The habit of postponing work for a prolonged period of time is a common thing to many people and the effects include; obtaining poor points, overload failure in life and guilt as noted by (Bui, 198). This research paper examines theories on the cause, effect and the problem of procrastination on people daily lives. Procrastination is caused by fear of imperfection, indecision self-efficacy, complicated-task anxiety self-regulatory failures priority confusion, lack of confidence, boredom from minutiae, lack of focus, poor organizational skills, lack of energy, laziness, early morning lag, hyperbolic discounting of time and task evasiveness. Unnecessary delay of task leads to many troubles.
This follows that, people should know that while it is regarded normal to procrastinate to some degree, it turns to a problem when it impedes the human normal functioning. As a result, psychologist urge that there is a need to understand the cause behind the problem of procrastination, and the effective solution that can be applied to fight this problem among people and students in the society as asserted by (Ferrari, 236). Procrastination is basically the most unproductive behavior that many people possess. The force of procrastination is so immense that it can prevent individuals from being successful in their tasks, life, and career in general.
In this research paper, it was found that procrastinators delay until tomorrow what they know they should have accomplished the day before yesterday. It was realized that, people put off working on unpleasant or tiresome tasks from time to time and where most of the people do this occasionally, procrastinator were found to do it most of the time.
Problem of Procrastination
Firstly, procrastination is a stress factor. It is the behavior that makes plan and fails to fulfill those plan. Procrastination Research Group based in Carleton University in Canada survey showed that, procrastination has a negative impact on individual happiness. Long term and wide scale procrastination can turn to be more than a threat to personal happiness, health and productivity (Tuckman, 244). Though people may trivialize procrastination, procrastinator suffers when they fail in reaching their potential or when their careers crash. A chronic procrastinator avoid revealing information in regards to their abilities, tend to focus on the past, make poor estimates and they do not act on their intentions. These characteristic are closely linked with non-competiveness, self control, self deception, low self esteem, depression, self confidence and anxiety.
Joseph Ferrari (1995) asserts that there are no easy answers about procrastination. He observed that procrastination was not about time management. In his view to tell that, a chronic procrastinator he should just do something is the same as telling a clinically depressed individual to cheer up. This research found that some of the procrastinators have very authoritarian fathers. Ferrari (1995) in his research sees the procrastination habit as a continuous rebellion against demands. The problem is laid on strong parents who do not give their children room to have self initiative. Clary Lay from York University, takes a dissimilar track and believes that, procrastinators acts and think in terms of dreams and wishes while non procrastinators gets on with obligations and ought’s. Procrastinators were seen as neurotically disorganized in making their plan also in their thinking making them very forgetful. This research identified two types of procrastination to be particularly commonly known i.e. decisions and behavioral procrastination.
Behavioral procrastination is considered to be a self- sabotage strategy that makes people to shift blame and avoid actions e.g. procrastination can be used as an excuse to failure in exam. The student would rather create the perception and impression that they lacked the effort rather than the ability and thus blame the failure on lack of time. Ferrari (1995) thought that procrastinators suffers from self doubt, low-self esteem and worry about how other people judge the potential. He asserts that procrastinators view their self worth to be based on their ability and if one never completes his task then you can never judge their ability. Prolonged procrastination has a problem of creating failure to perform adequately and a cycle of self defeat behavior which can cause a downward spiral in self esteem. Problem of shame and self inflicted degradation was found to results to mental health problems and stress.
Decisional procrastination on the other hand, was found to be based on strategies to put off making the decision when a person is dealing with choices or conflicts (Schouwenburg, 44). People who often practice high level decisional procrastination tend to have much fear in making errors and are most likely to be perfectionist. They seek more and more information concerning the alternatives before attempt to make a decision, if they happen to make one at all. These procrastinator were found to have a danger of falling a prey to further self sabotage strategies referred optional paralysis; they build so many choices that it becomes difficult to choose, fearing to make a choice on an option that is less perfect.
Cause of Procrastination
Procrastination was found to be as a result of several factors. This are indicated below
• Complicated-task anxiety: sometimes a people are faced with task that is very complicated. This may be due to the nature of the task or, the length of time that is required and, people tend to postpone this task for another day. To fight this complicated task need to be broken into smaller pieces and a starter task should be completed no matter how small they are.
• Fear of imperfection: people are faced with fear that what they are doing is not perfect and tend shun away from some task rather than be considered failure. People should realize that perfection is seldom necessary and rarely attainable.
• Indecision: people are faced with problem of decision-making criteria, and setting deadline for their decision making them to postpone their duties.
• Priority confusion: people are not able to distinguish obligations from options and they may wait for another day to complete their work.
• Poor organizational skills: lack of organizational in the task ones is doing can make it so complicated. People tend to shun away from complicated tasks.
Other cause include laziness in completing ones work and mostly when the task is more than one; Lack of energy and mostly when ones lack enough sleep, healthy food and regular exercise; also Early morning lag.
College students specifically struggle with chronic procrastination (Ellis and Knaus, 1977). Though the effects of procrastinating are mostly negative, many college students were found to overwhelmingly engage in it. This brought the question why engage in activity that is bad? About half of the college student admitted to be chronic procrastinators and the reason for the increase can be attributed to the causes. To many college students, modern technology has increasingly caused them procrastinate their work. Computer activities for example; watching movies and hanging with a friend in social networks like face book can cause significant delay to a student work.
Effects of procrastination
Procrastination was found to have many effects on a person’s work, health, relationships, and life in general. Procrastination can cause stress. A nagging feeling that something is undone or unfinished can cause stress and anxiety which can affect human immune system to fight disease. To students stress and anxiety can affect the ability to focus in the classroom.
Procrastination also creates disorder and clutter around a person which leads to a viscous cycle. It is difficult to work in an environment which is messed with uncompleted work. Messy environment can create a concentration difficulty causing inefficiency. In college, once tutor notices that a student is perpetual procrastinator, he may start thinking the student is unable to manage his responsibilities and that he is generally unable to do his class work properly. When a tutor has a negative impression about a student, it may adversely affect the student performance.
Negative and sometimes catastrophic effects related to procrastination cannot be compared to the extra time that one thinks he is gaining by putting things off.
Effects of procrastination among college students
For college students, this means that procrastination adversely affects their academic work due to poor organization resulting to unhealthy sleep, poor diet, and poor exercise pattern. It has been closely linked to failure of coping up with the norms and styles (Van and Dianna, 49). This translates into late submission of papers, higher tendencies of engaging into abnormal behaviors such as drinking, smoking, postponing appointments and digestive problems. Complicated–duty anxiety where the student is not able to complete the duties and assignments within the time given, the end results were found to be traumatizing to the student due to anxiety and fear. The recently released data in the control of procrastination for college students showed that the students who procrastinate drink more alcohol than those that do not procrastinate. It also indentified that procrastinators have an acute problem with self control and regulation; this is translated into using more time than planned to do a particular duty.
Consequently, research had it that most college students have the intuition of fearing to fail and hence procrastinating students are believed to have less anxiety than the rest. As a result, a lot of psychological stress is often experienced where the students are believed to postpone difficult assignments due to fear of the associated effects of continual study and, the work load associated with it according to (Combs, 56). It has been found that student procrastinators are very vulnerable to two wishful thinking of being able to do it better at the last minute or just waiting for the most appropriate time to do it, which is believed to be just rationalizations and that result to poor performance in class. According to (Cook , 356), a survey of undergraduate procrastination in the university shows that about 2.7 % excused themselves of the demise of a loved one, but the most students excused themselves of computer breakdown or claimed to have forgotten the paper in the room. These excuses were believed to be made to female teachers more than it was done to male instructors. The major question and argument was whether the students who crammed in the last minute retained that knowledge more than their counterparts, but research showed that there was no any relation between procrastination among student and the level of grading. An analysis of the GPA and comparisons with the available sources about procrastination showed that many procrastinators are usually very anxious. Procrastination among the college students is thus believed to be a form of bad behavior, which is contrary to the normal belief of “normal occurrence” procrastination and is believed to develop a character of shifting of blames and a feeling that one is always perfect while the rest are wrong. Findings from debates on whether procrastination is either biological or psychological showed that both are true. Electronics industry has greatly contributed to increased procrastination even though it has contributed to hyper-efficiency. Critical procrastinator’s students are believed to develop self-concealing character where they try as much as possible not to reveal information about themselves. These are I –functions that result in poor performance and decision making process.
Strategies of eliminating procrastination by researchers
(Chun Chu and Jin, 152) have identified that, strategies to eliminate procrastination for proper time management takes the first most place. Time well planned means proper organization. It is urged that telling of a person with procrastination problem to buy a planner is a very hard task. Model of avoiding anxiety is believed not to be the solution to the psychological problems. Researchers argued that procrastinator need to change the way they think and be aware of the of the excuses they make, trying to break up the difficult assignments and tasks, making up the list of the tasks they want to accomplish focusing in the after- math and they consequences of any action not completed within he stipulated time (Johnny, 101). Experts argue that correcting of the I-function may help the procrastinators avoid the character of shifting the blame to other people of the tasks not completed hence promoting a sense of responsibility. Some of these ways of solving procrastination require concentration, high sense of commitment and a strong sense of will-power. Temporal Motivation Theory argues that, self-efficacy plays a major role in solving procrastination by increasing a person’s ability to do tasks appropriately and, the desire for effectiveness and proper organization decreases procrastination.
In conclusion, procrastination is therefore, viewed as a thief of time and its effects are adverse and detrimental especially to the tasks which could otherwise be completed within the stipulated time. It is believed to override our decision making and completely take control over one’s life. Many people have been believed to accept procrastination indirectly by accepting things that may seem simple but, the effects are manifested through a general poor performance. It therefore, requires a high level of wisdom and commitment to break codes of procrastination. The reasons given for procrastination are not fully justifiable and he results are shifting of blame to other people, withdrawal characters and anxiety especially due to failure of meeting the deadlines. Experts have outlined clearly various ways of solving the problems of procrastination, with the greatest concern being the self. Time management skills have also been pointed where proper task. Procrastination is thus a powerful devil to deal with and can easily take control over someone Procrastination is believed to form behavior and people experience its effects unknowingly. Psychologists have defined it as the conscious or subconscious failure of doing tasks. When its effects are overlooked, it becomes a nuisance. It results to unproductiveness, stress and anxiety o the things not done. He overall effect is that a person is usually viewed as irresponsible, a burden and untrustworthy. Various methods of dealing with procrastination have been proposed some of which are easy to deal with while others require high sense of responsibility and commitment. Insight and understanding are viewed as the first steps towards change. Creating an achievable level of achievement and self esteem coupled with a clear definition of what is required of an individual greatly contributes to the fight against procrastination.