Everyone knows the feeling of panic they get the night before a big test when they haven’t started preparing for anything. That terrible feeling of not knowing how to start, where to begin or the constant debate of pushing everything off to the side to focus on other important things, like watching a Netflix show or taking a well-deserved nap. Nevertheless, no one can escape procrastination; it will always be something that individuals will fall back on when they start to feel stressed or overworked. However, procrastination is not always a bad habit. Instead, individuals need to be more willing to allow themselves to take a step back from reality, so they can then put their best foot forward and produce their best work. Despite the negative connotation that comes with procrastinating, it is actually a method that pushes students to perform well under pressure.
In some cases, students know they work better under stress, and that is why they procrastinate. Individuals may work more efficiently under pressure because they need something to boost their minds or something to overpower the stress they may be feeling. When students have a daunting task placed in front of them, it might help them to wait until later to complete it. This forces students to finish the assignment quicker, with the type of adrenaline they need to successfully finish the work they were given. Everyone has different study habits that work for them, but as long as they turn their assignments in on time, it shouldn’t matter when students are completing our work. Some students work better under the pressure, which is why procrastination works best for them.
It is also common that procrastination can help individuals think of more creative and innovative ideas, rather than thinking of an idea right on the spot that is unoriginal or dull. Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist who studies individuals who imagine new ideas, designed an experiment to see just how beneficial procrastinating is. Grant asked individuals to generate new ideas and then had specific readers assess them to see how original they are. He explains the results in a TedTalk, stating “Some of them [individuals] are asked to do the task right away. Others we randomly assign to procrastinate by dangling Minesweeper in front of them for either five or 10 minutes. And sure enough, the moderate procrastinators are 16 percent more creative than the other two groups.” The individuals that procrastinated generated more extravagant ideas because they knew beforehand, they had a task, yet still pushed it off. Since they waited, they got extra time to think of more meaningful ideas while the task was still active in their brains. Taking time to come up with thoughtful and purposeful ideas, instead of rushing, will help individuals complete their assignments with purpose.
There are many reasons why students might be procrastinating. In fact, one particular reason is anxiety. Everyone has experienced anxiety at one point or another, the constant state of feeling worried or uneasy in certain situations. When individuals are given assignment after assignment, they begin to get stressed, and anxious over all the work that they must accomplish in a short time span. This results in students postponing their work to avoid the negative feelings and emotions that come along with it. For most students, having anxiety is a nightmare, and they would do anything to get rid of it. Individuals’ well-being and mental health should always come before schoolwork. If that means making time for themselves occasionally, instead of constantly being overworked, then it’s worth it for them to procrastinate to produce their best work.
Every student has been told by their parents or teachers to not procrastinate, and that pushing things off until the last minute is the worst thing that they could possibly be doing to themselves. Individuals have been told time after time that procrastinating hurts them in the long run, that it is bad for their mental health or that it would be much easier if they just did their work earlier on. Everyone has their own way of approaching the decisions they decide to make, and procrastination may not work for particular individuals. As long as students are getting their work turned in on time and feel fully prepared for their tests, it should not matter when an individual decides to get things done.
Every student has a strategy that works for them, whether it be starting a project the day it is assigned or waiting until the day before it’s due to finish it all at once, students find ways that best fit them. Ultimately, the goal for students is to turn in work on time with the finest, most efficient work. The term, “procrastination” shouldn’t leave students with the feeling of disappointment, or that they should have started a project earlier. Instead, it should be a sign of expressing humanity and knowing that everyone’s limits and boundaries can’t be ignored but prioritized.