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Sasi Minnie Ounpiyodom


Mr. Abel Cadias
English 10 / 10:02
May 16, 2017

The Costs and Benefits of Being a Student Procrastinator

Being a procrastinator can have positive effects such as increasing the speed of work,

improvisation skills and improving the work efficiency of MUIDS students. The purpose of

this research report is to find out the reason of procrastination and its effects on MUIDS

students work efficiency. The importance of this research report is to point out how

procrastination is not always a negative habit, instead, can be transformed into many other

positive habits. The pieces of information are based on five sources. First, Joseph Ferrari, a

professor of psychology at DePaul University interviewed by Audrey Hamilton in the article

Psychology of Procrastination: Why People Put Off Important Tasks Until the Last Minute

describes the reasons why most people procrastinate based on US statistics. Second, Amy

Novotney in her article about Procrastination or 'intentional delay'? emphasizes on the

causes and effects of procrastination on graduate students. Third, in the journal of social

psychology, Rethinking Procrastination: Positive Effects of "Active" Procrastination

Behavior on Attitudes and Performance compares active and passive procrastination and

their effects. Fourth, Dianne Tice and Roy Baumeisterthes research about Longitudinal

Study of Procrastination, Performance, Stress, and Health: The Costs and Benefits of

Dawdling shows detailed psychological analysis about people who procrastinate. Finally,

Howell and Watsons article Procrastination: Associations with achievement goal orientation

and learning strategies additionally explained how procrastination affects learning

performance. Furthermore, this research report will include information from an online

survey conducted in MUIDS.


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Procrastination

Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator(Ferrari, 2010). A

procrastinator refers to a person who puts off something that needs to be done, despite

knowing that he/she will suffer by doing so. Although procrastination is vastly perceived as a

negative, or even dysfunctional habit, it can be classified into two major types; passive

procrastinators and active procrastinators. Passive procrastinators delay tasks because they set

up high expectations for themselves, which brings self-doubt and fear of failure alongside.

These factors cause them to be unable to make quick decisions, lack time management skills,

and eventually fail to complete tasks. In contrast, active procrastinators are able to complete

their tasks in time because they are adapted to work well under pressure. Their only problem

is that they intentionally put off tasks by doing other tasks. Active procrastinators are

believed to be more motivated according to researchers. Therefore, both types of

procrastinator possess distinct cognitive, affective and behavioral characteristics. According

to a 2007 research conducted by psychologist Piers Steel, PhD at University of Calgary

showed that 80 to 95 percent of college students procrastinate. A later study in 2014 revealed

that 87 percent of approximately 1,300 high school and college students claimed that they

were procrastinators, in which was affecting their learning performance.

Procrastination has been highly associated with motivation, a force that drives people

to delay or not delay their work. As stated in the Journal of Social Psychology, motivation is

categorized into two types; intrinsic and extrinsic(Chu & Choi, 2005). Intrinsic motivation

refers to an internal drive from oneself. Extrinsic motivation defines the drive from possible

positive or negative outcomes, for example failing an exam or getting rewarded. Several

studies have shown that non procrastinators are eager to learn everything they could,

therefore full of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In contrast, passive procrastinators

lack of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Fortunately, there is a middle ground between
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two of them, active procrastinators. They have low intrinsic motivation but high extrinsic

motivation, due to the fact that they complete their work within the last minute but choose not

to spend excessive amount of time doing each task.

The Effects of Procrastination on Learning Behavior and Performance

A lot of procrastinators experience negative effects on their physical and mental

health, which are possible to occur during and after the act of procrastination. Especially

depression, low self-esteem or even poor study habits are often experienced. Moreover,

anxiety levels were found very high in procrastinators who delayed their studying until the

exam period. In 1997, Dianne M. Tice and Roy F. Baumeister studied on the costs and

benefits of procrastination by recording the studying habits of college students. Interestingly,

the results showed that it is possible that procrastinators experience the same amount of stress

as non-procrastinators. The difference was that non-procrastinators became stressed earlier in

the course, when their work was assigned. In contrary, passive procrastinators did not

experience stress until later, when their work was nearly due. Active procrastinators tend to

be more tolerant to stress because they cope with problems at hand with realistic solutions.

Theoretically, there would be no difference between the quality of work whether the student

procrastinated or not. However, realistically, it is also plausible that procrastinators will run

out of time needed to perfect their work. However, procrastinators reported stressing out for a

shorter period of time. Researches have shown that this form of stress can promote task

performance, which includes being able to work well under pressure, a crucial characteristic

of active procrastinators. The above study has found that the key to working under pressure is

to have the deadline as a sole source of motivation.

Contrary to popular belief, one possible reason to why many students procrastinate is

because they think deeper and harder before acting, meaning they had the chance to explore

the possibilities and approaches towards their work farther than non-procrastinators who
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finish their work right away. This act of forward thinking promotes the opportunity for

students to explore their suitable learning strategy. Procrastinators who are unmotivated tend

to avoid effortful and time-consuming strategies(Howell & Watson, 2007).

The Impact of Procrastination to MUIDS Students

In order to retrieve students information on procrastination, an online survey was

conducted. The survey was sent out to 10, 11 and 12 Graders inside MUIDS. The final results

have shown that 48% of students described themselves as a moderate procrastinator. 19.4%

claimed they are chronic procrastinators. Surprisingly, not one student denied that he/she is a

procrastinator. The majority of students chose to go on social media when procrastinating,

followed by watching tv shows and doing hobbies in second place. The leading factor that

over 80% of students feel drives them to procrastinate is laziness, followed by boredom with

54.8%. As predicted, 67.7% of students choose to procrastinate writing papers the most

compared to other types of works for example short exercises, visual and speaking

presentations. Almost half of the students said they feel the same amount of stress during the

time of procrastination and after procrastination.

Since procrastination leaves little time for students to complete their work, being able

to work fast and deal with pressure are considered necessary skills. According to the survey,

53.1% claim themselves as fast workers, but only 37.5% said that they were fine with

working under pressure. This shows that adjusting their speed is not as difficult as coping

with pressure for MUIDS students. Finally, 62.5% of them said that what they have learned

most from procrastinating is to start working earlier next time. This concludes that students

would prefer to stop their habit of procrastination.


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Conclusion

The purpose of this research report was to find out the reason of procrastination and

its effects on MUIDS students work efficiency. This research report concluded that most

people procrastinate because of unrealistic expectations, indecision, over thinking, lack of

motivation, boredom and laziness which is the most dominant cause according to MUIDS

students. The school survey showed that procrastination has some positive impact on students

such as faster speed of work and adaptation to working under pressure. This research report

recommends further studies on how students procrastinate and ways to improve

procrastinating habits.

References

Chu, A. H., & Choi, J. N. (2005). Rethinking Procrastination: Positive Effects of "Active"
Procrastination Behavior on Attitudes and Performance. The Journal of Social
Psychology, 145(3), 245-264. doi:10.3200/socp.145.3.245-264
http://www.motivationalmagic.com/library/ebooks/motivation/motivation%20%20An
%20article%20on%20procrastination.pdf

Ferrari, J. (2010, April 5). Psychology of Procrastination: Why People Put Off Important
Tasks Until the Last Minute. Retrieved March 24, 2017, from
http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2010/04/procrastination.aspx

Howell, A. J., & Watson, D. C. (2007). Procrastination: Associations with achievement goal
orientation and learning strategies. Personality and Individual Differences, 43(1),
167-178. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2006.11.017
Novotney, A. (n.d.). Procrastination or 'intentional delay'? Retrieved March 28, 2017, from
http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2010/01/procrastination.aspx

Tice, D. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (1997). Longitudinal Study of Procrastination, Performance,


Stress, and Health: The Costs and Benefits of Dawdling. Psychological Science, 8(6),
454-458. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.1997.tb00460.x