Quite possibly the most bitter sweet activity a person can partake in, procrastination provides people with the opportunity to avoid doing some sort of work for as long as possible, almost forcing you to complete it at a certain point. It is essentially an intentional disregard for the required completion of some piece of work. And the worst part is, with the technologically advanced world we now live in, outlets of entertainment are incredibly abundant. Therefore, the ability to avoid boredom and/or completing work is much more prevalent as most media entertainment is a click away.
However, for most, procrastination becomes an overwhelming strain as the put-off of so many assignments, tasks, and responsibilities overloads the mind with stress and worry. It even seems as if a feeling of guilt constantly emerges during procrastination, because the fact remains that you are doing the wrong thing by avoiding crucial responsibilities. In turn, this constant preoccupation has a negative effect on a person’s capacity to fully fulfill, in terms of enjoyment and stimulation, the time in which he or she is procrastinating, which results in an uninteresting experience. Overall, due to the immense pressure on and procrastination of working individuals, a conscious burden and guilt develops in their heads which makes free-time less appealing and legitimately entertaining. (boredom)
I will examine how this concept affects individuals participating in different forms of upper-level education, knowledge, and workload
High School Students
With the independent, free-spirited minds that almost all teenage and young adult students possess, participating in activities that are school or work related is never seen as pleasurable or direly necessary to these people. Most young people have this idea that they are invincible, and that everything is bound to work out in the end regardless of any poor decisions along the way. Not to mention, being in high school, there is an immense pressure on these kids to perform well in all aspects of life, as their future, livelihood, and parental approval depends on it. Parents constantly remind their children through high school that grades will be essential to gain acceptance to college and that extracurriculars are the key to a complete application.
So with their proclaimed invincibility and societal pressure bearing down on them, it creates the perfect time to procrastinate and simply try to enjoy every moment you have left until that next due date. Procrastination is perfect in this regard because it acts a temporary, intentional escape from all the responsibilities of life and also reinforces their belief that “it’ll all work out in the end as long as I get it done”. In any way, though, this age group is still young and seeking fun. So when the chance to avoid mundane activities, such as school work, presents itself, it seems there is only one alternative: procrastination.
In contrast to students of older age, high school students are socially involved to a much higher degree. Because most of those attending high school have been seeing and conversing with the same faces since kindergarten, closer friend relationships are developed which increases one’s temptation to disregard schoolwork and say “screw it”. Adversely, although you develop strong relationships with these people, seeing the same faces in the same small (maybe big) town everyday for potentially 12 years of your life can become extremely monotonous, which is one of the main roots of boredom for high schoolers. If not in close proximity to a big city or entertainment hub, most of these kids are of young age, possibly without a drivers license or source of money. So in reality many of the same week and weekend activities remain the same which becomes unintriguing after a while.
Also, earlier and earlier in their lives, kids are being accustomed to high-tech electronic devices that make beating boredom the easiest thing in the world, at least temporarily. With so many social media sources and outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Vine, and Instagrams at these people’s fingertips, it almost becomes an automatic impulse among them to use these applications when bored. However two things result from this expansion of technology. One being that since these devices are being used so much on a daily basis, stimulation and interest day after day becomes less and less. People will often mindlessly scroll through Twitter and Instagram in leu of conversing with the people right in front of you. The second thing is that the growth of technology makes it easier for students to procrastinate. Even if they are studying or writing an essay, they do not need to go very far for a break or escape from work, and it can consequently lead to an hour or so of non-work related activity.
The group of people that undergoes the worst of procrastination and its boring consequences is college students, graduate and undergraduate. Transitioning from an environment in which academic degree of difficulty is relatively low to a rigorous academic environment, a significant amount of college students struggle to adapt adequately. The workload received is so great that it is often difficult to scrounge personal time, which forces them to revert to procrastination and a last minute attempt at work. This has an advert effect on their academic performance and overall experience during school.
“Students worry about performing inadequately or fear their success may raise others’ expectations of them, he says. Other students may actually think they get a thrill out of delaying their work and believe they work best under pressure” said Depaul University professor Joseph Farrari. In either way, fear of an unsatisfactory result or raised expectations of you by respected others increases temptation to hold off tasks to the last second. I know personally that when I know there is a lengthy assignment, exam, or essay that I have yet to complete, I literally sleep as long as I can because that’s really the only true way to completely stop myself from thinking about it. For me and most others, it usually leads to a day or tiredness and laziness in which nothing productive is accomplished.
According to Piers Steel , a psychologist at the University of Calgary, found in a 2007 meta-analysis that roughly eighty percent to ninety-five percent of college students procrastinate their coursework. This is evidence that due to the high standard set by universities, even those who were diligent and punctual in primary schooling are succumbing to procrastination and accumulating stress by doing so. It is well known that the more effective strategy is to break up a large piece of work into multiple small sections to reduce the amount of time needed to be spent in one sitting. However, with a handful of other more interesting things to do that are far less boring, people choose to forego the responsible route and waste another very useful hour, day, or week. In a survey conducted by Caitlin Lenker and Dan McAndrew dealing with procrastination and its influence on students, one student said that “They (college students) are too lazy to be organized and get everything done before they have fun. They would rather have all of the fun first, before doing work.” Unfortunately, while they may be having “fun”, there is no doubt that while doing whatever it is that is not what they should be, the free time is less satisfied because of their knowledge of upcoming assignments that continue to pile up for them to complete later.
Contrary to popular opinion, the independence college students acquire when they begin their four-year adventure is another reason why they fall victim to this lifestyle. Unlike earlier schooling, there is no little angel on your shoulder, that being parents and others, pointing you in the right direction and pampering you through thick and thin. There is no one there making you finish your homework before going out which allows for vast amounts of procrastination.
Not only do they have the academic stressors on their shoulders, but are pressed to make relationships that will last through college and accumulate some type of income to sufficiently support day-to-day living. Unfortunately, this is difficult for those who are both employed and unemployed during college. If employed, yes there is less time for procrastination, but after a long day of classes followed by a dinner shift later that day, its presumable that most people will still decide to procrastinate other responsibilities in exchange for relaxation. For the unemployed, it simply adds to the already large pile of stress already in your brain. Knowing that you have no steady income, a cafeteria that serves the same gross food everyday, a growing pile of tasks not yet completed, and other personal issues usually present, how is it possible not to get bored? Procrastination becomes a snowball in this as one negative consequence after the next continue to emerge.
In my experience, for example, I know for a fact that taking care of responsibilities and academic duties ahead of time is such a refreshing feeling as you just simply feel better about your academic standing and entire being. Free of stress and constant reminder of what I should be doing, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the present situation I was in. Because your only focus is what is happening right in front of you, you are able to hone in on that without the distraction of unfinished work.
Adults in the Workforce
Despite an adults responsibility to potentially support a family and attend to personal needs, they are the least susceptible to boredom and procrastination. Typically adults are forced to adapt to a schedule that demands a day-long commitment and allows for little to no time for leisure. So, room for procrastination is very minimal as the commitment to a family and yearly salary job is much more of a reason to not procrastinate. And the hustle-bustle style of life leaves zero downtown, which makes boredom very hard to come by.
Unlike unmonitored school students, adults are not able to do things other than work while at their occupation. They obviously have more incentive to work as they know they will be receiving a hefty sum of money in the future, so their motivation to work is much higher than students. They are realistically unable to procrastinate because if you approach your boss explaining why you didn’t have a presentation ready for the meeting, you are simply going to be a fired which would instigate a complete downhill spiral.
Another reason adults are less effected by the restrictions of boredom, is that they are not as technologically inclined as their children’s generation. Most adults barely know how to operate smart phones and devices, so that’s one less thing to worry about. There is less of a reliance on those devices to escape boredom, so they are more creative and intuitive when combating boredom which is an overall more stimulating experience.
Haycock, Laurel. “Procrastination in College Students: The Role of Self-Efficacy and Anxiety”. Journal of Counseling and Development. 23 December 2011. Web.
Lenker, Caitlin. “The Procrastination Epidemic: An Investigative Report”. The Minstrel. Web.
Novotney, Amy. “Procrastination or Intentional Delay?”. American Psychological Association. January 2010. Web. Page 14.
Misra, Ranjita. “College Students’ Academic Stress and its Relation to Their Anxiety, Time Management, and Leisure Satisfaction”. American Journal of Health Studies. 2000 Volume 16 Issue 1. Web.