Procrastination frequently strikes middle school students

DISTRACTED. A middle school student illustrates how procrastination can happen. Many students avoid doing their work and instead play on their electronic devices. According to research, this is not laziness, but avoidance.

ShayLeigh Honaker

DISTRACTED. A middle school student illustrates how procrastination can happen. Many students avoid doing their work and instead play on their electronic devices. According to research, this is not laziness, but avoidance.

Aeriaunna Tucker, Staff

In middle school, procrastination affects many students and their ability to get work done. Procrastination is when someone puts off a task until the last minute. Procrastinate comes from the latin word “procrastinare”, meaning “to put off until tomorrow.”

This habit usually affects grades in school and causes assignments, and people, to be late. Procrastination can cause a lot of problems for students, including bad grades and failure.

Sevier Middle, like all schools, has its fair share of students who procrastinate.

Lisa King is one of the counselors at John Sevier Middle School. She often sees students who struggle with procrastination.

“As in all schools, there is a mix of students who are very attentive to their homework and grades, some who do procrastinate and others who are apathetic,” King said.

Kayleigh Carroll is a 7th grade student who has experienced procrastination.

“It affects my life by me not getting my work done or being up late doing homework,” she said.

Lack of sleep can affect the amount of attention students have during class.

King believes that procrastination is a choice.

“Many people think procrastination is simply laziness, but science has shown otherwise,” she said. “Being apathetic and never completing a task is not procrastination. Procrastination is a conscious decision.”

According to the New York Times, procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse. It is a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods, like boredom, anxiety, insecurity or frustration.

“Research explains that procrastination comes from fear of not being able to do the task perfectly or to one’s standards and thus the possibility of failure is the underlying reason for procrastination,” King said. “Perfectionists are often procrastinators. Procrastinators seek out reasons or distractions to avoid the task.”

According to the New York Times, when procrastinators finally starts working on the task they’ve been putting off, they have increased stress, anxiety and feelings of low self-esteem.

“Procrastination is a vicious cycle,” King said. “People experience momentary relief when avoiding a task. Although it causes underlying stress long-term, it feels good in the moment; thus, your brain experiences a reward and a habit is easily formed. Procrastination quickly becomes a chronic behavior.”

Most students choose to procrastinate on homework, but this is not the only thing that they put off. A large number of students are putting off class work that should be done during the day. This can cause grades to fall a tremendous amount and students to fail.

According to the New York Times, chronic procrastination has not only productivity costs, but bad effects on mental and physical health. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are common in students who procrastinate.

Many teachers and staff members believe that making a good plan to get something done will help students to not procrastinate.

Kelli Ferguson, another school counselor, believes that planning can help decrease procrastination.

“Developing a plan or routine for tasks that have to be regularly completed is best practice,” she said. “In your plan, you can build in set breaks or rewards. For example, homework is a regular task. Schedule a time each day for homework. After completing one subject, reward yourself with a short break – take a walk or briefly check your Snapchat.”

King also agrees with this comment.

“Think of the benefits of completing the task,” she said. “It is also helpful to remove temptations. For example, if your phone is an easy distraction that feels good, then turn your phone off when you sit down to complete something. The best advice I have found is not to wait around for a certain mood before beginning.”

Ja’Shawn Jones is a sixth grade student. He feels that focusing is the key to success in middle school.

“Working hard, not giving up and listening will make procrastination less of a problem,” Jones said.

To King, wisdom comes from awareness.

“Becoming aware of how our brains work and how habits are created is the best way to start breaking the cycle of procrastination,” she said.

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