This handout will allow you to understand just why you procrastinate and offer strategies also to fight this common writer’s ailment.


Everyone procrastinates. We put things off because we don’t might like to do them, or because we now have way too many other things on our plates. Putting things off—big or small—is part of being human. It is likely that your procrastination is troubling you if you are reading this handout, however. You suspect you didn’t put off writing projects until the last minute that you could be a much better writer if only. You find that just when you've got really gotten taking place a paper, it’s time to switch it in; so, you never really have time for you revise or proofread carefully. You like the rush of adrenaline you receive whenever you finish a paper 10 minutes you(and your body) are getting tired of pulling all-nighters before it’s due, but. You are feeling okay about procrastinating while in college, you worry that this habit will follow you into your working life.

You can easily tell whether or otherwise not you have to do something regarding your procrastination by examining its consequences. Procrastination may have external consequences (you get a zero on the paper since you never turned it in) or internal consequences (you feel anxious much of the time, even if you are carrying out something you enjoy). You, who cares if you put off washing the dishes, but the dishes don’t bother? If your procrastination leaves you feeling discouraged and overburdened, however, it is the right time to take action.

Is there hope?

You are a hopeless procrastinator, take heart if you think! No body is beyond help. The reality that you are inherently lazy or inefficient that you procrastinate does not mean. Your procrastination is not an untamable beast. It really is a habit which has had some specific origin, and it's also a habit that one can overcome. This handout will assist you to commence to understand why you procrastinate and present you some strategies for turning things around. For some procrastinators, however, there are not any fixes that are quick. You aren’t going to get up tomorrow and never procrastinate again. But you might get up tomorrow and do 1 or 2 simple things that shall help you finish that draft a little earlier or with less stress.

You might not be surprised to discover that procrastinators are generally self-critical. So, while you think about your procrastination and battle to develop work that is different, play the role of gentle with yourself. Punishing yourself every right time you recognize you have got put something off won’t help you change. Rewarding yourself when you make progress shall.

In the event that you don’t care why you procrastinate—you only want to know what to do about it—then you could as well miss out the next part of this handout and go right to the section labeled “What to do about it.” You may only end up more frustrated if you skip to the strategies, however. Making the effort to know about why you procrastinate can help you steer clear of the cycle whereby you swear up and down you will never procrastinate again, simply to find that the next time you've got a paper due, you may be up to 3 a.m. attempting to complete the very first (and only) draft—without knowing why or the way you got there.

Why we do it

In order to stop putting off your writing assignments, it is critical to realize why you have a tendency to do so into the first place. Some of the reasons that individuals procrastinate include the annotated following:

Because we have been afraid

  • Anxiety about failure: then you may avoid working on it in order to avoid feeling the fear if you are scared that a particular piece of writing isn’t going to turn out well.
  • Fear of success: Some procrastinators (the writer with this handout included) fear that when they take effect at their full capacity, they will certainly develop into workaholics. Since we procrastinate compulsively, we assume that we will even write compulsively; we envision ourselves locked in a library carrel, hunched within the computer, barely eating and sleeping rather than seeing friends or going out. The procrastinator who fears success may also assume that if they work way too hard, they will certainly become mean and cold to the people around them, thus losing their capacity to be friendly and also to have fun. Finally, this type of procrastinator may genuinely believe that if they stop procrastinating, then they will begin writing better, which will increase other people’s expectations, thus ultimately increasing the level of pressure they experience.
  • Fear of losing autonomy: Some people delay writing projects as a way of maintaining their independence. Once they receive a writing assignment, they procrastinate as a means of saying, “You can’t make me try this. I am my person this is certainly own. Procrastinating helps them feel more accountable for situations (such as for example college) in which they believe that other folks have authority.
  • Anxiety about being alone: Other writers procrastinate because they want to feel constantly connected to other individuals. For example, you may procrastinate unless you are in such a bind that someone has to come and rescue you. Procrastination therefore ensures that other folks will undoubtedly be involved with your daily life. You may even put off writing because you don’t wish to be alone, and writing is oftentimes a solitary activity. In its worst form, procrastination itself can become a companion, constantly reminding you of all that you must do.
  • Anxiety about attachment: in place of fearing separation, some social people procrastinate so that you can create a barrier between themselves as well as others. They could delay so that you can create chaos in their lives, believing that the chaos will keep other individuals away.

Whether these fears appear in our conscious or subconscious minds, they paralyze us and keep us from taking action, until discomfort and anxiety overwhelms us and forces us to either a) obtain the piece of writing done or b) throw in the towel. (The preceding is a directory of Chapters 2-4 of Jane B. Burka and Lenora M. Yuen’s Procrastination: Why you will do It, how to proceed About It.)

Ourselves to be perfect because we expect

Procrastination and perfectionism often go turn in hand. Perfectionists tend to procrastinate since they expect so much of themselves, and they are scared about whether they can meet those high standards. Perfectionists sometimes think that they could have written a great paper, than to give a full effort and risk writing a mediocre paper that it is better to give a half-hearted effort and maintain the belief. Procrastinating guarantees failure, however it helps perfectionists maintain their belief if they had tried harder that they could have excelled. Another pitfall for perfectionists would be that they tend to ignore progress toward a goal. Provided that the writing project is incomplete, they feel as them closer to a finished product though they aren’t getting anywhere, rather than recognizing that each paragraph moves.

Because we don’t like our writing

You might procrastinate on writing in all its imperfection because you don’t like to re-read what you have written; you hate writing a first draft and then being forced to evaluate it. By procrastinating, you make sure that you don’t have time to read over your projects, thus avoiding that uncomfortable moment.

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