(…) It is a paradox, to some degree, but technologies, along with increasing the efficiency of individuals’ performance in all spheres of everyday life, at the same time have significantly contributed to procrastination. The most banal, but exact example would be the Internet and its influence on job performance: when having access to the limitless storage of various information and entertainment, a person experiences issues with concentrating on their primary tasks. However, even long before the invention of the Web, the phenomena of procrastination had been already known. In the 18th century, Samuel Johnson wrote: “I could not forbear to reproach myself for having so long neglected what was unavoidably to be done, and of which every moment’s idleness increased the difficulty” (The New Yorker). The ancient Greek poet Hesiod called not to put one’s work off until the next day, or the day after it; Cicero had paid attention to the problem of procrastination, calling it hateful (Association for Psychological Science). Therefore, the problem of procrastination has existed for a long period of time, and seems to be immanent to human psychology rather than caused by certain external circumstances or irritants (…)
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(Two more pages about the history of the subject’s scrutiny)
(…) It is surprising, but many people do not see procrastination as a negative factor that prevents them from self-development, building a career, or accomplishing life goals. Moreover, people tend to believe procrastinating is a necessary part of their daily activities, since they are convinced in their better performance under pressure, and that it does not matter—just that the job is completed on time (Association for Psychological Science).
In essence, procrastination means delaying to perform certain important tasks despite their priority, often in favor of smaller or more enjoyable ones (Mind Tools). In practice, it may manifest itself not only at the workplace, but also in everyday life situations, such as hesitating to go to a dentist, or to reply to an email. The Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof was known to have had been delaying sending a package to his friend for eight months (The New Yorker).
(…) Once again returning to the myth about the better performance of procrastinators compared to workers who strive to accomplish their tasks on time, it is necessary to mention the truth is exactly the opposite: procrastinators are more prone to stress, and their performance—either at work or in daily activities—is lower. This is well illustrated by an experiment held in 1997 among college students by Dianne Tice and William James. The researchers rated students on the established scale of procrastination, simultaneously monitoring their academic performance, stress, and general health levels. At first procrastinators seemed to be having better results—presumably, due to their greater involvement in enjoyable activities. However, at the end of a semester, it turned out that procrastinators had lower grades, and demonstrated significantly higher levels of stress and illness than students who were more disciplined (Association for Psychological Science).
(3 more pages dedicated to the definition of procrastination and defining its effects)
(…) Procrastination can manifest itself in many different ways. Sometimes people may even think they are not hesitating, but rationally approaching their tasks—but in fact their delaying is nothing more than procrastination. According to the motives usually standing behind hesitation, six types of procrastinators can be distinguished:
– Perfectionists often find it difficult to start working on a task because they believe every detail must be perfect, and this causes anxiety within them.
– Dreamers regularly get distracted by abstract thoughts, preferring them to the necessity to face real-life events; planning tasks and observing every little detail is also difficult for them.
– Crisis-makers believe they work best when they are under pressure, or even enjoy the rush, so they intentionally wait until the last moment to start working on their tasks.
– Defiers see the necessity to accomplish tasks as an unfair or unnecessary use of their energy and life resources, or as an infringement of their individuality.
– Overdoers take on too many tasks and responsibility due to their inability to refuse when they are asked to help. Thus, they have to procrastinate on one task to complete with another one.
– Worriers prefer to stay in their comfort zones and not to take on too many tasks, as it seems risky to them (Addicted2Success).
(5 more pages about classifications of procrastinators, and ways of overcoming it)
Surowiecki, James. “Later.” The New Yorker. N.p., 11 Oct. 2010. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. <http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2010/10/11/101011crbo_books_surowiecki>.
Jaffe, Eric. “Why Wait? The Science Behind Procrastination.” Association for Psychological Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. <http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2013/april-13/why-wait-the-science-behind-procrastination.html>.
“Overcoming Procrastination.” Mind Tools. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. <http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_96.htm>.
“The 6 Different Types of Procrastinators – Find Your Type & We’ll Show You How To Fix It.” Addicted2Success. N.p., 6 Feb. 2012. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. <http://addicted2success.com/success-advice/the-6-different-types-of-procrastinators-find-your-type-well-show-you-how-to-fix-it/>.
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