The difficulty of certain projects often provokes a desire to delay or otherwise waste time before getting down to business. This urge to procrastinate can affect people’s lives as an occasional temptation or as a nearly irresistible habit, hinging upon the temperament of the individual.
In three particular fields of activity, namely college, business and home life, procrastination can cause an especially detrimental effect. A closer look at the underlying factors for procrastination in each of these settings can help illuminate some of the influences in the decision to procrastinate.
For many students, procrastination emerges as a significant problem during the first years of college. The college procrastinator is frequently an individual who, for one of several possible reasons, did not learn effective time management strategies during high school. Often accustomed to high school assignments that are purely short term or that have been broken down into a series of littler assignments by the high school teachers, the college procrastinator is at a loss to correct to college’s long term assignments. In some examples, the college procrastinator underestimates the difficulty of a term report or end-of-semester project because the professor does not perpetually remind the class about the forthcoming deadline.
For this reason, the difficulties faced by the college procrastinator can be seen as a failure to adjust from a structured, regulated learning environment into an environment where independent time management skills are necessary. Once the need for discipline and organization has been recognized, a few elementary tools, such as a day planner, can help the college procrastinator organize a self-structured series of goals and deadlines for long-term assignments.
Whereas the college procrastinator might evade a difficult assignment by playing computer games or socializing, the business procrastinator is oft more subtle in his or her strategy. Rather than engaging in meaningless amusements, which might be punished if discovered, the business procrastinator often wastes time on activities that are in fact part or his or her job description but that are not the most important tasks at the moment.
In some cases, a lack of confidence in the ability to successfully complete difficult assignments compels the business procrastinator to pursue easy, straightforward minor tasks. In other situations, an inability to recognise high- and low-priority assignments causes the business procrastinator to perceive that the simple jobs are just as crucial as the complicated ones, leaving the business procrastinator no cause to pursue the more Herculean tasks.
To remedy this circumstance, the business procrastinator first must learn to recognize which tasks have the most potential to impact the success of the business itself and to affect the course of business in the long term. Once this has been achieved, the business procrastinator can analyze long-term, complicated tasks into a series of manageable deadlines so that it's not quite so intense.
Instead of being unable to face a deadline, the home-life procrastinator is often ill at ease with the never-ending nature of daily home-related chores. Yard work, home repairs, cleaning and meal preparation can all assume the uninspiring role of routine inconveniences in a person’s life. As incomplete chores accumulate over time, the home-life postponer begins to feel the pressure of house work invading the joys of routine life.
To counter this situation, a specific time should be set aside each week to schedule a reasonable number of weekly chores. By naming which tasks should be accomplished on which day, the home-life procrastinator can gain control over the amount of work. And by fixing certain tasks to certain days, the procrastinator could stop feeling blameworthy about any unfinished chores provided that he or she has attained the chores earmark for the present day.