Procrastination: The disease of youth
A serious issue among today's youth is procrastination. This is found most commonly in students. If a student is given multiple weeks or even months to work on a project, they will put it off until the very last day possible — and sometimes even longer.
This hurts their project, which in turn hurts their grade and ends up being deadly to their schooling. Once you start procrastinating, it is incredibly difficult to stop. It is almost a subconscious act.
Procrastinators everywhere come up with reasons and excuses so that they can get around completing their tasks on time. It seems like it might be a game to them, if anything, where they want to accept the challenge of making their project — homework, job — or anything more difficult by waiting to the last minute and doing spotty work just to get it done to meet the deadline, not expectations.
There are many excuses that procrastinators use to justify their procrastinating: "I still have a few days left." "I'll do it tomorrow for sure." "Right after this episode." "I can play video games for a while before I start." When in reality, they know that they cannot do those things if they want to complete the task with any quality.
Procrastination can turn a great student into someone who scrapes by. Students who wait until they are in school the next day to start a homework assignment most likely are not going to retain the information that they need and are also not likely to do the homework correctly or in time.
This is a deadly habit to get in to, and as we all know, habits are incredibly difficult to break. If you procrastinate for an entire week, you will build up enough false security and confidence to believe that you can get away with it for a month — then what can stop you? Definitely not an entire year. Procrastination adds up quickly, so you have to shake it as soon as possible.
The best way to shake procrastination is never to start in the first place. However, if you are already caught in a cycle of procrastination, all hope is not lost. There are several strategies that you can try to shake your habit.
If you have great self-control, the quitting "cold turkey" strategy is always a good one, where you just stop doing it altogether. However, for many people, the cold turkey strategy is much too difficult of an approach to quit something that they've subconsciously been doing for a while.
An easier approach is to cut your habit by noticing it, then stopping slowly and steadily. The most effective strategy is to know what you need to do and not allow yourself to do the other things that would get in the way.
If you want to play video games, don't turn on your console until after you've finished your assignment or at least started on it. If you want to watch TV, wait until you have enough work put into what you need to do that you won't have to struggle to get it done.
"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday," said Wheatland Union High School senior Thomas Williams. "Procrastination is the grave that opportunity lies in."
Rafe Smith is a senior at Wheatland Union High School. His column appears every six weeks in Education.