Category Archives: Procrastination

The following are excerpts of Student Success posts related to Procrastination. Click here for a list of Procrastination article titles.

Distractions & procrastination: can you pass the marshmallow test?

Would you take the one marshmallow now or wait for two later?


Don’t let the marshmallow be a distraction!

Procrastination is all about putting off for later something you don’t want to do in exchange for feeling better now.

In the classic Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, Professor Walter Mischel offered young children a sort of opposite problem: feeling stress now by putting off something you want in order to get more of it later.

He gave children a marshmallow and then told them that if they didn’t eat it now, in fifteen minutes they’d get another one. But if they ate the first one, they wouldn’t get another one at all. (Here for How to give the marshmallow test.)

Seems kinda cruel to me, and if I were a kid in the experiment, I’d have eaten the 1st marshmallow then held the researcher for ransom for five more — and now.

Impulse control v instant gratification

The point is, however, that the ability to withhold the impulse for instant gratification is a powerful life skill. Children in the experiment who were able to hold off for two marshmallows were found, ten and twelve years later, to be “significantly more competent” than other adolescents and scored higher on SAT tests.

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Self-advocacy & the missing work trap: why so many zeroes?

So your teacher posted a grade report and you have no idea what those missing assignments are?

Problem or no problem? Well, you have no idea what that work was, anyway, so there’s nothing you can do. Problem solved.

A couple things are going on here:

  1. The teacher is using code for the assignments
  2. The key to the code is in code
  3. The items your teacher posted have nothing to do with the homework assignments your teacher gave you and you can’t figure out which is what.
  4. You’d rather just not deal with it.

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Procrastinating the steps: how to follow instructions when you just want to rush through it

Impatience with instructions is just procrastination in another form

In this case, the procrastination isn’t delay, it’s not wanting to put up with annoying instructions, details, and steps.

If,

Procrastination is harmful deferment of an aversive task
(translation: putting off something we don’t want to do and getting burned by it later)

then, if you’re skipping instructions in order to finish more quickly and it leads to a lower grade, you’re procrastinating. Continue reading

How do I get better grades? Five easy steps to improve your grades

Lots of advice out there, most of it good but not very practical.

Try these steps for simplifying and acting on your goals one bite at a time:

1.  Lower your expectations

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2. Focus on little steps, not big gains

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3. Be aware of why you procrastinate

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4. You don’t have to do it all at once: just get started!

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5.  Ask your teacher a question

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Notice how each of these five steps are about the same thing: focusing on the little parts of your bigger picture and just getting started on it.

It will all fall into place once you get going.

Good luck, and please let us know if we can help out.

– Michael

Procrastinating on time: is your work as good as it could be? How to will yourself to finishing completely

Phew! So you got it in. Was it as good as it could have been?

Procrastination isn’t just about getting to things late. It’s also about getting them done fully and properly.

Any harm caused by delay or deferment is procrastination. Just because you turned it in on time doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have done better had you given yourself more time, or had you not given up in the middle and just mailed in the rest.

Complete completion, or just kinda done?

As a teacher I all-too frequently received unfinished or sloppily completed last minute work. But, heh, it was in on time! Sorry, return to sender. Continue reading

Dr. Procrastination: Tim Pychyl featured on Ottawa TV

Great interview on CTV Ottawa news! In this interview Dr. P talks about the destructive and limiting effects of procrastination on lifestyle choices. When procrastination controls you, you are not in control of the things you want to do and be. Dr. Pychyl shows viewers the priorities and responsibilities for his own life, as he discusses the truly “existential” damage of procrastination and the limits it puts on the lives of sufferers. Continue reading

Procrastination destroys

Help us fight this disease.

Procrastination destroys grades, it destroys relationships, it destroys futures.

It may not seem like such a big deal. Just make another promise to yourself to get better grades next time, study more, and move on. Besides, cramming it in and busting it out at the last minute always works for me!

Here to learn more:   Procrastination Specialists

Careful.

As procrastination expert, Dr. Timothy Pychyl says,

If you work best under pressure, you only work under pressure.

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Why do students cheat? Procrastination and cheating

Shhhh… academic dishonesty going on.

Well, yeah, students cheat. Schools look upon it as a horrible violation of civic rules, a sure sign of a life of failure ahead, and they threaten dire consequences for it. Frankly, it’s more like a speeding violation than the theft that it is: cheaters rarely get caught, and usually just for the big things (call it “reckless cheating”).

As with speeding, treating cheating as an offense against mankind won’t stop it. Like all things in schools, the snap of the finger just doesn’t magically transform children into little angels and prodigies. So they cheat. Continue reading

Scaffolding students out of procrastination: teacher interview with Mike Cahir

Scaffolding students out of procrastination: teacher interview with Mike Cahir

Student Success Podcast No. 16
Feb. 10, 2014, recorded Feb 8, 2014

Today’s Guest: Mike Cahir, Teacher and Department Chair, English Department, Archbishop Carroll High School, Washington, DC

In this interview, Mike rejoins us to discuss procrastination from the point of view of a high school teacher. I ask him about his take on procrastination, and then I review some of the ideas that we are learning from Dr. Pychyl of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University. Mike processes this new information through delivers his own experiences and offers ideas and advice for both students and teachers. Continue reading