“Men talked of killing time, while time quietly kills them” a quote from Dion Boucicault which depicts how people utilize their time in completing tasks or achieving goals. Some may prefer doing tasks ahead of time and being assured that they will be able to finish it in a given period. In some cases, many individuals use their time recklessly and as a result, they tend to procrastinate. Benjamin Franklin once said that “you may delay, but time will not.” the phenomenon of procrastination has prevailed for much of history and continues to flourish in the modern day. A lot of people are accustom in putting off their works until the last minute but time continuously go on whether people delay a task or not.
Procrastination is not limited to working individuals in fact almost all students engage in this kind of behavior especially students in tertiary level. According to Ellis and Knaus, 80%-95% of college students admitted that they procrastinate while nearly 50% of college students chronically procrastinate (Steel, 2007). Academic procrastination is usually observable during examinations and days before the deadline of the school requirements. It is natural to procrastinate occasionally but excessive procrastination can result in many negative repercussions such as lost time, increased stress, lower grades, poorer health, decreased long-term learning, lower self-esteem and even guilt feelings for not doing a task when it should be done. In short, excessive procrastination can interfere with school and personal success. Despite of overwhelmingly negative outcomes of procrastination, still many students are doing it. This conflicting scenario lead to one question: why do people engage in an activity that is not beneficial for them? The most evident reasons why students procrastinate are perfectionism, fear of failure, confusion, task difficulty, poor motivation, difficulty in concentrating, and lack of priorities. Some students put high standard of performance for a task which doesn’t seem possible to meet that standard. A student may lack confidence and fear that he will be unable to accomplish a task successfully. Others are so concern on how to start a task or how it should be completed. Sometimes, a student may lack the skills and abilities needed to accomplish a task. Also, many students may have little or no interest in completing a task because they find it boring or without significance in their lives.
Nowadays, students have plenty of activities which caused them difficulty in setting priorities. In this technology savvy generation, several stuffs are getting the attention and time of students that’s why they have hard time in concentrating. Based on observation, almost all of the students are hooked with social networking sites like facebook which consume their time instead of doing some more relevant tasks. The computer has a wide range of activities to offer that become distractions like computer games, listening to music, watching videos on youtube and surfing the news. Television, cellphone, mp3 and other modern gadgets are some of the other distractions. A study by Quest Media showed that 95% of college students procrastinated “frequently” and “very frequently”. This study also divulge that instead of writing papers, students preferred to watch TV(23%), surf the net(17%), and sleep(13%). I am not an exception to this because I admit that I am a crammer and usually procrastinate.
As I have noticed self-esteem and self-efficacy can be linked to procrastination. Task difficulty, poor motivation and difficulty concentrating are attributed to self-efficacy. According to Bandura (1986), people with high self-efficacy respond to negative feedback with increase effort and motivation while those with low self-efficacy lessen their effort when given negative feedback. Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave. Consequently, self-esteem is how favorably someone evaluates and feels about one’s own self. Perfectionism and fear of failure are associated with self-esteem. People feel that their self-worth increases whenever they finish a task and they become confident of themselves. Failure serves as threat to one’s self-esteem because if a person doesn’t get the task done; it will result to low self-esteem. People are very much concern about how other people perceived them which cause them to perform tasks that are beyond their limits. I know at times I’m a people-pleaser and it upsets me whenever I disappoint people around me. Thus, it affects my self-concept and self-worth.
As a student I have a responsibility to understand why procrastination happens and be aware of the factors that lead to procrastination. I must also regulate this behavior – procrastination, because somehow procrastination has good effects yet not all the time and chronic procrastinators suffer a lot.