitments and/or responsibilities. Procrastination, in and of itself, is considered to be somewhat normal for the regular person. However, if it reaches the point where it overly hinders or stalls working capacity then it may be a sign that there is a psychological disorder causing these problems. *taps head* Up here.
In point of fact, where physiology plays its part in the root causes of procrastination, it has been discovered that it centres mainly round the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for planning, impulse control, attention, and decreases distracting occurrences from other parts of the brain. This is usually caused by either damage to the area or even low activation of the brain’s executive functions which will reduce the capacity to filter out distracting instances. Loss of attention and a rise in procrastination follows shortly thereafter.
Psychologically speaking, the causes can be a whole host of different reasons but mainly featured are senses of poor self-worth, anxiety and a self-defeating mentality (that is to say that they partake in instances that would bring them grief even when other better options are available). Procrastinators base a lot of their thought processes on perfectionism and dwell more on dreams than partake in reality. Procrastination can result in an increasing decline into depression, psychological disability and personal work ethic dysfunction.
As of so far, what has been covered has to do with the psychological issues, physiological roots and the causes therein, however there are other forms of procrastination such as Academic procrastination. While not actually being a special type of the aforementioned topic, it has been shown through surveys (Pychyl, 2010) that a high sample of the students admitted to procrastination although they forgave themselves on a few instances. However after the next examination the levels of procrastination reduced so as not to have a repeat performance of their low grading from the first exam. This is also the reason why I chose to cover this topic, namely because I ‘suffer’ from academic procrastination – instead of completing University work, I’m sitting here at 4:30AM tapping on a laptop and making sure this sounds fluent, smooth and not at all rushed or essay-esque.
Now it comes to the part where discussing a strategy or scheme to overcoming procrastination would be rather helpful. For instance, according to Dr Neil Fiore in his book “The Now Habit”, (first published in 1989), that scheduling your week out in time blocks for different things like family time, entertainment, exercise and sleep is a good way to organise yourself. Then moulding your work hours around that will mean that you have less of a desire to procrastinate on your career or homework or university lectures.
Do not, however, rely too heavily on a single strategy; some others include differential treatment for procrastination. An example: look at your to-do list, anything that isn’t important should be cut back on. It is fairly easy to do this, yet actually putting it into practice can be difficult. Working on that would be wise.
Sometimes a person will procrastinate because they are drained be it either physically or emotionally. Due to a modicum of physics, it can be seen that an object at rest usually remains at rest. If one feels lazy, such simple tasks may require more energy than what one feels they have, which tends to not be the case. In actuality, if an individual procrastinates too much it will begin a spiral down into depression, which isn’t so fun. To solve this problem one must do two things: Get up. Get moving. That’s the simple explanation. Exercise raises one’s energy levels and the more energy one has, the easier tasks become, allowing them to procrastinate procrastination.
Then, we also have perfectionism, which is where one believes they must do a task perfectly, which results in rather a large amount of stress. The perfectionist associates that stress with the task and the end result being to avoid the task to avoid the stress. To fix this, one must give one’s self the permission to be human. Nobody can be perfect first time every time, or even at all, for that matter.
For example, one could see a blog post due on Monday morning as a daunting task, and avoid it until it became a serious issue. Mostly due to a combination on Facebook, kidnapping by friends and a six pack that mysteriously disappeared in under twenty minutes. After that, one or rather, I was not in any position to be writing anything even REMOTELY readable. In any case, replacing that image of a daunting task with a singular imperfect first step of about one hundred words or so, a small paragraph worth, then building off of that would be acceptable. Wherein these examples and strategies are easy to talk about and plan out, but again putting them into practice can be difficult. As it is, one may not finish until an hour before the end process is due.
Unfortunately, that seems to be all I have floating about in my head for the foreseeable future, thus it should be reiterated that procrastination whilst being an object of psychological and physiological roots, it can be countered with simple means as getting up, moving around and taking baby steps. It is not the be all and end all of the to-do list. Thank you for taking a handful of moments out of your busy schedule to procrastinate that little bit more on your work.
Kieran Evans is 20 years old and a Queensland drifting Education student specializing in the Arts. He mostly spends his time lurking about in the far corners of social networking sites and off-topic forums. He also enjoys being randomly kidnapped off campus, locked in car trunks and finding sand/sugar/numbers in his jacket pockets after nights out. In between his net surfing and claustrophobic bruised wanderings, you can track him down at firstname.lastname@example.org
Synopsis: Collection of narratives and prose of Love, Loss, Friendship and Regret, spanning from late 2006 to mid 2010.
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