Procrastination: Is it that bad?
Procrastination. It could be my middle name. I procrastinate all the time; every task. I’m late for everything. When packing for vacation, I’m always forgetting something because I wait until the last minute to pack. I’ve grown up with the understanding that procrastination is a bad thing. My teachers would remind me to start my work early – which I never did. My mom would remind me to be punctual, knowing that I’m always late – I was still late. But there looks to be a new study that better defines the good and bad things about procrastination in a Psychology Today article.
Researchers studied a handful of participants in two studies to evaluate any possible correlations between a person’s values and their levels of procrastination. They concluded that there is a relationship between the two. In other words, there are some people (like me) that fall into the category of a procrastinator – because we’re late to meetings, and we wait until the last minute to do things – but maybe we don’t see it that way. The possibility exists that I do not value being punctual and maybe I don’t care if I forget to pack something on my vacation. We don’t all have to have the same values; we don’t all see the same things as important in life. So it seems that people who “procrastinate” just hold different values. “…it is important to take this broader approach to understanding the role of values as influences on the ways that people expend their energies. Fulfillment in life depends on achieving the results you regard as important, results that may vary according to your overall values and belief systems,” summed up by the article.
With all that said and done, I do think it’s important to think about procrastination and values in a more negative way, as well. What I mean is, we all have different values and things that mean something to us, which influences our choices and ultimately may lead to us procrastinating, but this could lead to negative situations. As a young student, I waited until the last minute to research and write a paper for class. This sometimes led to a bad grade – either because I didn’t have enough time to put in due effort, or because I submitted my paper past the due date, and the teacher lowered my grade. In this situation, I didn’t think my paper or my grades were all that important. I valued other things, maybe friends and cheerleading, instead of school.
Procrastination can be an okay thing or a not-so-okay thing, depending on where the values lie and how the situation will actually affect the individual. Another example of procrastination is when I decided to wait to see the doctor for a foot injury. We all do it; we make excuses not to see doctors because we’re busy, we can’t get off work. I hurt my foot exercising, and I waited about two weeks to see a foot specialist. Over those two weeks I tried to solve the problem, myself, by icing my foot and wrapping it. Once I saw the doctor, they confirmed I had a stress fracture. I’m now stuck in a walking boot for 6 weeks – over Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s not fair at this point to wonder if I had gone to the doctor right away, would I still be in this situation, because that won’t change my situation at this point. But, it’s another example of how procrastinating can lead to a negative outcome for the individual.
In short, when it comes to “procrastination” we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. Not every
procrastinating situation is a bad one. It’s important we not label others as “procrastinators” with a negative connotation just because they may hold different values than us. But I do think it’s important that we first evaluate the situation to determine if procrastinating will lead to a negative outcome for ourselves (or someone else), or if it will just lead to A situation – not good or bad – just an outcome.