Students Fight Procrastination as Finals Near

April 30, 2010  

By Alex O’Neal
alexo@smu.edu

Jaya T. Mathew gave advice to students, faculty, and staff about how they could “fight the monster within” on Wednesday, April 28 in Southern Methodist University’s Health Center. The monster she was referring to was procrastination.

With the school year winding down, it is easy to become distracted or realize the due date for that paper or project you’ve been putting off is closer than you thought. In fact, it is estimated that 90% of college students procrastinate.

Mathew, a Licensed Master Social Worker and a Pre-Doctoral psychology intern, explained that there are many forms of procrastination.

“Whether it is registering for classes late, being tardy for class regularly, not returning an e-mail or voicemail, not doing laundry, or doing your work last minute, when you put something off to ‘do sometime later’ you are procrastinating,” Mathew said.

Mathew said that procrastinating could stem from a number of reasons for avoidance, but always stem from some type of emotion or feeling. To help cope with those feelings, she said that it is imperative to identify the causes and effects of procrastinating each task.

For example, she suggested that deciding to sit down and work on a task without distraction for 15 minutes straight allows you to know that the work can be done and it is accomplishable in increments. Also, the 15 minutes can often lead to more time spent working.

She also suggested to plan on having obstacles, but be willing to work against them to achieve that feeling of having a weight lifted off of your shoulders and being able to reward yourself afterward.

“Just identify what you need to work on,” Mathew said. “With proper time management and setting reasonable goals and following a plan, anyone to get their cake and eat it too.”

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