top of page

Speaker informs on how to combat procrastination

Mark Hurst speaks to students about procrastination. (Photo by Emma Newell)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Students should learn how to manage their procrastination rather than try to eliminate it, Mark Hurst, a resource specialist for UA’s Center for Academic Success, said in a procrastination workshop for students Monday night.

Hurst said the most dangerous form of procrastination for students is the procrastination spiral, which entails a stressful cycle of delaying work due to putting off other work. The best way to combat procrastination spirals is to know personal limits, Hurst said.

“If you’re comfortable writing a three-page paper the day it’s due, then that’s fine,” Hurst said. “But if you know yourself and know it will take you over four hours to write, is that the amount of work you want to do in one day?”

A 2005 study in The Journal of Social Psychology found that some people are active procrastinators who demonstrate academic performance identical or better than non-procrastinators under the pressure of procrastination. Hurst recognized this, but he said it’s easy to false prioritize under the pressure.

Students should always do their most difficult task first, because it’s proven if someone does the easiest tasks first, they’re more likely to give up on the hard tasks, Hurst said.

Hurst said the ability to prioritize is important, because missing a major assignment will have much more impact on someone’s mental health than a five-point assignment.

“When I look back at things I’ve procrastinated on, I feel dumb, because I caused myself so much unnecessary anxiety,” Bailey Key said, a first-year college student.

Procrastination spirals can even happen to students that are really together. All it takes is one bad week or incident, such as getting sick, to start a cycle, Hurst said.

Hurst said some of his best advice is to admit when there’s a problem, ask for help from professors, and to not make excuses. He also advised not have one set day as a “catch up” day, but to have time allotted every day to catch up on work.

Most students know they have a problem with procrastination, so focusing on how to how to get out of a procrastination spiral and cycles of falling behind is more effective in coaching students on procrastination, Hurst said.


bottom of page