Photo Source: Andrea Piacquadio,

Photo Source: Andrea Piacquadio,

Nicolas Yassmine, Writer

Everyone has procrastinated once or twice in their lifetime and it’s not something most of us are proud of.  At the moment, procrastination feels like the right option, but that’s only because we don’t feel like doing that certain thing, whether it be because we feel it will take us an extended amount of time, or we don’t want to commit our full, undivided attention to a task.


A common saying, “Sacrifice what you want now for what you want later,” is an inspiring quote that can be used mainly for life and decision-making. However, it can also be used in times of procrastination. 


If you have the time to do your work at the moment, take a deep breath, dial in on just that task, and bang it out, you got this. You can do whatever you would like to with your free time afterward and not have to worry about when that assignment is due. However, it is easier said than done.


What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something. The tasks people procrastinate on are usually the ones that require full focus and effort. A task that requires full focus and effort is also a consumer of our energy and time that we feel we may not have.


This is when procrastination comes in.


We begin to feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed and feel procrastinating is our only option. However, it’s safe to say that after developing procrastination as a habit, we feel some sort of shame or disappointment in ourselves.


This is because we spend so much time saying things like, “I’ll start it tomorrow” or “I’ll do it tonight.” We can even make excuses like, “I will start it next week because I had a bad start to this week.” or, “One more episode of this show and then I’ll start my homework,”  when in reality it should be started now. 


Why Do We Procrastinate?

One study shows that people who procrastinate tend to have high levels of anxiety and poor impulse control, and their procrastination can even be linked to physical illness. Procrastinators tend to continue pushing aside what they know they should start now rather than later, but they are so anxious and overwhelmed by what needs to be done that they keep pushing it back until the last minute. 


Ms. Costello, the school librarian, admitted she does procrastinate occasionally. She said, “In general, I am not a procrastinator, however, we all procrastinate at times.” She continues, “To procrastinate, I avoid things that I feel will take a long time, are hard to do, and are boring.” She is not alone; that is the reason we procrastinate. 


She said that she was procrastinating cleaning a drawer in her kitchen filled with utensils for a year because she had thought it would take hours to do so. However, it only took her 20 minutes to complete the task. Often, the tasks we hold off on until the last minute do not anticipate as much time as we think they will. 


I interviewed Libby Murphy, a senior three-sport athlete, top three in her class, who also owns her own cookie business. When asked, Libby said she was not a procrastinator, “I would say I’m not a procrastinator and I have never been one” she said. Whenever she does procrastinate, however, she tends to do so when she is feeling stressed about an assignment or when she feels as though it might take a long time. 


Is Procrastination a Bad Thing?

Junior Peter Hart said, “Yes I am a procrastinator. I tend to do my work later than I should even when I have the time to do it sooner, I just push it off to the very last minute that I have to finish it.” When asked what he does to procrastinate, Hart said “I usually go on my phone and play chess or go on Tik Tok or Instagram.” 


Most teenagers, and adults even, do the exact same things to procrastinate, which is hours of scrolling, and most of them have feelings of regret and frustration in themselves after wasting so much time that they could have used to be productive.


After asking Libby what kind of emotions she felt after procrastinating, she said  “I get mad at myself because I am aware of how much valuable time I wasted. “When asked if she ever procrastinates with something she loves, Libby said, “Yes I would say I procrastinate with going for runs in the morning right after I wake up before school.


What Can You Do To Help It?

In order to be more productive, there are ways to make work seem less intimidating. According to a study, taking a break from work increases your focus when returning to work, thus improving your productivity. Breaks are crucial, for they help us return to our task with improved focus. Our brains need real breaks in order to gain our full focus back. People should be taking real breaks so they don’t procrastinate any more than necessary. 


One study states that taking a purposeful break, anywhere from five minutes to an hour, from studying refreshes your brain and body and increases your energy, productivity, and ability to focus. It also mentions that social media is not considered a purposeful break. Valid breaks include reconnecting with nature, meditation, taking a fifteen or twenty-minute power nap, and taking a walk.


I asked an anonymous student what she does to stop procrastinating and she said, “There is nothing that I voluntarily do that makes me stop, the only thing that makes me stop procrastinating is realizing how stressed out I am from all of the work I have to do.”


The same student said, “With school, I will push everything off until the night before the day everything is due because it’s hard for me actually to get started. I guess it’s the discipline aspect of getting work done.” 


Libby said that her way of getting herself out of a procrastination slump is by giving herself the opportunity to earn a reward, “I usually give myself a reward, which would be to go to Target or go on my phone most of the time ”


The Other Side

Some people, however, have different opinions. Peter, for instance, said, “No I don’t usually feel frustrated because I still end up completing what needs to be done, and I enjoy procrastinating because I don’t like doing my work all at once.” 


Procrastination can be good for some people and has intellectual benefits as well.  


One study by Harvard shows that procrastination gives you more time to consider divergent ideas, think in nonlinear ways, and make unexpected leaps. Meaning procrastination is actually beneficial for some people, considering it gives them more time to think strategically 

about how they want to go about their tasks.


Procrastination is something that we are all guilty of, but in the end, there are ways to work around it.


Now ask yourself, are you a procrastinator? While you figure that out, I am going to do my math homework.