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Cause and Effect – Procrastination

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“I’ll stop procrastinating…Tomorrow.” This is a mindset that is possessed by a majority of students today. Although putting off writing that English paper until the night before it is due may not seem like a big deal, it has many harmful effects. In fact, what better topic is there for that English paper? Very few are spared from the epidemic known as procrastination. Even less overcome this issue. In order to successfully defeat procrastination, we must first understand it.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to procrastinate is “to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.” Another way of putting it is “to wait until the last minute.” Procrastination is a very bad habit. Even though procrastination is looked down upon, many people still fall victim to it. This is because procrastinating is easy to do and comes naturally to everyone. There are many other causes of procrastination as well. For example, one may underestimate how long a certain task may take to complete. This cause can coincide with a person believing that they have more time to complete a task than they actually have. Some people also feel like that they will have more motivation to do something if they wait to do it. Unfortunately, the opposite effect tends to take place. Environment can also play a role in causing procrastination. A former teacher of mine once stated, “Students’ grades tend to drop during the spring.” This is a result of nice weather being a distraction.

Almost everyone has been warned to not fall far behind in schoolwork. This is because being unorganized is a very slippery slope. People tend to allow too many things pile up resulting in too much to do with too little time. Once a person has entered the vicious cycle of putting off a task in order to complete a task that has been previously put off, it is difficult to keep up. One must learn to have their priorities in check. When someone is disorganized, it tends to be more difficult for them to stay on task. It is also difficult for a disorganized person to keep track of everything going on in world where multi-tasking is a must. With that being said, being overwhelmed certainly does not help. This can lead to forgetting important details and due dates.

Another factor that causes procrastination is fear. Fear is a very powerful emotion. Whenever someone is faced with a difficult task, they can become overran by the fear of not being able to complete it. People who succumb to this are setting themselves up for failure. Whenever someone feels as if they are going to fail, they tend to postpone the task for as long as possible. This means that they often try to avoid the task all together until completion is absolutely necessary. In doing so, the number of tasks that need to be done increases. However, the time required to complete them does not.

Perfectionism can also lead to procrastination. This is because a person is setting a goal for themselves that is unreachable. Whenever these goals are not met, they are a huge source of discouragement even though they couldn’t have been completed in the first place. This will result in lower productivity. From here, it is nothing but a downward spiral. One must realize that no one can write the perfect English paper. Instead of trying to accomplish this, we should focus our time and effort on writing the best paper according to our personal abilities. However, no one should be satisfied with less than what can be achieved.

All of these factors lead to the lack of motivation. Personally, I have the hardest time dealing with this. It is very difficult for me to sit down and force myself to do something that I don’t find very exciting or fun. Lacking motivation is very serious. Without motivation, any dreams that we have or goals that have been set can easily fall apart.

As stated before, procrastination can affect dreams and goals.  It is clear that procrastination is very harmful. Instead of making excuses in order to get out of writing that English paper, we should form new habits of getting it done as soon as possible. Although easier said than done, it will certainly prevent a stressful time crunch the night before the paper is due. Benjamin Franklin definitely had the right idea when he said, “You may delay, but time will not.”

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