Becca: Why You Can’t Stop Procrastinating and Why You Don’t Need To

Like many students at BU and beyond, I tend to procrastinate, especially when things get busy.  Studies show that up to 95% of college students procrastinate on a regular basis. So, odds are you do too. Every September and January, I vowed to quit procrastinating that semester. But November or April rolls around and I’m doing homework the day its due and prioritizing the gym, extracurriculars, and Netflix over why I came to BU. I would start major projects a couple days in advance and kick myself the entire time.

We were always told it was bad, too. “You need as much time to revise as possible.” “You’re setting a bad habit for the future.” But, is procrastination really as bad as it seems?

First off, there could be a couple reasons underlying why you are making the conscious or unconscious choice to procrastinate. The first reason is that you could be afraid of failing. Putting in effort but still failing makes you anxious so you wait and so you can always use the excuse that you started late if you do fail. The second reason is actually the opposite. Success and the burden of more responsibility can be frightening because it propels you into the unknown. The last big reason is perfectionism and the anxiety that accompanies a misstep or two. This demanding standard of work is incapacitating, especially in a creative-heavy field like communications.

(The effects of depression and anxiety effects can make you more likely to procrastinate events, but I am not in any way a mental health professional. Please see a trained professional if you or someone you know are suffering.)

Regardless of the reason you procrastinate, I am saying something controversial right now. There is no need for you to stop procrastinating. As long as your grades don’t slip and your quality of life doesn’t diminish, why stop procrastinating? There are a couple reasons procrastination works in your favor.

As you wander, your brain can make the connections that come with an idle mind. Keeping things on the “back of your mind” can make them expand and turn into these beautiful nuggets of creative inspiration.

Procrastination forces you to prioritize your time. For example, I always make time to call my mom before I do assigned readings. Turns out, my family is important to me and optional textbook reading is less. Can you blame me?

  • You apologize better when you take break.  

When you procrastinate the important stuff, like the stuff you may need to apologize for, you are likely to develop a more sincere and honest response and apology. The other person has time to relax and you both approach the situation with your rational minds.

There are other reasons to keep actively procrastinating. Focus your time on and energy on the most important things in your life. Keep flexing your creativity and don’t let your fears or anxieties keep you from your best work.

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