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Impact of Procrastination on Happiness

4310 words (17 pages) Essay in Psychology

08/02/20 Psychology Reference this

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In the busy modern world, there is a disease that almost everyone suffers from. When it occurs, people just want to keep the world still and forget all the urging and tasks. This “disease” is procrastination. Procrastination is to put off something or a task that needs to be done. Procrastination, on the other hand, is the failure of self-regulation to put off a planned task even when the consequences can be expected to be harmful. Procrastination is the norm in modern adult life. Procrastination happens to everyone in our lives in some way or another, but to a different degree. Whether living or working, there are always people who suffer from “chronic procrastination”. Procrastination reduces happiness of one’s daily life because it causes that people to be afraid to step outside their comfort zone, are lacking in motivation, and find it hard to fall asleep.

Procrastination reduces happiness of one’s daily life because it creates a comfort zone for people, which leads to failure of reaching their goals. Most people like staying in their comfort zone, and sometimes it might not be a problem staying inside your comfort zone. However, once people have something important, challenging and uninteresting waiting to be done, then they are more likely to be afraid of stepping outside their comfort zone, and so they procrastinate. According to Stelnicki et al., “Stress has been shown to be negatively related to regulating emotions and focus on task, which may lead students to neglect to consider or revisit the goals they had originally set for themselves.” (222). The comfort zone is more of a risk-free option when it comes to anxiety and stress. Surely it is safe to be in the comfort zone, with little stress. However, the longer people stay in the comfort zone, the more difficult it is to step outside the comfort zone. Procrastination, in plain English, is avoidance. Some procrastinators always imagine the difficulties will automatically disappear, perhaps tomorrow there is a change, this thing does not have to do. In the state of escape for a long time, immersed in the fantasy of the self, give a person a feeling of not doing. Hesitation and procrastination feed fear. Procrastination and evasion never lead to solutions. Even though, when procrastinators’ work schedule is so full that there is no room for relax; when they think of so many unfinished tasks, they begin to feel anxious and want to escape from them. Sometimes, even when people start their long term project, the stress would overwhelm them during the middle of the process. They feel very difficult, or do not know how to do. Then, think more makes them be more confused; think more makes their pressure bigger; think more makes them be perturbed. They would have a strong need seeking for a comfort zone which would lead to procrastinating behavior.

The authors of “Procrastination, Self-Esteem, Academic Performance, and Well-Being: A Moderated Mediation Model” claim that procrastination plays a protective role for self-esteem in case of a probable failure (Duru et al. 100). People tend to postpone longer for doing a huge project or reaching a goal that takes a long time. It seems that procrastination temporarily gives people a protection for their self-esteem and self-confidence from facing the challenging work. People stay comfortable, and keep their self-esteem and self-confidence while procrastinating. Perfectionism tends to procrastinate. The perfectionism here refers to feel uneasy about oneself in study and life and try to find one’s own fault. For example, there are students, who are patient and detail oriented, treat everything seriously. But they always do not do well on their exams. They are assiduous and earnest, however, pay and recompense always are not proportional. Because they are too careful to do each of the questions on exams. Sometimes, for the problem that can be finished, they want to check carefully then do the next one; for the problem they don’t know what to do, they also can tangle with it for a long time. So they did not finish their test in time. This type of students also has this problem while working on their project. They always worry about making mistakes and check the same part several times. If finding a little dissatisfied, they will revise it repeatedly. If they do not do so, there will be a hurdle in their mind, which makes them find it hard to pass, so they delay the time to turn in their assignment. There is no perfect thing in this world. People who constantly pursue perfection are actually pursuing some nihilistic perfection. They worry about deviation or failure, so they keep improving themselves. Perfectionism is an intolerable condition for imperfect things. This type of people has a desire to change imperfect things by themselves. Therefore, they often do not start a certain work hastily, but often spend too much time planning the whole process and are reluctant to do the first thing. It is still difficult to change the current status, which brings them frustration, and then they lose enthusiasm for doing things and develop the habit of delaying. Dissatisfaction with oneself is the biggest obstacle to perfectionism. Stress is not only coming from the work itself but also one’s lack of self-confidence to accomplishment the work. Not confident is the root cause of many procrastination. People worry about they are not doing well in their work. When they see others do well, they increase their inner fear, do not dare to face their own work. These procrastinators actually care a lot about how others perceive them, and they prefer to be perceived as not having enough time and effort, rather than being lack of ability. Actually, look at it the other way, procrastination can eat away at a person’s self-confidence. The first time you procrastinate for 5 minutes; the second time you procrastinate for 10 minutes, and gradually, you can not finish the task on time. You are constantly criticized and belittled, so as to accept your low ability to reach the goal. You start to doubt yourself, and you become less and less confident, which leads to worse and worse working conditions, lower and lower efficiency, and gradually you accept a mediocrity.

Procrastination reduces happiness of one’s daily life because they are lacking in motivation at the beginning of the work and are getting more anxiety as the deadline approaches. The “continuous attack” of procrastination will be a vicious circle. The more procrastination, the more anxiety it will cause, which will affect the normal study and life. According to Stelnicki et al., “Stress, poor academic skills, and distraction were the most salient factors that kept undergraduate students from reaching their goals, with general stress noted by the majority of the participants.” (222). People usually postpone doing something they are not interested in because these things lack the values that make them happy. If you are not a heavy procrastinator, you generally do not procrastinate on everything. Most people never procrastinate on things they enjoy. When students are doing stressful or an uninteresting project or homework, they tend to be easily distracted by other factors that attract them more, such as social media, messages, or fun videos. Especially for students with poor academic skills, they would feel anxious when dealing with challenging school work. It’s easy to fall into a state of exhaustion if people don’t have motivation. Thus, if people lack motivation to take action, they will try to postpone their work for later until the time they have to do it. Most procrastinators really only rely on one thing: tomorrow. Today they don’t feel well and think they still have time tomorrow; They think their assignment is not due today, so they can do it tomorrow. In fact, what they don’t do today is unlikely to be done tomorrow because they don’t feel like doing it; because they don’t have something urgent to do, and because they don’t know if they have a new task or are interrupted by something else. For example, procrastinators want to go running today, but they have something to do, so they decide to go tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Or, procrastinators have homework to do, but they play games, watch TV, and always think that they have time before the deadline. “Tomorrow” is full of new hope, but using “tomorrow” as an excuse to procrastinate is the most feeble excuse to make for today’s mediocrity. Some procrastinators don’t have big ambitions, so they can’t be positive at work, because there is no expected return they want. Also, students with good academic skills also procrastinate. When these students get used to a routine for a long period of time, it’s natural to procrastinate because they know they will get it done, so they will leave things to the last minute. No matter who you are, once you find something particularly boring, you will want to put it off. Boredom signals to people that what they’re doing doesn’t matter, and distraction comes along. This explains why procrastinators tend to find routine tasks more boring than non-procrastinators. Reaching a certain point of anxiety prompts people to take action. The authors of “State anxiety reduces procrastinating behavior” claim that “felt anxiety is a motivating factor to carry out actions that reduce a threat and advance a goal.” (Xu et al. 634). This is actually what we called the “last minute” work. For example, due to lack of motivation, students persuade themselves they still have time to finish their work while actual anxiety starts being stronger at the beginning of the work period. Some students start doing their homework one day before the deadline because growing stress and anxiety pushes them to start doing their work as well as there is no more “tomorrow”. According to Xu et al., “individuals stop procrastinating in order to eliminate or reduce their anxious mood.” (634). Last minutes work more likely leads to failures in academic work. This situation often happens on someone who is not confident enough with their ability. With strong anxiety, students find it hard to focus though they know they have to concentrate since there is not that much time left. Having a combination of anxiety and short working time leads to stronger pressure on themselves. Usually, they try their best to do their work and make it as good as possible. Later, they give up putting effort to do their work by following a standard. They choose to rush through their task just want to get it done, so they will not feel anxiety and have stress.

Someone may argue that they enjoy procrastinating and feel enthusiastic doing last minutes work. They say they can still finish work with high quality. However, not everyone has the ability to get their work done in a short time with an outstanding result. They may drag themselves down by worrying too much.

Procrastination reduces the happiness of one’s daily life because it causes one’s health problem. Procrastination not only happens during people’s daily life by stopping them from finishing an assignment or reaching a goal on time, but it also happens at bedtime. According to Kroese et al., “Bedtime procrastination is defined as failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so.” (5). If you’re exhausted and you know you need sleep, but you still can not get yourself to turn off the computer, get off the couch, or clear out the kitchen cupboard, you may be a procrastinator. Usually, when it is time to go to bed, procrastinators can not put down their cell phones or turn off the TV. They do not want to go to sleep early at night. “I do not want to think of the next day” has become the motto of many people’s life. Bedtime procrastination is special because while people often procrastinate on tasks they don’t like, sleep is not generally considered a dislike. Some people don’t have the habit of staying up late. But when people go to bed, they always feel that they have a lot of things to do. This feeling makes them excited and makes it hard to fall asleep. The next day, people wake up with a feeling that they did not sleep well and did not relax in their mind. Mental energy plays a role in the power of self-control, as there is enough fuel to safeguard the start-up and operation. When we’ve been busy all day and have spent our energy during the day, we often come home with the idea that we do not want to move. When our mental energy is low, our self-control is weak. In addition, not wanting to end the day facing tomorrow’s stress is also the reason for the delay in sleep. If we expect to wake up tomorrow morning to another miserable day doing work we do not like, dealing with a backlog of tasks we do not want to deal with, facing people we do not want to face, we try to delay tomorrow. Therefore the moment of relaxation before sleep seems to be precious. People always want to extend this relaxation, which results in bedtime procrastination.

The author claims that “Bedtime procrastination was indeed related to general reports of insufficient sleep. Insufficient sleep is increasingly recognized as causing problems related to mental and physical well-being.” (Kroese et al. 5). Prolonged sleep delay leads to decreased sleep time and poorer quality, which not only increases the risk of various chronic cardiovascular diseases and leads to weight gain, but also affects mental health, causing anxiety, depression, decreased concentration, poor memory, and other problems. According to Sirois et al., “The analysis revealed significant indirect effects of procrastination on sleep quality through stress.”(6). For those people who have already had a lot of pressure during the day time, “Don’t want to end today, don’t want to face tomorrow” becomes the main reason to have bedtime procrastination. Gradually, these behaviors become a vicious cycle. The author claim that “Trait procrastination was associated with indicators of poor sleep quality including not feeling rested after sleep.” (Sirois et al. 7). Less sleeping time will lead to less working energy during the day. Getting hard to finish work on time will lead to more anxiety and pressure. At the end of the day, it will be more likely for people seeking a longer prior bedtime entertainment time to reduce their stress receiving during the day. When reaching a certain point of anxiety level, people would get insomnia. If people want to get a good night’s sleep, it is necessary to resist bedtime procrastination and stop this vicious cycle. Improving self-control and reducing anxiety before bed are good ways to prevent procrastination as well.

One may argue that procrastination has motivational aspects to one’s goals. They say people work more efficient the day prior to the deadline while being less productive during the days way before the deadline. This is an illusion. It seems that anxiety and pressure motivate people to do their work. However, postponing all the work to the last day and keeping doing last minutes work in a long-term period would actually cause a mental health problem. People will have serious anxiety even when they don’t have work waiting for them to be done. Delaying doing work and push them to the last day is a risk for the result of work. With a high level of anxiety and pressure, such last day efficient work would lead to a low-quality accomplishment. As approaching the deadline, most people will start feeling nervous and tend to pay less attention to details. Efficiency in last day work shows positive on the surface but negative for post effect especially for the result of the work. Also, even in the last day prior to the deadline, some procrastinators will still try to delay doing their work until the actual last minutes. Sometimes one sacrifices his or her sleeping time try to finish work on time. This can lead to insufficient sleep and being tired on the next day which also influences productivity for next day work. Lack of sleeping time for a test taker is a serious matter. He or she would find it is hard to focus when taking the exam. Additional results for those who are cramming during the last minutes, they can never really memorize all the information that they try to put into their head which resulting in anger, anxiety, and a mental breakdown.

More, there are those who claim that active procrastinators put off work until later in the day, most of them are able to control their time and use it purposefully without fear of missing a deadline. They say these procrastinators are confident, know the time they should start doing work and get it done. However, people might underestimate the time they need for the work or being overconfident that they will finish all the work on time. Some procrastinators are overly optimistic about the time it will take to get the job done. Even for routine work, many procrastinators are not good at estimating how much time it will take. Writing a class paper, making phone calls, for example, usually takes longer than they think. Also, for doing a group project, some people are confident by thinking they will get their assignment done quickly because they have several people not just one person. But not all of the work is straightforward, some of them might have a hidden problem that will show up when people are actually doing them. People, then, need more time to come out with possible solutions or look for someone for help. Especially when doing a project that needs creativity, sometimes it requires people more time which is imponderables to think of novel ideas. They might need extended time to get inspiration. Unless active procrastinators estimate extra time for doing their work, if such sudden situation happens or they have something else need to do, original estimated time might not be enough for dealing with both planned work and extra work. When people find out they need more time to finish their work in the last minutes, those who easily get anxious can’t muster the courage to concentrate to get their work done because they are keep thinking of running out of time. Failing to finish work would also attack one’s confidence which influences one’s actual ability for doing future work. It will lead to another procrastinating result which was mentioned earlier in this paper.

Time is life. Wasting your time is chronic suicide. The passage of time is always silent, so it is difficult to detect. Procrastination reduces one’s happiness since it creates a comfort zone for people which increases the possibility that people can not finish work on time. Also, procrastination leads to less motivation to work which brings people anxiety when approaching the deadline. More, bedtime procrastination leads to insufficient sleeping time which causes health problem. Serious procrastination will bring negative effects on individuals’ physical and mental health, such as intense self-blame and guilt, constant self-denial and degradation, and accompanied by anxiety, depression and other psychological diseases. Once this state occurs, it needs to be paid attention to.

Annotated Bibliography

  • Duru, Erdinç, and Murat Balkis. “Procrastination, Self-Esteem, Academic Performance, and Well-being: A Moderated Mediation Model.” International Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 6, no. 2, 2017, pp. 97.

Both procrastination and academic performance have direct and interactive effects on self-esteem. Self-esteem mediated the relationships between procrastination and well-being. I might use this source as reference of connection between procrastination, self-esteem, and academic performance. I am interested in finding out the potential impact of procrastination on academic performance.

  • Eckert, Marcus, et al. “Overcome Procrastination: Enhancing Emotion Regulation Skills Reduce Procrastination.” Learning and Individual Differences, vol. 52, 2016, pp. 10-18.

This article tested the hypothesis that the availability of adaptive emotion regulation(ER) skills prevents procrastination. Procrastination affected the subsequent ability to tolerate aversive emotions. This article would be a good reference of connecting procrastination to emotion regulation. It will give me a direction to write my final project by showing that emotion-focused strategies should be consider in order to overcome procrastination.

  • Grund, A., and S. Fries. “Understanding Procrastination: A Motivational Approach.” Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 121, 2018, pp. 120-130.

This article explored the motivational foundations of procrastination. Individuals who favored modern, conservative values were more likely to attribute academic procrastination as personal failure, whereas individuals who endorsed post-modern, liberal values were more likely to consider situational causes of academic procrastination. This article offer a perspective that shifts the focus from volitional to motivational aspects of procrastination. It would be useful to have an idea of the link between value orientations and procrastination.

  • Kim, Sowon, Sébastien Fernandez, and Lohyd Terrier. “Procrastination, Personality Traits, and Academic Performance: When Active and Passive Procrastination Tell a Different Story.”Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 108, 2017, pp. 154-157.

This article examined the effects of the five factor model with the aim to understand which personality traits predict academic procrastination. Researchers tested the effect of passive and active procrastination on academic performance to study the unique contribution of each type of procrastination. I will use this source to write about the correction between personality traits and procrastination. This article provide the aspect of the influence from personality traits on procrastination as well as academic performance.

  • Kroese, Floor M., et al. “Bedtime Procrastination : Introducing a New Area of Procrastination.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 5, 2014, pp. 611.

This article showed that procrastination may also lead to harmful outcomes in the area of health behavior. Bedtime procrastination is an important factor related to getting insufficient sleep and consequently affecting individual well-being. I want to connect this article to another source which describe influence of sleeping time on procrastination. This article will provide me an example of bedtime procrastination which might potentially influence daily life performance.

  • Rozental, Alexander, et al. “Overcoming Procrastination: One-Year Follow-Up and Predictors of Change in a Randomized Controlled Trial of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy.”Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, vol. 46, no. 3, 2017, pp. 177.

Few clinical trials have been conducted, and no follow-up has ever been performed in a procrastination research. This article provided evidence for the long-term benefits and investigate predictors of a positive treatment outcome among patients receiving Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy(ICBT). I will use this article as a reference to show how self-report measures of procrastination, depression, anxiety, and quality of life were distributed at pre-treatment assessment, post-treatment assessment, and one-year follow-up. Researchers used statistical analysis to investigate procrastination which would be more reliable.

  • Sirois, Fuschia M., Wendelien van Eerde, and Maria I. Argiropoulou. “Is Procrastination Related to Sleep Quality? Testing an Application of the Procrastination-Health Model.”Cogent Psychology, vol. 2, no. 1, 2015.

This source tried to explain the potential links between procrastination and sleep quality while there is little research focused on testing and explaining this. Using the procrastination-health model as researchers guiding conceptual lens, this article addressed this gap by examining how and why trait procrastination may be linked to various dimensions of sleep quality across two student samples. I will point out that the correlation between sleep quality and procrastinating performance in my project by using this article as reference. This is another great aspect to show procrastination.

  • Stelnicki, Andrea M., David W. Nordstokke, and Donald H. Saklofske. “Who is the Successful University Student? an Analysis of Personal Resources.” The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, vol. 45, no. 2, 2015, pp. 214.

This article explored students’ descriptions of the personal resources that they use to succeed while attempting to reach their goals as well as those personal characteristics or obstacles that keep them from reaching their goals. Student success included having a future orientation, persistence, and executive functioning skills such as time management and organization. This article will provide me an analysis of personal resources that students use to reach their goals. I want to focus on how time management skills help students to be succeed.

  • Westgate, Erin C., et al. “Productive Procrastination: Academic Procrastination Style Predicts Academic and Alcohol Outcomes: Productive Procrastination and Alcohol.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, vol. 47, no. 3, 2017, pp. 124-135.

This article identified adaptive and maladaptive procrastination styles associated with academic and alcohol outcomes in 1,106 college undergraduates. Cluster analysis identified five academic procrastination styles – non-procrastinators, academic productive procrastinators, non-academic productive procrastinators, non-academic procrastinators, and classic procrastinators. I will use this source to show different styles of procrastination. The research target group is college undergraduates which is closed to our surrounding group.

  • Xu, Ping, Claudia González-Vallejo, and Zhe H. Xiong. “State Anxiety Reduces Procrastinating Behavior.” Motivation and Emotion, vol. 40, no. 4, 2016, pp. 625-637.

Participants in a high-anxiety state spent more time practicing for the upcoming test than participants in a low-anxiety state. The negative emotion associated with anxiety motivates people to increase the effort towards reaching a goal and take proactive measures for the most important task, thus reducing procrastination. I would like to refer this source saying procrastination leads to anxiety and the anxiety motivates people to increase the effort. I am a little surprised to know anxiety is one of the motivations.

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