The procrastination essay should begin with acknowledgment that everyone sometimes puts off tasks for different reasons. This could be because of fatigue, inability to do the task at the time, or lackof spare time. This phenomenon is especially common for college students.
Some people, however, get into the habit to delay things they need to do. They disregard deadlines, which can lead to problems for others and themselves. This is known as procrastination. According to Ferrari et. al., it is "derived from Latin verbs: pro refers to forward movement and crastinus refers to belonging tomorrow" (qt. in Abbasi and Alghamdi 59). This phenomenon does not include postponing a task in order to complete a more important task. It is setting priorities in this instance, which is not related to procrastination.
There are many factors that can cause the habitual delaying of tasks, including perfectionism, fear, uncertainty, motivation and distractions. Each of these factors and their consequences will be addressed in this essay on procrastination.
Fear of failure and perfectionism
Perfectionism may seem to be a positive trait, as it suggests that someone tries to do his job perfectly. However, it can actually be a problem in many cases. Voltaire's famous quote, "The enemy of the good is the best," is applicable to perfectionists. They don't submit a task on time. Instead, they put off finishing it until the last minute.
Perfectionionism is not a universal trait. It depends on individual attitudes. Dweck says there are two types, "the fixed mindset" or "the growth mindset", that determine an individual's behavior, beliefs, and behaviours. The first type of mindset is based on the belief that one has "a certain amount intelligence, personality and moral character" which can't be changed over time (Dweck7). The second type of mentality is more optimistic. They believe their abilities can be improved and that everyone can learn and improve through experience and application (Dweck 7). Perfectionists are unable to change their minds and believe they are worthy and superior. This causes them to waste time and encourage procrastination.
Perfectionism is closely linked to a second reason for putting off tasks: fear of failure. People can become so focused on their ambitions that they can't afford to fail, and are obsessed with being the best. They are unable to accept new challenges or opportunities that could help them grow because they know they won't be able to handle them. They will delay a task if they can't refuse it. Fear of failure is what they do. This behavior can lead to low salaries, short employment durations, and even unemployment in the workplace (Abbasi and Alghamdi 61). Obsessive pursuits of excellence can lead to procrastination which in turn deprives people from the possibility of personal growth, and leaves them missing out on valuable opportunities.
Fear of the Unknown
People sometimes put off making plans because they don't know what they will experience. This is especially true for relationships and health because there are no deadlines and people have to decide when they should act. A person may put off seeing a doctor if they notice a rash or itching on their skin. In the hope that it will improve on its own, this could be an example. A woman may delay making a decision because she hopes that her life will improve suddenly, but wants to end her relationship with her partner. Both cases show that people procrastinate out of fear of the consequences and prefer to live in uncertainty.
Fear of the unknown can lead to procrastination, which often leads to negative outcomes. Problems are not always easy to solve. People who delay health issues can have "hazardous health consequences, especially if a disease is progressive," (Kroese & de Ridder 317). People's quality-of-life is also affected by procrastination. Instead of eliminating the disturbance and making the desired changes, they postpone problems, wasting their mental energy, and putting off solving them.
People may put off completing a task because they don't like it or have no reason to. They prefer to do more enjoyable, but less important work. The environment can influence motivation, particularly if there are other procrastinators affecting their coworkers by "second-hand procrastination". (Abbasi & Alghamdi 60). This problem can also be caused by misalignment or vagueness in the task at hand.
Procrastination is a sign of low motivation and can lead to poor performance. People who put off tasks have less career options because employers are less likely to hire procrastinators to high-motivation jobs (Abbasi & Alghamdi 60). This applies to work, academic achievements, changing to a healthier lifestyle, or any activity that requires an internal stimuli to move forward.
When there are many distractions that distract from the task at hand, procrastination can occur. With smartphones and easy access to the Internet, this problem has become more prevalent in modern times. In the workplace, coworkers can also cause attention distraction (Sirois & Pychyl 245). Milkman et. al. state that people must choose between their obligations and pleasant things. This is known as a "should-want" conflict (qtd. In Pychyl 245 and Sirois. Procrastination is a result of people choosing instant gratification over committing to work.
As in the above cases, procrastination due to distractions can have negative effects on performance and well-being. Alghamdi and Abbasi argue that students who choose to engage in entertainment activities over studying are more likely to miss the deadlines and have lower academic achievement (60). People who procrastinate often exceed the time limit and complain of higher levels of stress and anxiety (Abbasi, Alghamdi, 61). The problem of not finishing work on time can lead to not only being behind your peers in career and studies, but also health problems.
Procrastination can be rooted in many factors, including lack of motivation, distractions, fear of failure and fear, perfectionism, and fear of the unknown. Each one of these causes can have negative effects on your career, education, health, and personal quality. Procrastination can prevent a person from advancing in the ranks, achieving success in training, or developing as a personality. These are major obstacles to success and life satisfaction. It is important that people recognize their procrastination immediately.
Abbasi, Irum Saeed, and Nawal G. Alghamdi. “The Prevalence, Predictors, Causes, Treatments, and Implications of Procrastination Behaviors in General, Academic, and Work Setting.” International Journal of Psychological Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, 2015, pp. 59-66.
Dweck, Carol. Mindset – Updated Edition: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential. Hachette UK, 2017.
Kroese, Floor M., and Denise T. D. de Ridder. “Health Behaviour Procrastination: A Novel Reasoned Route towards Self-regulatory Failure.” Health Psychology Review, vol. 10, no. 3, 2016, pp. 313-325.
Sirois, Fuschia M., and Timothy A. Pychyl, editors. Procrastination, Health, and Well-being. Academic Press, 2016.
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