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The Real Reason You’re Procrastinating and How To Stop  

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

A man lays on a light wooden floor. He wears a button up shirt. His face and chest as well as the floor is covered in yellow and blue sticky notes. Some have small drawings and check marks while others have statements such as "stop!" or "chill"

Did you know that procrastination is actually a form of self harm? That’s right – self harm, which may sound drastic, but it’s the truth.

According to a Case Western Reserve University study from 1997,  “college-age procrastinators ended up with higher stress, more illness and lower grades by the end of the semester.”

I personally tend to procrastinate and feel guilty knowing that I am not only avoiding an important task at hand but also being aware of procrastinating when I don’t even want to. 

As a cybersecurity major, I feel out of place at times because I don’t have such a strong technical background outside of things I need to know for my job or that I have learned in my high school and undergraduate career.

There is also underlying imposter syndrome that creeps its way through due to being a minority student in a predominantly male-dominated field.

While I know I belong and I am a capable and determined woman, it also feels like too much pressure to have to sit down and do all of the things I need to do.

It was when I processed how my responsibilities and assignments made me feel that I realized procrastination isn’t me being lazy or a bad student – it’s actually my fear clouding my judgment and preventing me from getting things done. 

10 Effective Ways To Manage Your Stress

Many of my peers and I myself found ourselves struggling with performing as well as we used to during pre-Covid times. Seeing my grades made me anxious and even sick to my stomach at times. I would get chest pains, palpitations that would echo in my ears, and stomach pains that made me not want to leave my bed at all.

It felt like there was always a looming pressure and anxiety weighing down on me, stripping me of the passion to learn every single day. I was so afraid of failure and losing my scholarships that I began feeling sick.

I was lost in thought on a daily basis comparing myself to the student, the leader, the passionate girl I used to be. That pattern of thinking led me to believe there was something lacking in me and my ability to succeed, learn, and evolve as a student and professional.

I knew I wasn’t a lazy student. I wasn’t someone that didn’t care about her grades, but I found myself so devoid of motivation to pursue studies I once felt so passionate about. I was determined to succeed, but I felt so distraught that I began feeling totally lost. 

 

One day, I decided that enough was enough and that I would not let procrastination be the demon that gets in the way of me completing my studies.

My education was and always will be a priority to me, so I did some research. With a bit of Googling, I realized that procrastination is more prevalent than I had presumed and that there are ways to prevent procrastination, some of which actually helped me get through my semester with an A!

For example, the Pomodoro technique can create a sense of urgency in order to complete tasks at hand. The way this method works is that there are timed intervals known as Pomodoros (which are about 25 minutes each) and are meant to be separated by 5 minute breaks.

After four Pomodoros, you can reward yourself with a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes. This allows you to complete tasks with a reward system mentality while allowing you to remain productive without burning out in the process.

It also helps if you plan out material ahead of time and maintain a clean work environment. Being able to take breaks as well as learning how to best take care of yourself is essential to avoid falling into the vicious trap of procrastination.

 

Learning more about procrastination helped me understand why I was doing it and gave me methods to cope with it. It honestly helped me become the student I knew I was always meant to be. 

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