Avoid procrastination to manage personal stress

by News Editor Anna Brown

Procrastination. We all do it. As the end of the semester draws near, procrastination runs rampant on campus.

No matter how color-coded our planners, how strict we make our schedules or how well we plan study sessions, all students will complete an assignment mere moments before it is due.

Psychologytoday.com reports 20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions to keep from completing them.

I confess to being one of those students. On Sunday night, I started a major assignment at 9:30 p.m. When was it due? 10:59 p.m.

I thought I did not have time to complete the assignment throughout the past week, but when I look back, I had plenty of time.

That night, when I did nothing but watch Food Network and look at wedding decorations on Pinterest, I could have completed my assignment.

That two-hour car ride to Birmingham Saturday? I could have completed my assignment.

Now, please hear that I am not against personal time. Yes, down time is a must to sustain sanity during the semester, but time can be used in a way that prevents time-crunch stress.

The brain is only designed to handle stress for about 30 seconds, according to brainrules.com. It was not built to handle long-term stress, the type of stress that continuously affects individuals.

This is unfortunate because when the brain is under heavy stress, cognitive functions begin to fail.

Stress damages the ability to remember basic tasks and information. When stress occurs over a long period of time, it can dampen the immune system and cause weight gain due to excessive cortisol, the stress hormone.

Sadly, many college students face this type of stress every semester, me included.

With many college students working a part-time job while attending school full-time, it is hard to imagine a life without stress and procrastination. However, here are some basic tips to help avoid the procrastination bug and relieve yourself of unnecessary panic:

1. If you can do it today, do it.

If you have the time and energy to accomplish something now, do not wait. If you put it off today, you will put it off tomorrow.

2. Make a schedule and stick to it.

Let’s say you want to finish that paper tonight so you can start on your other homework tomorrow. Do what you set out to do. If your friend calls and asks if you want to go out tonight, tell him or her that you have work to do and do not feel guilty. Trust, me, avoiding stress by doing things when you should is better than a lazy night out.

3.Schedule fun events at the end of the week.

Remember what I said about down time? To motivate yourself to get work done, schedule a fun night out on Friday or Saturday and do not allow yourself to go unless you get all your work done. This might mean you have to stay up late for a few nights, but at least you can do something fun at the end of the week without worrying about the work you did not do.