Problems of procrastination — learning time-management helps in the long run

Conor O'Bryon

The test is tomorrow, but it’s 10 p.m., and all you want to do is play video games or go to sleep. The next thing you know, it’s first period, and you still haven’t picked up your notes. Suddenly you’re cramming for five minutes in the hallway before tackling the exam. Procrastination is a very complex psychological trait that most of us deal with. Why would we intentionally do something that hurts us in the end? That seems against human behavior, but we do it anyway.

The thing is, by putting off necessary tasks so we can do something more interesting, we effectively guarantee that the task will be finished in a rush. Common knowledge says the quicker we do something, the more likely we are to make mistakes. Of course, one homework grade probably won’t affect us in the long run. But not doing any homework or just scribbling something to get a completion grade is not helping. We should really focus on learning in school, not just the grades. Even with our busy schedules, homework should not be blown off. It does help us get a good grasp of the concept. And, although homework is a small part of our report card grade, it helps us practice the concepts that are on tests, which helps boost our grade anyway. It is a win-win if we do the homework, but it does nothing when we don’t.

Everyone has his and her own routine when they get home from school. It is hard to get the right balance between afternoon activities, homework and down time. But it is all a matter of planning ahead. Looking at the week, I figure out which days I will be able to read World History or which days would allow me to work a good hour or two on projects. I might not want to do it, but the knowledge that this is the only day I will be able to complete the homework motivates me to do it then. I am not as busy as some people at Westlake. Everyone has different commitments and different schedules. But effective time management is key to not becoming overwhelmed with school work.

Through all this planning, I am still able to relax a bit when I get home from school before jumping back into the world of work. Finding these moments of relaxation are an important part of staying atop of our homework. Relaxing before doing homework keeps me from getting stressed or angry because of my assignments. It doesn’t have to be a long break per se. For example, it can be a quick snack, or lying down for five minutes.

Another problem is that we sometimes choose inopportune moments to work on homework. No, the bus on the way to school is not the same as a quiet desk at home. The library is full of distractions and isn’t really that quiet. Our assignments demand our full attention. Just listening to your friends talk is very distracting. It is much better to sit in a quiet part of your house where you can just work for a couple of hours.

Unfortunately, we are all different, so there isn’t a “cure” for procrastination. However, all it takes is time management and the limitation of distractions. Procrastination is a real problem, and it doesn’t just happen while we are in school. Outside of high school, procrastination can get you fired from your job. It is important that now, while we are still in school, we are able to practice time-management and good work ethics.