Posted on 27th August 2012
We know we shouldn’t, but we all do it rather a lot.
Procrastinating is easier than ever in our modern age of smartphones, social media, and a whole host of other tempting distractions. However, procrastination is certainly not a new phenomenon, as Shakespeare’s famous Prince of Denmark, Hamlet, shows us.
If we all added up the amount of time we put off doing chores/work/admin in a week, I’m sure we’d be shocked into speeding up and leaping into action.
It’s good to note what distracts you from doing tasks, and see if you can find ways to eliminate potential distractions. Another way to become more efficient is to make ‘to do’ lists in which you prioritize tasks and write down when they need to be done by.
Rowan Pelling recently wrote a very interesting piece for the BBC about procrastination to support her radio programmed on the subject (which airs on Radio 4 at 11am on Tuesday 28th August).
According to statistics in Pelling’s article, 95% of us procrastinate at some point and 20% of the world’s population are chronic procrastinators! These are very worrying figures and certainly point to the need for us all to stop wasting time and become more productive. This is particularly so since ‘chronic procrastinators’ are reported to be ‘less wealthy, less healthy and less happy than those who don’t delay’. I want to become more efficient immediately after reading that!
In the world of education, delays and tardiness can be particularly damaging. Handing in essays late will result in marks being docked, showing up for an exam after the start time will mean that you won’t have as long to complete the paper, and entering a lecture hall after the lecture has begun will seriously annoy your tutors. Getting into the habit of being on time, completing homework and assignments ahead of the deadline and staying on top of your revision will do you the world of good.
Pelling’s article has some excellent advice for those who wish to get a move on and get things done. There’s the classic ‘break the task down into small chunks’ approach, but my new favourite is: “give a trusted friend £50 and tell them that if you don’t complete the task you have undertaken they can give it away to a political party or cause you hate.” A variation of this could include asking your parents to withhold your pocket money until you have finished your homework for the week.
With the new academic year just around the corner, why not make your ‘new term resolution’ to procrastinate less. See how much more you can get done and how much better you’ll feel about your new productive self.