To most people, procrastination isn’t the best work ethic to have. Most psychologists think it’s down-right awful, however, for some reason, we continue to do it. For something so “horrible”, one would imagine that not many people would practice it. According to an article on Cnet.com, around 80% to 95% of college students procrastinate, and about 50% of them do it regularly. If that many students are procrastinating, there must be some benefit. If done correctly, procrastination can provide both an immense amount of free time and relieve a lot of stress. A study isn’t needed to know that almost every college student ever would like more free time and less stress. Procrastination also allows the student to utilize the benefits of working under pressure, something that can be a substantial benefit to the writing process.
The benefits of procrastination are strikingly similar to the benefits of completing an assignment early. Both can clear up plenty of free time and take a load off a students shoulders. However, working early does have its downsides. Doing an assignment right away can interfere with existing plans or prevent new ones from coming up. While social plans aren’t usually that important by themselves, they can help relieve stress which is always a good thing. Usually the best time to do homework is in the morning before class (as long as there is enough time). In almost every single situation ever, people want to relax at night. Not much ever happens in the morning, which makes it the ideal time to do homework. This also kills two birds with one stone by pushing the assignment back as far as possible to allow the writer to reap the benefits of working under pressure, the other thing that procrastinating has over not procrastinating.
When working under pressure, a person’s mind can focus almost entirely on the assignment being done. This blocks out the majority of outside distractions that could interfere with the writing process. A good amount of people are also fortunate enough to be able to work very well under pressure. When work is done without pressure involved (let’s say on the night a paper is assigned), the writer has no initiative to complete the assignment and can become lazy with writing. In some instances (something that used to happen to me all too often), a writer will develop the contagious thought, “I have plenty of time to do this. Why am I doing it now?” If this happens, a student can blow off an assignment entirely by periodically thinking “I should check Facebook,” or “Eh, I’ll do it some other time” instead of figuring out when “some other time” will be.
Efficiently managing time is essential to good procrastination. Anything that will cause stress, discourage writing, or cut into working time should be avoided. Anything relaxing (watching TV, video games, reading) or productive is great for procrastination. Relaxing activities give a student a chance to unwind and calm down before tackling an assignment. It also allows a student to evade the stress caused by actually doing the assignment. On the other hand, being productive while procrastinating is a great way to accomplish many smaller, less important tasks (laundry, cleaning, doing other work) which, in turn, can relieve even more stress. By relieving stress, a student will not feel as overwhelmed when writing the paper.
Like most things in life, procrastination can’t be over used. On large papers and projects, it’s usually best to plan ahead to make sure you can get the best quality out of it. However, on almost all other assignments, procrastination can be utilized to simultaneously maximize time efficiency and minimize stress, and still effectively complete the task on time.
Distinguishing between what types of assignments can be procrastinated is usually a very simple process. Anything that is a very large portion of a final grade usually should be planed out to ensure a good/passing grade (i.e. term papers, thesis papers, and research papers). Smaller assignments, such as homework worksheets, and 1 page essays, can almost always be done the night or morning before. With smaller assignments, there isn’t a lot, or any background research that needs to be done. One can simply sit down and begin writing. Larger assignments require the writer to become familiar with the topic before actually sitting down and writing anything. Larger papers also take much longer to write (usually more time than one has in one night or morning), and require the writer to set aside enough time over the course of a few days or a week to research the topic, and ultimately write the paper.
Before and during procrastination, one must always keep the wisdom of Oscar Wilde in mind; “I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do…the day after”
A Formular for Procrastination – Stefanie Olsen http://news.cnet.com/A-formula-for-procrastination/2100-1008_3-6149636.html