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Comments

Daniel Lafrentz

i loved john perry's article on structured procrastination. he's basically articulated the way i work. writing this comment is the peerfect example. now dont take this the wrong way scott, but i've blogged for this week and done the other week 9 assignment and this, because it isnt as pressing or important at the moment as the history paper i'll be researching and writing tomorrow when i get home from school. but i'm still being semi productive which is good, because as time goes on, these two assignments will become more and more important as the deadline approaches.

i'm the type of person who organizes things in my mind by importance (mainly deadlines) and i constantly run down the list in my head to take inventory of what i need to do. i loved the way pery said, "there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done." because thats the reputation i've earned from my friends, almost to the point of being labelled as ridiculous for getting things done RIGHT AWAY.

today i was feeling overwhelmed by all the work i have to do this week, and i even started feeling a little guilt for starting on some stuff that is furhter down on the list of importance. perry's article has allayed that guilt because i am still being productive.

something jsut occured to me: i am not a structured procrastinator, i'm a structured something else. because i dont do other assignments as a means to put other things off, i do the assignments i think i can complete given the amount of time i have to do it. like right now, i came home from work around 1130. why on earth would i want to start reasearching and writing a 6-8 page paper at 1130?? when instead i could spend an hour and a half completing a week and a halfs worth of assignments for this seminar before i go to bed and leaving the research and writing for tomorrow when i have SIX HOURS between school and work. that makes a whole lot more sense doesnt it?

i still like perry's article though. i use his methodology at a different stage in the work process, at the very beginning instead of the very end. i liked the calpoly article as well because so much of the stuff in there is what i hear from people who constsntly procrastinate. the classic "i only work well undder pressure" and the article says exactly what i would like to tell them, "you are making progress only because you haven't any choice. Your back is against the wall and there are no alternatives. Progress is being made, but you have lost your freedom."
And that the result is that people sometimes are rewarded with a decent grade for a half-assed last minute attempt to finish something. and it always makes me feel slightly vindicated when a teacher knows who spent time and who wrote something the night before, because why should they get the same treatment for putting in less effort than others. it isnt fair. procrastination is a killer. i wouldnt have succeeded half as much as i have if i always put my work off. i'm glad i work the way i do. it works!

Avinash Nayk

Why do I procrastinate? I am actually procrastinating right now! I’m meant to be doing some math or chemistry but there’s this one “evil” side of my head that say’s to me – “there’s so much more time., don’t worry, just do all the ‘easy’ things first like the e-portfolio stuff.” That’s what I hate in myself. I hate it that I procrastinate. After reading “structured procrastination” by John Perry I definitely agree that there needs to be a self-discipline if one wants to be “free” from procrastination. “One may feel at this point that structured procrastination requires a certain amount of self-deception, since one is in effect constantly perpetrating a pyramid scheme on oneself.” I have to agree with his statement, I think that this is easier said than done however because there are obstacles that one has to overcome to STOP the procrastination. Again, it’s easier said than done. When I skimmed through the cal poly website, I found that many of the things didn’t match with my characteristics. I don’t have a low self-esteem, I’m not stubborn, I’m not manipulating and I’m not a “frustrating victim.” I admit that I am a bit too busy and I have to cope with some pressure. When I was reading thought the article, I found that the “simple reasons of procrastination” was the truth. I know for a fact that most of the things worth getting in life will be hard to get, therefore, will need more time for me to work on it and if it means that it’s difficult then it means that it’s time consuming and difficult. I like the exercise at the bottom of the cal-poly page. I think that it helps a lot of students if they couldn’t procrastinate. I like that we can somehow “overcome” our procrastination.

Now it’s time for me to STOP procrastinating and get back to math and chem!!

Toni Murphy

Well, those were thought-provoking articles. . . .When I initially read the assignment, I thought to myself “I don’t typically procrastinate, so this will be irrelevant to me for the most part.” However, in reading through the articles, I do see myself and recognize some of my thought processes. With regard to Perry, and his “structured procrastination,” I probably engage in this type of procrastination occasionally, but not much. At times I do find myself avoiding a priority by busying myself with less important activities. He explains this process in terms of self-deception, whereby you can convince yourself that what you’re spending time on is more important or at least as important as what’s at the top of your list. This is not true for me. I usually am fully cognizant that I am avoiding what I need to do. I obtain false satisfaction from crossing something off my list knowing full well it really wasn’t that important. I’m not kidding myself about what’s important, it’s often that I don’t know how to do whatever it is that needs to get done. It usually involves a lack of skill, knowledge, or resource of some sort. Sometimes, the task is complex, and I’m not sure how to begin.

The CalPoly article proposes that procrastination is not solved by better time management. I partially agree . . . . How I avoid procrastination (most of the time) is by taking time to identify my priorities, scheduling related tasks, then committing myself to that schedule. The CalPoly article mentioned the freedom involved in breaking procrastination habits, and I find this freedom motivating and reinforcing in my own life. I usually tackle what needs to be tackled, because I like to avoid anxiety whenever possible! But more importantly, I constantly remind myself what my priorities are and how accomplishing certain tasks suppors this personal vision of how I want my life to be. I liked the section in the article regarding “steps to cure.” Two things stand out to me in this list. The first is “begin the task.” I read once long ago that motivation does not create action, it is the other way around. When I don’t “feel motivated” to start something or are avoiding it, I make myself start anyway. Another good strategy is in the “five minute plan” identified in the article. When faced with a daunting or particularly overwhelming task, I often identify a small milestone I can hit easily. Almost invariably, I keep going, because my action created the motivation to continue.

I think it is essential to know what your own priorities are. That’s how you define what tasks are truly important. As long as I keep my priorities or goals in mind, I can usually overcome any procrastination obstacles. (Which is not always easy to do in the chaos of everyday life).

In this class, I’ve been collecting and assembling the content for my eportfolio. Why? Because it is something I feel competent in doing. Have I started posting that content into an eportfolio format? No, because I’m not sure what to do or really how to get started. I’m not fooling myself into thinking this is the most important task of the project, I’m simply avoiding the hardest part (for me), which is the technical aspect of this project. (Now, I feel really anxious . . . . . .;-)

Valentino Lin

Wow, this procrastination topic is really thought provoking and it struck me really hard. I knew that procrastinating is something that I have been doing, especially for the subjects that I don’t like, but yet, the cycle kept occurring quarter after quarter even I knew I need to change. There are certain patterns and characteristics of procrastination that I have while reading “Structured Procrastination” by John Perry. In this essay, Perry stated, “The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things”. This statement reflects a lot on me with regards to my performance academically. For instance, on Saturday when I dedicate my time to doing my homework, my thoughts tend to run wild after a period of time. I could think of what to cook for the following week, go to the kitchen and scan the refrigerator, chat with friends on “Messenger” or cleaning up my room These are certainly the marginally useful things that distracts full attention to my work. As a result, I took more time that anticipated to complete a certain task.

Another discovery that I made was the illusion that certain “task will take large block of time, and large blocks of time are unavailable until the weekend.” Usually, I like to plan the amount of time I would allocate for a certain task. On weekdays, I would only do those that require short period of time as I dislike the fact that I can’t complete the whole task. But now, I realize that it is alright not to complete the whole task. It is alright to complete segments by segments.

As I knew procrastination affects me to attain my full potential, I read the whole article, “understanding procrastination” by CalPoly. I even print out the “tools that will help from procrastinating” and post it on my bulletin board. At the same time, I did the “Common Rationalizations” exercise. The following are some of the questions and the rebuttal that I came up with.

1. "I'm more productive when I work under pressure, so I'm postponing all my work until the pressure builds up and then I'll get it done easily."
I tend to be more anxious when I work under pressure, so I am doing all my work today.
2. "I don't know how to do this problem, so I'm waiting until I know how before I do it."
I will try my best to do this problem.
3. "This task isn't getting done because I really don't want to do it. And that's the honest truth"
This task is urgent and I have to do it now even I don’t like it. Try it for five minutes.
4. "Relax. The world isn't going to come to an end if this doesn't get done."
Relax after the work is done as now is the time to get the engines rolling.
5. "This job is easier to do when I'm in the mood, and I'm simply not in the mood right now."
The difficulty of this job stays the same despite my mood. I am in control of my mood and I am going to do this job right now.

After doing this exercise, I gained a powerful tool to control myself better from procrastination. Like last author have mentioned, there are good and bad procrastination. Thus, I would combine and follow all those advice and put procrastination to my advantage.
Just a comment: In my opinion, I think that this research project topic would be better if placed during the first few weeks because solutions and realization topics are found in the articles. This would help students with procrastination issues and guide them to use it to their advantage.

Katja Broddesson

I really like this topic because it makes us reflect on ourselves as human beings active in the process of achievement. For the most part, I think people have a pretty good sense of whether they are procrastinators or not, but I do not think many would readily admit it.

Personally, I do procrastinate but not as much as many other people I know. With the necessary disclaimer taken care of, let’s see what we can dig up! A good example of my type of procrastination would be what I am doing right now. I decided to do this assignment now, under the false pretenses that I will “have more time” to do my PoliSci research paper as well as my formal English paper during the weekend when I have those “large blocks of time” that the CalPoly article mentions. Of course during the weekend I will also have to do all my errands, the bane of Paul Graham.

I believe I am a structured procrastinator like John Perry. In general, I think people see me as a “doer,” but the truth is that I think procrastination allows for life to happen. However, I do not follow “exactly the wrong track” (Perry). My lists are long and plentiful, as is my schedule and social calendar. Over-commitment was invented for me! It is true, however, that most of my commitments are of “inflated importance” as Perry suggests. The amount of “stuff” on my to-do lists adds to my sense of self-esteem and accomplishment; it makes me feel good about myself.

I think Paul Graham’s article was my favorite. He has some great ideas and notions regarding the nature of procrastination and makes it more accessible than say the CalPoly article. What stood out to me was the idea that you must “approach [a big problem] somewhat obliquely” (Graham). I agree with this notion. It is like you have to pounce on it, lest it slips away. Or, contrarily, you have to be stealthy so that you yourself do not notice that you are about to actually do something.

I think the CalPoly article was good, since it offers ideas on how to deal with a true procrastination problem. Most of us probably know someone who fits into the type described under “Four Complex Reasons for Procrastination.” I suggest that serious procrastination disability might go hand in hand with OCD, given its close connections to perfectionism, frustration and self-doubt.

For some people procrastination may be a nervous tic of sorts. This one person I know is an accomplished individual on many levels: successful, beautiful, honest, etc. But, invariably, this great somebody always has something of utmost importance to finish immediately before big social events. My guess is that these events make the person nervous and he/she procrastinates in order to put off going or even getting ready as a way of dealing with the pressure.

In conclusion, I think we can be safe in the assumption that we all procrastinate sometimes. Postponing one thing makes room and time for something else. It strikes me that Paul Graham says “let delight pull you” in order to avoid the pitfall of procrastination. That sounds a lot like what Steve Jobs said in his speech about doing what you love.


Benedicte

Very interesting articles about procrastination. I know it very well myself. My take on it is a little different and once I had figured it out for myself my peace of mind increased immensely.
The ones I don't have a problem with are generally the ones that I have some kind of enthusiasm for. I find that the tasks where I start to procrastinate are the ones that light up pain (divorce papers), resistance(papers about any subject that you are not really interested in or that you don't really agree with), fear(lots of things) or any form of perfectionism(sermons). Also as mentioned in the articles, the ones that require a chunk of time that may not be readily available(e-portfolios). And then there are the more subtle parts like what is your opinion about the matter and what are the other opinions about the subject that are playing in your mind(parents, friends, lovers, peers, parishioners, bishops). It can from time to time be a virtual fight in my head.

What seems to work for me is to be aware of the the feelings that may light up and to allow for them to come up, while I am skimming through the assignment. It helps for me to stay positive and be kind to myself. Sometimes there is such a load of stuff lit up that I need the deadline to actually work through it, or I would drop the subject completely.

It helps me to, after the reading and getting lit up process to leave the subject alone and just loosely ponder it. This time can vary from any time span between the 5 minutes it takes to make a cup of tea to a week or so. Some of the disagreements in my head will not easily be settled, but I will have to figure out for myself, which ones I can work with and which ones I need to mention or not.

Then I sit down I write whatever it is that comes to mind, even if it is garbage, ranting or unfinished snippets of thought. This is where after a little while I start to see my own opinion form in real sentences. It is also the place where I can sort out what is mine and what not. I write until I have either nothing more to say or until my time has run out. Mostly I write the bulk of the work in that sitting. And then I leave it alone for a while.

The final editing takes place the day before or on the due day. Mostly I am amazed in how much of what I relay want to say I have already said in that first part. There is always room for improvement, you can edit any part to death and other opinions will always pop up. At some point you will have to let it go.


Judy Chen

It was really fun and interesting reading John Perry’s essay about procrastination. I think he pinpoints exactly what every, if not every, most students way of working. I know he did for me! The first two sentences of his work totally grabbed me into his writing. I loved how he twisted the idea of him finally doing this essay to NOT do all the other things he had planned. He shows the true greatness in procrastination. He said that “this is the essence of what I call structured procrastination.” It started to make me think that it wasn’t such a bad thing after all =). He emphasizes the art of making this “bad” trait work for us. It was very wise of him to help everyone see the good side of procrastination. I think because we all do it so much, we agree with everything he’s saying just because we want to. We want to believe it’s a good thing. The difference that I found was that, he procrastinates to do something else useful, like interact with his neighbors or write this essay! But for me, when I procrastinate, I usually sleep or watch television, or eat. I usually don’t procrastinate to do something useful. I think if we put off an assignment for another, that’s not really procrastinating. Because in a way, you’re still doing some sort of work. But overall, his whole essay was extremely witty, and that is why I find it so amusing to read.

However, I think the “Understanding Procrastination” from CalPoly was very straight forward compared to Perry’s work. There was great information, but just not put in a catchy way. I think this site was a more factual and detailed. They explained more of what it is, what we should do, how can stop it, etc. Perry’s essay was more explaining why people do it and the greatness of it. These two websites go in two different ways, I think. One seems more fun and the other seems more serious. This essay shows the typical way of procrastination and how it creates “stress and anxiety.” It lists characteristics and facts about procrastination. It breaks down procrastination so much though, and I don’t think it’s that complicated. You know how sometimes people try to break down an idea so much that it starts to be TOO much? I don’t think there’s any “cure” for procrastination, but there are tools to help. If someone doesn’t have a mindset to stop it, they’ll still keep procrastinating. Like for me, I always told myself to stop and stop, and I do for the first few weeks. However, as the quarter goes by, I start again. I think my procrastinating syndrome isn’t that bad because I still get everything done. Some people just put it off, and I think that’s so much worse. Like I said, I think it all depends on the type of person you are.

I would say that procrastination is in a way manifested in my ePortfolio just because I wasn’t really aware we had to actually make one, and so soon! It, in way, caught me off guard. However, now that I know it’s expected, I’m working more on it. I think I should be fine.

chengyiktung

I have more sympathy with the "Understanding Procrastination". It speaks out my mind! I am not a girl who always do things at the last minutes. I always make myself finish work before deadline and allow time to revise if possible. Yet, for end of quarter works and projects, I am a little but more procastinated. I tend to think that there is a lot of time before it is due. However, seeing so many of my friends taking their work at the last minute and getting a high grade. I feel sometimes unfair. "scorn for the professor who cannot recognize substandard work, and guilt for getting an undeserved grade." I would definitely feel certain degree of unfair and sarcasm. "Structured Procrastination." I believe that I have similiar thoughts.
"Because they are a way of not doing something more important."
The two articles are related. They each speak for themselves. "One needs to be able to recognize and commit oneself to tasks with inflated importance and unreal deadlines, while making oneself feel that they are important and urgent." It explains that people have low self-esteem. They tend to think that they are not as capable as others so they avoid their repsonsibilities and work. They are afraid even if they put a lot of effort on it, they will not get the result that they expect. Hence, they formed a self-deception attitude and become "lazy and fooling around".
There is an interesting sentence, " Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you." people choose the "bad trait" to do work and make it their habit. However, sometimes I think that it is just because people have different attitude towards their work and responsibility. Or perhaps, people have different efficiency rate: some people can use an hour to write an A-grade paper, some people use three. Some people need revisions all the time (me), some only need one revision and can finish within one night. Different people can obtain the same result using different approaches.
however, after i read the two articles. I believe that people need to boost their confidence and should not give up despite frustrations. This is the main way to overcome procrastination.

Meera Parbhakar

I procrastinated A LOT in high school, and before reading Perry’s article on structured procrastination I thought I had kicked the habit. I’m starting to wonder if perhaps that isn’t really the case, I just shifted from being a classic procrastinator to a structured one. I find myself often feeling extremely overwhelmed. I think that the quarter system is partially to blame for this, as I am literally either studying for a midterm or a final all quarter long so the work can really, really start to pile up. I know that sometimes I just have so much to do that I don’t even know where to begin, so I just decide to do something else instead.

My favorite part of Perry’s article is when he says, “Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done. But this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation.” I can totally and completely relate to this. I know that I get so much more done if I know that I have lots of other things to do as well. For example, on evenings that I have no where to go and nothing to do but homework, I’ll put it off and end up staying up a lot later than I would have wanted to do. However, on days when I have a dance class and have to meet with my running club and baby sit and do a bunch of studying, things get done a lot more efficiently because I feel so pressed for time.

On a bigger scale, this whole concept can also be related back to the quarter system (vs. the semester system). I know, starting on the first day of class, that I have less than 3 months until my final. This really, really forces me to constantly be on top of things. There is no time to sit back. Perry refers to the procrastinator’s “most important source of motivation,” which I assume is a time crunch, and quarters really provide this time crunch.

The Cal Poly article was not as much fun to read. I disagree with one of the rationalizations that they gave, "I'm more productive when I work under pressure, so I'm postponing all my work until the pressure builds up and then I'll get it done easily." I know that even when I was an extreme procrastinator, I knew I didn’t work better under pressure, I was just really scared of all the work I had to do. The author makes it sound easy to logically think through procrastination and overcome it, but I think any person with a half a brain already KNOWS that procrastination is bad, but it takes a lot more than just knowing that to actually fix it. I think that the only way to overcome procrastination is to just buckle down and do it. I really don’t think that all the fancy tricks that they have are necessary. I know that for myself at least, I just have to make a conscious decision to sit down and not move until I’ve got something done. It’s the initial effort that is the hardest part. I agree with them in that after the first 5 minutes spent working on a task, you can get into it and then complete the task with relative ease.

Michelle Grannum

When I read John Perry’s article on “Structured Procrastination” I really identified with what he wrote. It felt like I could’ve been the one who wrote the article. In fact, right now by doing this assignment I am procrastinating – I should be working on my Poli Sci final exam but I am avoiding that task by doing this one instead. Perrsty says, “procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things.” This really makes sense to me, I really do not enjoy doing nothing and being lazy but I always seem to leave important tasks to the last minute.

Perry says, “Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done.” This is so true in my own life, I find that when I have a lot going on and many tasks to complete, I am much more productive than when I only have a few things to get done. For example, spring break is coming up and I would like to use the time to do some reorganizing and catch up on putting my photo albums together but realistically, I know from experience, that I am going to get even less accomplished than if I was really busy.

My blog post about two weeks ago was actually about my procrastination habit and whether or not I should try and change my ways. John Perry’s article made me feel better about the way I handle things, he describes “structured procrastination” as “the art of making this bad trait work for you.” So far I am doing really well in school and always get my work turned in on time, even if it does mean pulling a few too many all nighters.

I also read the Cal Poly article on “Understanding Procrastination” and a lot of it makes sense and is applicable to my life. The article offers advice on how to try and stop procrastinating while John Perry’s article is more about making the most of your procrastination habit.

I liked the suggestion in the Cal Poly article that says “Work on something for just 5 minutes. At the end of five minutes, switch to something else if you want. Chances are, you’ll get involved enough to keep going.” I am going to try this the next time I am actively avoiding something I don’t want to do.

Some of the reasons for procrastinating also rang true. I avoid tasks when they seem to difficult (like my Poli Sci final I should be working on) or time consuming (like putting together my e-portfolio). I am also a perfectionist and avoid projects because if I can’t do them perfectly then I won’t do them at all. If I leave something to the last minute, if it is not perfect I can blame the lack of time rather than myself. I realize how silly that sounds and I am working on fixing the problem. I also regularly use the excuse that “I work better under pressure.”

Andrew Tan

The first article was hilarious. I think his theory about procrastinators being “useful citizens” can be true to an extent, but he fails to mention that, for instance, his time might have been more productively spent grading those papers instead of hanging out with the students, even though he at least go something done. I find myself procrastinating in Perry’s manner a lot. I used to be a really terrible student, and one of the things that I believe changed my life was making a planner for myself with little boxes to check off. I now write down every little thing I can possibly do, and number them in importance. I usually procrastinate off the important things to do the marginally helpful things, until finally there’s nothing left to do but the important tasks. Self-deceit is much harder to achieve than the article claims though. I don’t think this article really applies to my portfolio. I’m not doing a million other tasks in leu of the portfolio because I think it’s more or less important. As a student, our deadlines are not as vague as Perry’s, and every day something from some class is going to be due. It’s not so much a feeling of putting stuff off, as trying desperately to keep up.

The second article was unflatteringly truthful, and I saw a lot of aspects of my own procrastination in it. The characteristics I identified with were low self-confidence, stubbornness, and a frustrated victim. I say I have low self-confidence because a lot of the time, I’m afraid I just won’t be able to do the task, so I put it off as much as possible. Or I’ll do the task, and give myself a low grade for it, and just not turn it in. That’s a serious problem I’ve been working on, and it plunged me into a lot of low grades earlier in my life due to trashing completed assignments. Stubborness doesn’t come up too much, but it does happen. For instance, I pride myself at being a good writer, so when a teacher says, “Write about a life experience. Don’t make it up because I can tell!” Part of me views it as a personal challenge (probably shouldn’t be saying this to an English teacher…). I can’t really think of an instance where I’ve deliberately procrastinated out of stubbornness though, as in this article’s example of being angry with a teacher. My procrastination is not rationalized. I completely understand why I shouldn’t put off a particular assignment, I do recognize how important it is etc. but I just can’t bring myself to do it sometimes. It’s a matter of being interested or not being interested, or having more pressing matters to attend to, or believing that I’ll be fine doing it last-minute. The article tells us to: • Realize you are delaying something unnecessarily.
• Discover the real reasons for your delay. List them.
• Dispute those real reasons and overcome them. Be vigorous.
• Begin the task.
Ok, I realize I’m delaying something unnecessarily. I can probably list reasons I’m delaying the assignment. But then the whole, “ Overcome those reasons and begin the task!” is MUCH easier said than done. Honestly if someone could just “overcome” these tendencies and simply “begin the task,” there wouldn’t be as many procrastinators as there are. The article was very insightful, but to me it didn’t offer actual solutions (are there any?) I even tried the table they provided, to no avail.

I read the article on good and bad procrastination, but the article offers on a different set of assumptions I do. My definition of procrastination is the putting off of important tasks, not putting off minor ones for more important things. Obviously “important” is also up to interpretation, so it’s hard to argue that finding a cure for cancer is personally more important to a pharmacist than labeling a bottle of medicine.

Cassie D-A

I started by reading "Structured Procrastination" written by John Perry. I have to say, I found his article more of a just read and be done with it kind of article rather than something that I could learn something from. There were a few points Perry made that struck a note for me; "Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done." I try and do this all the time because I think it will help me get my work done. Unfortunately, I end up cooped up in my house all day, frustrated, tired, and not feeling like I accomplished anything. When I try and do these marathon sessions of homework I just procrastinate even more because it turns into this HUGE deal since I devote a whole day to doing it. This was the main idea I got out of this article.

After reading Perry's article, I read the CalPoly article. Even though the directions for this assignment said to quickly skim through this article, I really enjoyed thoroughly reading it and doing the suggested exercises. While reading the CalPoly article I noticed a number of the examples that were brought up related to how and why I procrastinate (fortunately, I don't have a lot of the more scary sounding procrastinating characteristics and reasons for procrastinating). I found that there were many helpful tips in the CalPoly article that could help me with my procrastination (if I do them!). I felt good writing down a project I'm delaying and then saying five reasons why I'm delaying working on it. Then I filled in the "Arguments Against Delay" part of the exercise, which helped me figure out why exactly I'm nervous and scared of starting the task I chose to write about (my digital video class final project).

I had tried some of the tools that are suggested in the CalPoly article before I read this article but some others that I hadn't heard of before sound like pretty good ways to help me START. I find starting to be the most difficult; once I've started and I keep going then I'm in perfect shape. I will try to test out the other tools and tips that were mentioned that I haven't tried yet. I've always tried to cut up big tasks into smaller tasks (which is sometimes successful and other times not). I haven't tried the "five-minute plan" before so I'll try that with the loads of homework I have this weekend. Something that wouldn't work for me as well is "advertise your plans to accomplish something, and let peer pressure push you forward." If I had a supportive friend and we were both helping each other than it would work, but I never would want to do something because I'm being pressured by my peers.

I can definitely relate to working at the last minute before a project is due and then feeling guilty when I get a good grade on the project "for getting an undeserved grade." And the guilt just gives me less self-confidence which keeps the cycle of procrastination going!

I like how the article ended with "[w]hen you do succeed, take time to savor the moment so you will remember how good it feels. This will help the next time you need encouragement." I feel that this is one of the most important things I can do to procrastinate less. If I feel more confident that I can do more of these tasks that look very hard.

I figured I could read Paul Graham's article as well since it was right there (and I was partially trying to procrastinate having to start to write THIS). I'm glad I did read his article because he brought up some points that neither of the other two articles brought up. Graham states, "[so] the question is not how to avoid procrastination, but how to procrastinate well." He brings up three different variants of procrastination; (a) you could work on nothing instead of the something you need to do, (b) work on something less important than the something you need to do, or (c) do something more important. Graham thinks that (c) is "good procrastination." I sometimes feel like the absent-minded professor Graham relates this variant to when I have all these really cool and interesting ideas and thoughts and I just don't want to do all the "small stuff" Graham talks about.

Later in the article, Graham brings up a question that Richard Hamming recommends readers try and answer themselves. "What's the best thing you could be working on, and why aren't you?" I really love this question because I think it relates to the focus of my ePortfolio. My ePortfolio demonstrates that I am doing what I think are the best things I could be working on.

By reading these three articles, I think I have some better ways of avoiding procrastination. The reasons I procrastinate are that I feel like I need to be perfect and never make a mistake, I don't know how and where to start, and lately, I just don't have the energy to think about how to start something since I have definitely not been getting enough sleep. I'm going to try to do the five-minute plan suggested by the CalPoly article to attack the issue of not knowing how or where to start an assignment. And if I get to sleep right now, I will be able to catch up on my sleep and have some more energy to attack some of these end-of-the-quarter assignments and projects that look difficult.

stephanie wijaya

Never it comes to my mind that procrastination is something that almost everyone in this world is facing, including many successful people. Just like how Graham has put it, “The most impressive people I know are all terrible procrastinators”. Like how authors he mentioned in his article procrastinate, I spend my time doing house cleaning and grocery shopping, or things like that before I start writing my essays, or even these online assignments. I knew my homework is piling up, and the deadlines are near, yet I just refuse to do it; mainly because I thought I don’t have the mood to complete those tasks. But after reading the article on “Understanding Procrastination”, I came to realize that I don’t have the mood to do those assignments because I found them difficult, time-consuming and also due to my lack of knowledge. This weekend, I have to write on this essay regarding this book, “The Things They Carried”, for my English 1b class. And all the three prompts are so out of my concern and overwhelming, and I still have to include secondary sources in my essay, which further turn me off. And all these while, I have been putting it aside and doing something else. Like for now, I’d rather start on my eportfolio than to start with that essay. I know I am indulging in escapism, but to start working on my essay now would only equal to doing nothing for the rest of the day. So it’s better to start with something that is more delightful to do, like doing my eportfolio – although it’s not totally delightful – because at least I would have one task done by the end of the day.

Like how John Perry said, “Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.” There was this period of time when I love to spend my time cooking to escape from the errands of doing revision. And my housemate came to me and said that I am very on-task for being able to spend time cooking and studying at the same time. I only managed a grin. I would have certainly do take-outs if I were to be given some other fun things to do.

The three articles have somehow given me a new perspective that procrastinating isn’t always bad. This whole procrastination thing is about being able to control ourselves through self-deception. As Perry says, “One needs to be able to recognize and commit oneself to tasks with inflated importance and unreal deadlines, while making oneself feel that they are important and urgent.” Since we cant avoid being procrastinators, we should know how to be good procrastinators by sorting out our priority list. Graham says that successful people are procrastinators who “put off working on small stuff to work on big stuff”. So, we dread doing school assignments, we should do things that we enjoy doing that may bear good fruits in the end – like being active in a club, or expanding our hobby to a small profession.

Michelle Ho Pui Man

After reading the passages on procrastination, I realize that I am also a bad procrastinator. Being a student in the Honor Institute, I can also see that the two hypothesis made towards the attitudes of Honor student are actually true and very correct, at least in my case. I can see how the first hypothesis also leads to the upbringing of the second hypothesis. Honor students, like I, are so obsessed over getting strict A’s that we would like to have everything done in perfect. We thus gradually turn into perfectionists. This extreme perfectionism makes me fear of a poor outcome before I even start doing the work. I believe this is why I gradually become addicted to procrastination.
I notice that I have the habit of not starting a task which I think is very important and difficult to accomplish as well, but I do not realize that this is actually a problem until after I have read the three assigned readings for this research task. I though I was having a problem of time management or prioritization. I always set priority for myself and plan my day or even week ahead, yet instead of finishing all my work on time, I am often compelled to finish everything in the last minute in haste. Later on, I realize that although I make schedule for myself, I often fail to follow them as I cannot start a task as planned in my schedule, especially when the task is seemingly a very important one. Only after I have read the passages on procrastination did I know that I am actually suffering bad procrastination. I am actually a bad procrastinator because I am always doing something less important or even doing nothing at all when I try to put off the work that is the most urgent and important. I am experience procrastination in building the ePortfolio because I think that this task is really very important as it is the major product that determined the grade I will get for this seminar. This is why I keep on postponing the work. Procrastination manifested a lot when I was taking English 1B. I was so obsessed the grade I would get for each paper that I strongly felt that I needed to be in an absolutely good mood to start writing each paper. In this way, I dad difficulty every time I wanted to start an essay. I knew that the paper was an very important task for me, but I still chose to finish other easier or less important tasks first. Sometimes I even idle away my time instead of writing the essays. In the end, I only got to finish every essay in the last minute. I barely had time to proofread. However, I still kept on getting A for every paper even I started the work so late every time and so I repeated procrastination without realizing that it had taken away my ability to control my own schedule and manage time.
Recognizing my problem as procrastination, I now decide to try my best to get rid of it. When I delay the start of an significant task, I often tell myself the following three excuses mentioned in the article from Cal Poly.
"This job is easier to do when I'm in the mood, and I'm simply not in the mood right now."
"This task isn't getting done because I really don't want to do it. And that's the honest truth"
"I waited until the last moment before and it worked out okay, so why not this time?"

Now I have to tell myself that these are merely excuses which prevent me from start doing any work. For the first excuse, I come to realize that I will never be in the mood of doing the job if I do not even start doing it. Fort the second excuse, I just have to tell myself that doing what I do not want to do is actually a part of education. Finally, I have to come to the truth that I may not be so lucky to get the grade I hope for every time if I keep on finishing my job in haste. I look forward to getting rid of procrastination have a better self-control and thus higher efficiency when carrying out my planned tasks.

William Simiadi

John Perry’s essay about procrastination is interesting and kind of true too. It fit into my own personal patterns of procrastination. I think that most of us procrastinate but sometimes they just don’t realize it. I’m actually procrastinating right now. I have two essays due and have to get it done by today, but I have decided not to do on that first but to do this eportfolio assignment first. This is just what exactly Perry says, “procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things.” The article from CalPoly states that the reasons we procrastinate are “the task seems hard to do; we naturally tend to avoid difficult things in favor of those which seem easy to us, the task will take large blocks of time, and large blocks of time are unavailable until the weekend and no one wants to make mistakes, so wait until you learn how before you start (lack of knowledge or skills). These reasons kind of make sense as this assignment is less time consuming than doing the two English 1B essays. This task is also much more simpler than the English 1b tasks. That is also the reasons why I have not started the final project as I am lacking of knowledge and skill to do the eportfolios. I still have no idea what to write in my eportfolio and that is why I kept on delaying it.
Perry also says “Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done.” This is true for me too. Whenever I have only a few assignment I will always procrastinate even worst than when having more assignment. When I have more assignment, I at least will start on the easy one first but when there is only a few tasks, I will not start until the last minute as I think that there is plenty of time to finish the task.
Before reading these articles, I thought that I work better when I’m under pressure or work in the last minute. Then I realize that the comment in CalPoly kind of makes sense. It says that “This sudden spurt of energy is the source of the erroneous feeling that "I only work well under pressure." Actually, at this point you are making progress only because you haven't any choice.”
The CalPoly article has some brilliant suggestion on how not to procrastinate. I think I’m going to try their suggestion and see whether it will work or not. I think that the one that really interesting is “Do only a small part of the task each time. ("I'll just check out the books tonight. Later on, I'll glance through them.")” I think this will works as you do the task step by step and finally you will finish that task.
So after reading the articles, I realize that procrastination is not always a bad thing. But I think it’s better for us to avoid procrastination even though it’s a hard thing to do.

Anna Flink

Reading both articles made me think and compare this quarter with past quarters and how I’ve handled my classes and assignments during those different quarters, and I’ve realized that I’ve gotten much worse procrastinating thing this quarter. Why? Because I decided to take less units this quarter. At first it didn’t make sense that I feel more stressed before deadlines this quarter than what I did having more units AND more jobs. I think all the extra time I have this quarter compared to prior ones overwhelmes me and instead of taking care of that time efficiently by finishing school work in time, I run more errands and clean the apartment more than ever before. When I read John Perry’s article on structured procrastination and he mentioned this effect I could relate my life. He mentions people trying to quit procrastinating by having less commitments and says that, “this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation.” As a result, he says, “people become couch potato[es].”
I just recently started to realize that the naps I started taking this quarter isn’t because I need reading glasses and get tired from reading, but it’s an escape from all tasks I have to do. Average of naps I take this quarter is probably 3 per week, which is a lot considering that it used to be 3 per quarter due to my panic attacks waking up and realizing I had just wasted 15 minutes of my busy life doing nothing.

Sure, I was procrastinating before as well, but the difference is that I actually had a good reason since I actually had very little time to do many things. That way procrastination actually worked out being good for me because it always kept me doing something. Now, I use lame excuses to do nothing, not only do I take naps, but by exercising and running errands. “Mañana – ‘I'll do it tomorrow,’" and “Escapism – ‘I've got to get out for a while to clear my mind’” as Edward Young talks about, are the two most common excuses I use. I can’t even count the amount of times I go to the bathroom or kitchen for no particular reason (other than escaping) when studying for an exam.

I know that procrastination is a problem for me, and that it has gotten worse this past quarter. As I constantly try to fight against this bad habit of mine, it never really works for more than a week or two. All I can do for now is to be aware of it and to try to keep Young’s and Perry’s words in my mind. Hopefully this will help me to get better. One thing I’m sure is going to work is for me to get busy again. I think it’s time to sign up for more classes and maybe get back to working more. After all, that is the only way I know how to stay focused…

HOKIANU

Well, reading the two articles finally made me to realize that what kind of person I am. Edward Young says, “The procrastinator is often remarkably optimistic about his ability to complete a task on a tight deadline; this is usually accompanied by expressions of reassurance that everything is under control.” I always think that I’m able to finish everything by deadline and manage them properly. However, the outcome is often not good. We all know when the deadlines are before the quarter starts. For example, the syllabus indicates the deadlines for the papers due and so we all know the deadlines in advance. However, I always think that there’s more time and so I always leave them to the last few days to have them done. I’m always sure that I can do it, but the fact is that even I am able to finish them on time, I did not do by best since I did not put more effort and time on them. At the same time, I am making myself far too busy at the last minute. The works can actually be done earlier but I always wait.

Another article about procrastination is John Perry’s article Structured Procrastination. I guess I’m a structured procrastinator. I like what he says about “Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list.” There’s always a list of things which require me to do by deadline and they are ranked in their importance. Even I put those most important assignments in my most to do list, I always neglect them to do the tasks which are less important and easier to do. Sometimes I know my project is due next week, I think that there’s still time for me to do and so I choose not to do it first. Instead, I’d rather do something which is in my lower part of the list which requires less time and less effort to do it. It is because I know doing a project is time-consuming. It is true that I always wanted to escape from the tasks which are time-consuming and require lots of effort. For me, making a list does not work for me. Organizers are supposed to help us to organize our time and our work but sometimes they do not work for some people.

Right now, we are all preparing our ePortfolio. Again, even I know we have to turn in our ePortfolio by the end of this quarter, I have just started posting the first entry. I always delay my works for no reasons. I have learned something from these two articles for my ePortfolio is that never to delay again. It is important to not to be a procrastinator when you are creating an ePortfolio. It is crucial to have consistent update to it and delay may cause loss of memories about your constant reflections of your works.

Andry Jong

I am, just like some other people, I believe, a procrastinator. Hence, I can really relate myself to both of the essays by Cal-Poly and John Perry. I, right now, have the earliest class in the morning and the latest class in the evening almost everyday. I have to stay at school from 10 o'clock in the morning until 6 o'clock in the evening almost everyday. Gladly, Foothill College has a very nice library and a Media Center, so that if I want to write my essays, I can just go to the Media Center and write there. I always try to do as many assignments as possible in my free time at school. However, the sole assignment that I usually do in the library is my mathematics assignment. The reason why I would rather do my mathematics assignments at school is because mathematics requires the most time and concentration, and there are just too many distractions at home (such as the internet, food, my guitar, etc.). Doing those mathematics problems absolutely makes me behind in my other classes. Just like Perry says in his essay, "All procrastinators put off things they have to do."
Looking at the article form Cal-Poly, I learn more about myself. However, I believe that the reason why I procrastinate is kind of more difficult than the ones that are described there. In doing assignments related to essay writing, I think my reason for procrastination is because of both "perfectionism" and "self-downing." I always feel that I have to do things perfectly, while I also think that I never have enough skill to do so. That is why I always consume a lot of time doing my essays. As I have said in one of my blogs, it takes me a lot of time to write essays; even though it is just 500 words, and even though the result might be still not perfect. That is because I am not confident with my own ability, and I want everything to be perfect, that is why it always takes me a lot of time to write. I am not sure if I am procrastinating or not, because I seldom start my essay at the very last minute. However, I almost always am one of the last people to finish every essay.
One of the ideas that I support most of all is Perry's idea that "procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing." As I have said earlier, I never not do anything when I am delaying working on my assignments. Even if the only thing I do is just talking with my friends, or having dinner together with my brother and sister, there are still some importances in the things that I do. I would never leave my school work if I think there is no importance in what I will do instead.
In spite of the fact that I really, really want to get good grades at school, I do not want to lose my social life; moreover my connection with my family. I think academic is very important, but not the only important thing in my life. If there are other things to do (like playing sports with my friends), I would do it once in a while, in spite of my busy schedule.
-Loire-

Ping Tong Lo

In the two articles, I found that the authors are talking about me. Definitely, I am a procrastinator. Since I was still in middle school, I delay almost every school work, I procrastinate every preparation for school tests and soccer training. After all, I realize my procrastination habit has ruined many things in my life. I failed to succeed academically in school, and I eventually not able to get into my favorite university in Hong Kong; moreover, I was once a professional soccer player. I was in the youth team in one professional soccer club in Hong Kong. However, I procrastinated every training and eventually, I dropped out the team.

Therefore, the first time I read these articles, I found it very inspiring and very precise to my case. I always hate myself for delaying everything and wait until the last minute come, and in most case, when the last minute comes, I surrender. I used to hate myself very much for procrastinating everything and have ruined a lot of chances. Sometimes, I even could not trust my promise anymore, because I know I would break my promise anyway in short period of time.

In John Perry’s essay, Structured Procrastination, he explains that “procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it.” I am exactly this kind of people who put off the most urgent and important things and turn to some other less urgent tasks. I have a habit to draft plans for every upcoming events. Plan drafting should be a good habit; however, I just indulge too much on drafting plans. I could spend like three hours to draft a very detailed plan but not to spend one hour actually realize my plan. Finally, I can conclude that my time on drafting plan is simply an excuse for me to delay.

Moreover, I am too skillful to deceit myself. As John Perry states that, “One need to be able to recognize and commit oneself to tasks with inflated importance and unreal deadlines, while making oneself feel that they are important and urgent. This is not a problem, because virtually all procrastinators have excellent self-deceptive skills also.” Every time I encounter some difficult task, I would try to convince myself that some other things are more urgent and important, once I have finished all other stuffs, I would still have plenty of time to finish the difficult task. However, I have almost missed every task and not succeed to achieve something.

Perfectionism which is mentioned in the second article is particularly appealing to me. I am a person who aims to finish every task perfectly; however, as I procrastinate every task, I seldom achieve the degree of perfection.
Using the Eportfolio project as an example; I actually planned to start my work in week 7 and I wish I would have browsed at least three examples of Eportfolio before actually starting my work. However, this is almost week 11 and I suppose to hand in everything by the next week. I have only browsed one example and have finished 50% of my work.

Anyway, I will definitely try the solutions suggested in the second article and wish to refrain from the evil habit of procrastination.

Robin Angell

Procrastination is an interesting thing. I don’t really think very much about why I procrastinate, or why people in general procrastinate, but I probably should think about procrastination more. After all, I am affected by procrastination every day. I wouldn’t say that I am a chronic procrastinator or an especially bad procrastinator, but I definitely engage in procrastination often enough so that it gets me in trouble every once in a while. For instance, I could have done this assignment yesterday or the day before or ten days before, but I chose to complete it today, the day it’s done.

Two of the authors talked about putting tasks off for more important tasks or for less important tasks. If you put off the less important things for the more important things, the less important tasks are liable to become more important. For example, last week I had a very important chemistry test. I put off a lot of tasks that seemed unimportant in order to study. If I took a moment to work on something else I would think “Well, as long as I’m working, I really should do my chem.” If I wasn’t working though, I wouldn’t worry about it, because I didn’t think “Maybe instead of reading my book I should be working on something.” After the test was over on Thursday afternoon, I realized I had a lot of small tasks to complete by the next morning. I had to do a week’s worth of math homework, plan a lesson for my reading club, and study for a quiz the next day. I managed to (sort of) get all of those things done, but not as well as I usually do.

My procrastination does not always work that way though. Sometimes I avoid tasks simply because I don’t know how to do them. I’m much more likely to start work on a lab I understand completely. If I know how the numbers are supposed to fit together, I’m likely to do it right away because it’s something easy I can do without much effort. If I have no idea what the data means or how I got the numbers I have, I’m likely to put it off until the last minute. I am never in the mood to work on something that I know will be really hard and make no sense.

While I enjoyed all three articles about procrastination, I noticed that they were quite different. Cal Poly’s article focused on the negative aspects of procrastination and seemed a little more down to earth. The other two articles saw positive aspects in procrastination or they say positive ways to procrastinate. Both articles seemed more philosophical than the article from Cal Poly. I can appreciate both styles, but I found the “Structured Procrastination” and the “Good and Bad Procrastination” articles to be more interesting. While they were more interesting than the Cal Poly article, “understanding Procrastination,” I think the Cal Poly article is closer to reality.

Ronald Tan Kiem Seng

After reading the two articles, I realize that I have a bad case of procrastination. I John Perry’s statement that “Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things” is very true for me. I tend to do things like chatting or surfing the net and I would tell myself that I would just do it for 15 minutes then I’ll get on with my study. However, I tend to get carried on. After doing one thing for 15 minutes, then I’ll come up with another thing to do for the next 15 minutes and it usually goes on for a while. John Perry suggests that procrastinators should coax themselves when ordering the tasks they have in the order their importance such that the trivial tasks will be of higher importance because procrastinators tend to do the less important things first”. This way, procrastinators will do things that are in fact more important first. However, I don’t think his idea of structured procrastination will work. For example, in my case, I don’t see how I can trick myself into thinking that chatting for 15 minutes will be of greater importance than doing my essays or assignments.

The article from Cal poly fits me in its description of how procrastinators think but I disagree with some points in the article. It says that,” This sudden spurt of energy is the source of the erroneous feeling that "I only work well under pressure." Actually, at this point you are making progress only because you haven't any choice”. The statement makes sense to me and it fits my way of thinking, but I would have to disagree with the article when later on the article says that the behavior is counterproductive because I think it can be more productive. The “sudden spurt of energy” of doing things last minute will make one do things faster than usual. At least in my case, when I’m doing things in advance, I’ll tend to do a task very slowly because I tend to get distracted but when I do it with time constraint, the “sudden spurt of energy” helps me to concentrate and the task will be done faster. I would rather do things faster and have more time to do things that I want.

I also found the reasons listed for procrastination in the cal poly article to be largely untrue for me:
1. Difficult and time-consuming: I agree with these two reasons being the source of procrastination.
2. Lack of knowledge or skills: I think procrastinators are quite confident with their ability as such they put things until last minute before doing it.
3. Fears: I don’t think procrastinators are afraid of screwing up, they should realize that doing things in a rush doesn’t always produce good results.
4. Perfectionism: I found that most of my procrastinating friends and me aren’t really perfectionist. We do things last minute because we like to do things with whatever is at hands and not do too much research before hands.
5. Anger/Hostility: For me, if I don’t like the professor, I would try and do well to show because I will assume that the professor doesn’t like me in return and I will try to do well to make him mad.
6. Low frustration tolerance: I think that doing things last minute will tend to make people frustrated so procrastinators should have high tolerance for frustration.
7. Self-Downing: Procrastinators should have high self-confidence because they should believe that they are capable of doing things last minute.

It is hard to overcome procrastination, the methods that are suggested in cal poly article of how we can overcome procrastination is mostly theory. It looks good on paper but it is hard to be done. I think for now in 2-year College, procrastination still works, people are still getting good results doing things last minute. I think to stop procrastinating, procrastinators have to come into situations where doing things last minute will yield poor results. And they have to come into the realization themselves and make the change. It might be the case in 4-year University, I will find out soon enough.

Ka Ho Lee

I really liked this project because I have thought myself to be a procrastinator since high school. I believe that I am the kind of Honors Institute students that Professor Lankford describes: first of all, I am really concerned about my GPA and want to maximize it as much as I can; second, I have a severe and chronic addiction to procrastination since I would not do things until the very last minute.

In John Perry’s “Structured Procrastination,” John Perry points out that “structured procrastination requires a certain amount of self-deception,” in which one “recognize[s] and commit[s] oneself to tasks with inflated importance and unreal deadlines.” I strongly agree with this quote and feel that I, too, am a structured procrastinator. For instance, whenever there are a great deal of things to be done, I would become stressed and want to organize things into a time sequence according to their importance. I normally spend a lot of time deciding which task to finish first and which to reserve for later. Although it seems that I am trying to be well-organized so that I can finish all my tasks without messing up anything, the time I spend figuring out the time sequence is way too much that I can possibly complete everything that I need to finish within that timeframe. Therefore, I believe that I tend to do things that are lower down the to-do list and avoid doing things that are of higher importance. Because of this tendency to do things that are less important, I often find myself working on tasks that are coming due in just a few minutes. In fact, I always try to finish my homework that is coming due next week and not studying for tests or exams that are to be held in a few days’ time.

While reading the article on “Understanding Procrastination” form CalPoly, I found that I am a typical procrastinator. The article states that “procrastination is only remotely related to time management, (procrastinators often know exactly what they should be doing, even if they cannot do it), which is why very detailed schedules usually are no help.” As I have mentioned earlier on, I have a habit to maintain an organized schedule and do things according to it. However, I often times end up trying to complete the tasks until the last minute. And like what the article describes, I am “often remarkably optimistic about [my] ability to complete a task on a tight deadline.” For example, when there is a project that is coming due tomorrow, I would still spend a great deal of time chatting with friends through the ICQ or the MSN Messenger. I always reassure myself that I will have enough time to finish all the tasks before the deadlines although I also understand from experience that I may not be able to finish them if I continue to spend time on other unrelated stuff. Concerning the steps to cure procrastination, I kind of found myself between stage 2 and stage 3. Frankly speaking, I have the ability to realize and have actually realized that I am delaying something unnecessarily. In addition, I can discover the real reasons for my delay under almost every circumstance. However, I have difficulties in taking actions to dispute those real reasons and overcome them because I “enjoy” procrastinating. Although I understand that I have to overcome those reasons, the force that is driving me to procrastinate often resists me from overcoming those reasons. In particular, I always attempt to avoid doing complex tasks although I understand that I am only avoiding them because they are difficult. I think what I lack now is the vigor to overcome my fears and if I can overcome these, I will be able to begin the most important tasks right away without procrastinating.

In conclusion, this research project really interested me a lot and I would love to investigate deeper into this very appealing topic that is so much related to my everyday life.

Shawn Saxena


These articles hit a frighteningly familiar note. “Barely completed in time, the paper may actually earn a fairly good grade; whereupon the student experiences mixed feelings: pride of accomplishment (sort-of), scorn for the professor who cannot recognize substandard work, and guilt for getting an undeserved grade. But the net result is reinforcement: the procrastinator is rewarded positively for his poor behavior. ("Look what a decent grade I got after all!") As a result, the counterproductive behavior is repeated over and over again.” One serious manifestation of procrastination I definitely have is the “over scheduling” that Mr. Perry describes. Allotting your time an efficient manner seems so productive, but it has two serious pitfalls for me. One, I consume too much time constructing a schedule and take up useful time that I could be using to do something much more productive. Two, a schedule sometimes creates the “false sense of security” that tricks you into believing you have more time than you really have resulting in deadlines that sneak up on you. Reading about procrastination is a manifestation of procrastination; I feel like I’m doing some sort of self reflective thinking that will help me. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But it’s better than a lot of the other things I have to do right now. “Make the tasks look small and easy in your mind. ("I've written lots of excellent papers; this is just one more paper.")” It’s easy to get overwhelmed by an onslaught of assignments. And when that happens, it’s hard not to try to push them all out of the way. The most effective thing to do in that situation is to sit down and break apart each assignment piece by piece. Give each assignment a priority and allocate a certain amount of time it will probably take to get done. But that’s all just more procrastination. The hardest part is just sitting down and knocking them off one by one. I liked what the third article had to say about type-B procrastination. It’s so easy to deceive yourself and others when you’re getting large amounts of work done. Sometimes they’re things that are less important; other times they’re jobs that were created out of a sheer need to do anything other than what you really need to be doing. Paul Graham brought up an interesting point when he was citing the other article; when we read or hear the question (“what's the best thing you could be working on, and why aren't you?”) we shy away from it. And even as I read this, I still increased the speed of my reading to find something else I wanted to think about. I am definitely a key target for the Cal poly article. Hey, maybe this assignment really helped me out; at least it let me procrastinate from other things I should be doing.

Christine Ferry

[10 points. I'm a structured procrastinator too (right now, grading this, for example)]
This was a great topic to read about. It also gave me something to add to my list before getting down to working on my eportfolio, taxes, and many more things on my task list. To quote from John Perry, “I am working on this essay as a way of not doing all those things”. I am such a list maker. If I make a list and stick to it at least I can get most things done. Of course, the easy, simple projects on the list always get done first. That way, it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. This is not always a great idea because most likely, those small errands can wait. In “Good and Bad Procrastination”, I learned “Good procrastination is avoiding errands to do real work”.

I find the way my systems works is a lot like the “Structured Procrastination” that John Perry wrote of in his essay. He explains, “Tasks that seem most urgent and important are at the top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list”. I don’t put off actually doing my work but I organize myself to get the work that is due sooner done first and then move on to the next project. Last week was a prime example, because I had the Friday deadline to hand in my Earth Odyseey essay but I also had a blog entry and online discussion due first on Monday. I finished the blog and discussion first because it was due by Monday night. That may seem like logic but I spend a lot of time with the larger more important project looming over my head that I rush through the other projects. Would I be better off focusing on the essay, which is worth 200 points and skipping or delaying the blog entry for 5 points? (There goes the obsessive worrying over points).

The Cal Poly essay had some great tools in it like “work on something for 5 minutes”, and you can always stop and do another project. This is called the “Five-Minute Plan”. I tried that with this project and after 5 minutes of writing, I was too wrapped up to stop. Another good point was how procrastination affects everyone, “for some it can be a minor problem; for others it is a source of considerable stress and anxiety”. I guess by delaying the large project you are just creating stress by worrying about the whole time.

Perry writes “deadlines really start to press a week or two after they pass”. I feel like I do some procrastination but not as bad to let the due dates slip and end up handing in late papers. But I do feel this assignment does fit into my delaying of doing the eportfolio. It’s the last thing do for this class and it’s the project that keeps getting shifted down on my list. Now, I think some pencils need sharpening..…

Mary Elaine Akers-Bell

[10 points. I, too, ama structured procrastinator.]
At first, I was nervous that the articles would be boring—or at least guilting. I don’t procrastinate often (unless it’s an English paper…), and I will admit I didn’t want to read anything about people calling me a procrastinator.
And then my English paper deadline was creeping up on me, and I found myself drew towards the articles about procrastination. And John Perry’s words, "I have accomplished an enormous number of important things as a way of not working on it" jumped out at me, and I had to laugh. The article was right on.
They caught me: because I was procrastinating on writing my paper right now by doing my other English assignment. "The procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important." I'm finishing my little 10 point task while avoiding the 200 point task that's been looming over me all week. Congrats, John Perry, for being right on the dot. He asks, "And what could be more noble than using one character flaw to offset the bad effects of another?" And I grin and nod right along with him—there is a sense of nobleness when you get a lot of stuff done. Sure, I didn’t get my paper done the night I was procrastinating, but I did finish my Japanese homework, and the introduction for my ePortfolio, and this procrastination homework done in the spare time, right?
Now, while I liked the first article, I didn’t like the second article as much—primarily because it was all medical and boring. Add to the fact that I don’t consider myself one of the bad procrastinators that CalPoly was talking about, and you can see why I ho-hummed my way through the article. There were a few titles I found interesting, especially the parts about low self-confidence, perfectionism, and self downing (three things I struggle with), but most of the article I just glanced through.
One quote I did like, though, was “Procrastination is only remotely related to time management, (procrastinators often know exactly what they should be doing, even if they cannot do it), which is why very detailed schedules usually are no help.” I often times make nice timetables for myself, a skill I have learned since being in Japan and in college, but sometimes I don’t feel like I can do them when the time rolls around. (Sometimes I’m sick, sometimes the day was longer and more stressful than I thought it was, sometimes other, “more important” things come up). And I have felt the complacency of “he has fifteen days; there is plenty of time; no need to start. Lulled by a false sense of security, time passes.” I don’t know many people who haven’t put it off, and most of the time it’s because you’re very busy those first ten days.
I skimmed through the third article, and was amused by this quote: “The most impressive people I know are all terrible procrastinators. So could it be that procrastination isn't always bad?” I also chuckled at the absent minded professor anecdote—they remind me of my friends. Even though the idea of “put off working on small stuff to work on big stuff” is scary, it’s something I’ve seen people do, and things I’ve even done myself. This past Friday I was so focused on bringing in my paper, I forgot completely to bring in my book. And it was test day. (ouch). Luckily, those moments are far and few between, and I hope they stay that way as I work towards becoming a college professor. I don’t want to accidentally walk into a pole while thinking about one of my student’s projects. ^_^

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