Lately I’m finding myself struggling a lot to get things done in time.
One good example is this CMWP assignment.
For this assignment each group have to produce a digital story proposal that should engage with the theme of cultural difference.
I actually enjoyed the creative part of the project, and I consider myself collaborative and productive while working in a group.
The problems started when I had the realization that I needed to to take care of the marketing image for the IMDB page.
I volunteered to do it as I was the only person in the group with a discreet knowledge of the illustrator software. I thought “why not, it could be fun!”. But obviously it didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped.
I opened illustrator for the first time two days before our group met to put together the final draft of our proposal. I ended up stressing myself out and working at the computer for more than 6 hours straight, with terrible consequences for my eyes and my nerves.
However, I think overall that the evaluation of our project is well done even if there are a few things that could be improved.
“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.”
Nothing could be more true than this statement.
Unless to say, that I’m exactly in that mood while writing this post.
By now the deadline is extremely close and as a result I will have to work on two different assignments simultaneously, which risks neglecting one of the two or both of the them being completed in a rough way because of lack of time.
So why am I able to work easily in a group but I have trouble organizing independent work?
One could think that was only a matter of time managing, but the reality is that I’m a victim of a terrible habit called procrastination.
According to the study of Ellis & Knaus (1977) 70% of college students engage in procrastination.
Usually students are easily distracted toward behaviours other than studying, but digging deeper I recall that this is not the only reason why I procrastinate.
Contributing factors to procrastination are the feeling of being overwhelmed, the lack of motivation, perfectionism, fear of failure, low self-esteem, poor time management and organization skills.
This absence of self-regulated behavior compromises an individual’s ability to archive personal, academic and career related goals.
Procrastination predicted poor physical and mental health because of increased stress and anxiety.
Comparing my experience with the ones of other students on University Wire I realize that we are all pretty similar, so probably procrastinators minds work in the same ways.
I disagree with students that say that there’s no solution to this behaviour. Instead, I agree with those who’ve said that there are few tips you can use to improve. Such as getting the most annoying task done first, break the tasks down to lessen the sense of being overwhelmed and focus on the success you will achieve.
But not only students procrastinate, the famous blogger Tim Urban shared his experience in this talk.
A different point of view came from the professor and researcher Adam Grant that in a NY Times article say that procrastination is a virtue for creativity.
According to a study made by Jihae Shin (Grant’s grad student, now a professor) procrastinator’s projects are 28% more creative than non-procrastinator’s because they are given a chance to incubate their ideas.
Jihae asked people to come up with new business ideas. Some had to start right away while others had to delay five minutes by playing Minesweeper or Solitaire. Essentially she found that those who were forced to delay had more good ideas.
However, The professor Timothy Pychyl dismantles this study because it wasn’t about procrastination, but rather about delay.
Procrastination requires delay, but this delay has to be voluntary and knowingly dysfunctional to be procrastination. Procrastination indeed is that particular form of delay which captures our self-regulatory failure.
Creativity comes from choosing to delay, not rushing a process that shouldn’t be rushed.
Put most simply, while all procrastination is delay, not all delay is procrastination.
I for sure agree with the opinion of the Dr Pychyl because procrastination could cause a lot of harm and stress, and it should not be encouraged.