Procrastination in time management is no stranger to the modern society. Statistics by Beswick, Rothblum & Mann, 1988; Gallagher, 1992; Rothblum, Solomon & Murakami, 1986 estimated that 40 percent to over 50 percent of students were procrastinating. ‘Procrastination arises from the Latin ‘pro,’ indicating ‘ahead, forward, either for,’ as well as ‘crastinus,’ meaning ‘future” (Klein, 1971). On that basis, procrastination actually means the postponement of a task by practice. ‘Postponing by itself is certainly not enough, since procrastination is not the only practice that has a delay aspect’ (Steel, 2002). There are other types of actions which trigger the time delay. For instance, shifting project A to a later point in time since task B is far more significant is not a procrastinating act, but instead a priority act. An action of procrastination is often a negative behavior that decreases work quality and reliability. This is a myth, and might not be valid.
Character can be described as ‘the combination of traits or values that account the unique identity of an individual’ (Oxford, 2011). Many individuals are used to procrastination while others just do not. This shows that procrastination addiction is influenced by the character of an individual. One of the key procrastination reasons is the belief that this will not succeed. There’s a definition for this which is ‘Atychiphobia’, describing the fear of failure. ‘The higher the probability (real or imagined) of failure, the more likely it is that the person will feel depressed as he tackles the job. Speaking about the task provoking stress helps the procrastinator to initiate an alternative activity or diversion ‘(Aitkens, 1982). ‘Atychiphobia’ may be triggered by the procrastinator’s past history, which produced a stressful impact which causes the procrastinator to avoid those tasks and force them as late as possible to prevent the replication of the same experience. However, Schouwenburg (1992) tends to disagree by carrying out a research and finding that ‘fear of failure (Atychiphobia) and procrastination in the study as a whole are only slightly associated.’ Flett (1992) argues that the cause of procrastination should also be blamed for the ‘prescribed perfectionism.’ The justification of ‘prescribed perfectionism’ is strongly related to the fear of failure. As the performance of an individual enhances, so as well the probability of failure raises the fear of failure. There are three types of procrastination which are self-perfectionism in which we anticipate a certain level for ourselves, another perfectionism in which we set a new standard for others and socially prescribed perfectionism in which we assume others have set a standard for us. Surveys conducted out by Flett (1992) have shown that procrastination is linked only to prescribed procrastination. ‘As neuroticism (a behavioral or personality disorder not related to any known neurological or biological dysfunction) was correlated with fear of failure, it is linked with both low self-efficacy and low self-esteem’ (Ellist & Knaus, 1977). People with low self-esteem are often
ignored and therefore do not reach their full potential hence leading to an increase in failure rate. There is a growth in anxiety known as a ‘butterfly effect’ and the fear of not obtaining excellence. Many do not recognize their faith in getting the task accomplished which impacts their reactions to the job.
An individual’s mental stability may also cause procrastination. ‘Depression was connected to procrastination, also’ (Bestwick, 1988; McCown, Johnson & Petzel, 1989; Senecal, 1995). A person who is depressed is more prone to not be in the mindset to accomplish a particular task and thus inducing procrastination. According to Saddler & Sacks (1993), older students who experience low rates of depression, also experience low levels of procrastination. As student mature, the degree of maturity rises, and their ability to manage emotions improves as well. In addition, they shall also learn not to rely solely on feelings. Another mental-state related cause for procrastination is strength. According to Burka and Yuen (1983), if we are exhausted it will be more difficult to begin task. The word ‘tired’ may be described as power and strength loss. Technically speaking, executing any job without energy is impractical. A study done by Solomon and Rothblum (1984) revealed that as an origin of procrastination 23% students claimed that they did not have enough energy to start the job. And when they are tired, performing a task is frustrating and boring. And if they manage to complete it, the outcome would be low in quality. ‘One of the most interesting potential causes of procrastination is extraversion’ (Steel, 2002). Extraversion is described as being concerned with what is outside of the self. ‘Extraverts are focusing their psychic energy outward’ (Carl Jung, 1966). They’ll be charmed by the world around them. Extraverts tend to make people more creative. Unfortunately, this would be both a trigger and a method of procrastination. Energetic people will finish their mission as soon as possible and those who indulge in several tasks, on the other hand, will postpone it and procrastinate.
The act of procrastination practically speaking, affect results. This could be caused by excessive delay and shortened amount of time needed to perform tasks. Tice & Baumeister (1997) claims that, ‘whether a job is completed well before or just slightly before the deadline does not inherently affect the quality of the work.’ According to the analysis carried out by Steel (2002), the productivity of work completed by procrastinator is said to be improved upon reaching the deadline. Steel used the method of tracking the number of assignment accomplished in a day and time taken to finish it. On the other hand, the research carried out by Tice & Baumeister (1997) revealed that procrastinator has obtained lower grades than non-procrastinator in exams. The outcomes of both studies are mutually contradictory. This shows that there is not relationship between procrastination and performance. In addition, the outcome of procrastination varies among different individuals and different tasks.
In reality, some people perform better when deadlines are approaching and some people prefer to have plenty of time to complete any task. Another explanation why procrastinator could have lower grades might be that the procrastinator might have lower knowledge and less abilities than the non-procrastinator in the group has. However, Ferrari (1991) and Taylor (1979) have shown this theory to be wrong. Ferrari and Taylor maintained that there are no solid supports supporting Steel’s argument. Therefore, his point in this case is not really firm and ignored as the statement put forward by Tice & Baumeister is stronger. Procrastinator’s job will require compromises and sacrifices to reach the deadline. Tice & Baumeister’s study stands without a shadow of a doubt, and procrastination influences performance in a negative way.
In 1996 Tice and Baumeister have conducted a study on the health consequences of procrastination. The strategy they employed was to take as a study 60 student volunteers taking a course in health psychology. The due date for the assignment has been announced and they have been told that extension will be in case of submission failure. Participants were asked to fill in details on any health-care provider visit. It was concluded that ‘procrastinator may enjoy a safe, stress-free life when deadlines are far off, but when deadlines are impending they suffer more than others’ (Tice & Baumeiter, 1996). Around the start of the course, procrastinators appear to have better health, and at the end, poorer health. Students who do not procrastinate appear to have more health and emotional issues but have the job done as soon as possible. ‘There are also at least two important advantages of procrastination: reduced stress and decreased sickness’ (Tice & Baumeister, 1997). In other terms, procrastinators may not worry till last minute of their job and therefore have a calm mind and less tension. On the other hand, non-procrastinators think about their job as soon as they get the task and their mind is filled with worries and anxiety to complete the task thereby increasing their stress level and impacting their wellness. The tables are turned, as the deadline approaches. Procrastinators will experience higher levels of tension to finish the task in a rush while non-procrastinators will relax more as they have completed the task. ‘For procrastinators the overall impact of procrastination on stress is greater than for non-procrastinators’ (Tice & Baumeister, 1997). The advantages of procrastination are often balanced by the detrimental impact when the deadlines are closer. Completing a job is far more challenging when deadlines are approaching along with the raised stress levels. As a conclusion of Tice & Baumesiter’s (1997) study, procrastination act has a negative impact on the wellbeing of the procrastinator in the context of stress.
To conclude, procrastination does more harm than good. It is hard to avoid, because it is induced by the behavior of an individual. During the teenage stage, personality is developed and after entering adulthood it is almost difficult to alter. Parents and educators play the part of influencing an individual’s personality to avoid the habit of procrastination. Procrastination is also induced by the mental state of a person. To avoid stepping into procrastination, the person must be wise enough to regulate his or her anxiety and not let it interfere with their day-to-day work and mission.
As for the results, it has positive as well as negative effects. Negative effects therefore overpower the positive effect. The general attitude and perception that procrastination is a negative act and affects the quality of work, is true. While this argument has been confirmed, there are several special circumstances whereby procrastinators work best under stress and short time limits. As for safety, procrastinators face higher stress compared with non-procrastinators overall. To sum up, the act of procrastination is having a detrimental effect on most people and it’s hard but not impossible to stop.