Is tomorrow the busiest day of your week?

Marmalade cat sleeping in a bird feeder.

“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.” George Claude Lorimer
The neighbour’s cat sleeping on our bird table. Photo: D.Gillie

I’d meant to write this post weeks ago but now summer is here and I am asking, ‘Where did all the time go?’

Procrastination. A big word for what is simply putting off until tomorrow what can – or should – be done today.  In fact, the literal translation of the classical Latin root procrastinus is  ‘that which belongs to tomorrow’.

While the concept is simple – delaying or even not doing something – the reasons for procrastinating are manifold, complex and personal. Although written for students, these 6 reasons for procrastinating are equally relevant to academics (including, perhaps, being “bored with course content”…?). Putting things off until tomorrow not only leaves you with an ever increasing workload, it can also turn into a continuing downward spiral driven by guilt, anxiety, stress, self-disgust, inadequacy and depression.

Perhaps not a cheerful topic with which to start off the summer – but inspirational in an unusual sort of way, I hope:  If you already know that you have a tendency to procrastinate or recognise some of the characteristics of procrastination developing, you can give yourself plenty of time to implement effective time-management and coping strategies – before your to do list scrolls off your desk on to the floor and down the corridor.

This Centre for Clinical Interventions (Western Australia) provides an intensive online course in overcoming procrastination. Some good, sound, brief advice out there is for undergraduate students, which you can adapt to your own situation  –  and share with your students:

Writing Centre – University of North Carolina                Avoiding Procrastination – Princeton University                  Procrastination – Cambridge University

And it may help to know, you are not alone. What other strategies and advice do you have for coping with procrastination?


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