Our beloved colleague, Thomas Apel, putting forth A+ effort as usual.

Our beloved colleague, Thomas Apel, putting forth A+ effort as usual.

Our beloved colleague, Thomas Apel, putting forth A+ effort as usual.

Kate Compton, Writer

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If you are thinking of other tasks in order to to avoid doing something that is mandatory…you are procrastinating. Procrastination is when you delay or avoid dealing with important tasks or issues.  Why do some people make it a habit to procrastinate?
Procrastination is the tendency for the brain to place a higher value on an immediate reward (ex. doing something more fun now) than on the  more important task and its future reward.  It has been shown that procrastinators prefer immediate gratification rather than viewing the gratification to exerting effort for long-term payoff.
Procrastinating isn’t a genetic disease, such as diabetes, but it is a self inflicted personality defect, that is essentially a struggle in our own self control. Procrastination often ends up as a downward spiral of negative emotions that work to deter our future performance. According to the University of Chicago, approximately 20% of people are considered “chronic” procrastinators. A Case Western Reserve University study found that college-age procrastinators end up with higher stress levels, more illnesses and lower grades in the long run. 
People who procrastinate usually do so to avoid tackling certain things and the feeling that goes along with them. It usually occurs when individuals fear, dread or have anxiety about a certain task that is awaiting them. To avoid this negative feeling, people procrastinate and perform other activities instead of the task at hand, such as sleeping, shopping, etc. This makes the individuals feel better, at least momentarily.
Unfortunately, when reality sets in, the negative emotions comes back to bite them, and the scenario then bring back twice the amount of guilt, shame and anxiety. For the extreme procrastinator those new negative feelings are now, once again, the reason to put the job off for another time.  Thus, procrastination turns into a vicious cycle.
There are some ways one can avoid this self-defeating behavior in high school. Staying organized is beneficial, as it gets rid of the other distractions that may be awaiting. Giving yourself incentives works.  For example, if you want to hang out with your friends on Friday, but your paper is due that same Friday, completing it before Thursday in order to have a good time with your friends this gives you good incentive to finish the task early.
Ask yourself the question: “What’s the worst thing that can happen by doing this task?’’ Then ask yourself: “How great will it feel once I accomplish this task instead of postponing it?’’
Another easy way one can stop procrastinating is to break up the main task into small little tasks or steps. While the task may be huge and require a large amount of work or research, by breaking this large task into little tasks, makes the overall picture less overwhelming. This helps you to focus on one part of the task at a time, and will make the overall task easier and more enjoyable.
Changing the environment can help procrastinators. If you are doing homework on your bed, for example, it may lead you away from the homework task and you may want to sleep instead of doing that homework. You may want to look at your workspace. Avoiding your bedroom as a study space is a huge factor in helping teenagers avoid procrastination when it comes to doing their homework.

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