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It's not controversial to aver that procrastination is bad. Most would agree without giving it a second thought. But what about procrastination is so harmful, and why do we procrastinate when we readily agree we shouldn't? When I talk about procrastination, I'm talking about delaying an important task despite knowing we will suffer as a result. Why would we do this? The problem seems to have its roots in an inability to manage emotions, and from an overweighting of short-term benefits over long-term costs. In a landmark 1997 study, Dianne Tice and Roy Baumeister rated college students on an established scale of procrastination, then tracked their academic performance, stress, and general health throughout the semester. Initially the procrastinators reported lower levels of stress, presumably because they were enjoying more pleasurable activities in lieu of the work they should have been doing. By the end of the semester, however, the procrastinators earned lower... read more

Study Skills Part 1: Fighting Procrastination It is always the same: You just think about the German vocabulary you have to learn, or about the historical dates you should know---and hey, presto, you find yourself checking E-mails, updating your Facebook site, or cleaning the windows to perfection like you have never done before. There is a word for this phenomenon: procrastination. Although this isn't per se a bad habit, it can be very annoying in quite different areas of your life. You know what? I just did it. I planned to publish this blog post last week. At first, it felt very rewarding to clean the windows instead of working to finish and present the post. However, it was not sustainable. „When we procrastinate, we know we are acting against our own best interests.“ (Steel [2010], p. 3) There is no doubt the long term effect of procrastination is just nasty. You are waiting for the good news? Here it is. It's easy to fix. You will become the master of... read more

In response to Wyzant's question, "How should students prepare to go back to school if they only have a few minutes to spare each day," I say focus on time management. How are you going to keep track of assignments? How are you going to remember your homework? When are you going to study for tests? How are you going to keep on top of long term projects without procrastinating?    If you don't have a calendar or daily planner, get one. You need to put all your assignments for all your classes in one place. Not needing to look in six different places to find out what you need to do for homework each night will save you a great deal of time. All homework assignments should be in the same place.   The same is true for homework sheets and papers; they should be in the same place. You should have a folder or a front pocket of a 3-ring binder that is dedicated only to homework papers. If you use a folder, you can use one side for worksheets still to... read more

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