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November 30, 2023

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Self-help for all procrastinators

Attention all procrastinators: Read this column, and I mean now, not later.

Okay, so I guess if you are reading on that means you are a procrastinator, just like me. Contrary to what some people think, there is actually a way to beat procrastination. One night I got creative and devised a game for anyone looking to do so. Trust me, it is a game with worthwhile incentives for college students. I’m going to give some background information before explaining the game.

Data presented by Thomas M. Brinthaupt of the College Student Journal in a 2001 study implies that many of us college students put off those things that should be done. Brinthaupt surveyed 162 undergraduates, and 82 percent said they often cram, while 59 percent said they procrastinate.

I, for one, have always wondered what caused procrastination. But several professors from the University of Wisconsin did a study titled “The Impact of Hope, Procrastination and Social Activity on Academic Performance of Midwestern College Students.” This study found that students who have more hope for excelling in a class were less likely to procrastinate, while total social activity did not correlate with procrastination.

Ah, Bowling Green students can breath a sigh of relief. All those drunken nights do not make us procrastinators! And don’t get me wrong, I know we procrastinate. The day before I have a paper due or an exam, I usually hear of at least one person in the class who has not started preparing.

I sit at my desk for hours trying to start my homework, but then TV, the Internet or that wonderful thing called AIM that has all those friends and away messages on it distracts me.

I can’t recall the number of nights I have gone out when I had an exam or something due the next day. But do you other procrastinators really blame me? I cannot study when dollar draft night is calling my name! The only defining trait of a procrastinator that I lack is that “Procrastinator’s Creed” poster that, oddly enough, is sold at every bookstore in town.

Now that I’ve exemplified how college students procrastinate, and explained things that may or may not cause procrastination, let’s play the game. This may eventually remove all procrastinating inhibitions from our minds. I found research from the American Psychological Association that showed steps students could take to deal with procrastination.

This game will be played like most other games, only with a BGSU twist. Everyone playing, which better be all those procrastinators out there, will start working on these steps right away. If you are the first to complete all five steps, you and your friends win an all-expense-paid bar crawl to the 15 or so bars in town.

Okay, now since that bar crawl is not a reality, we can dream, can’t we?

While you are playing this game, imagine no cover charges at any bars that have them on certain nights. Not to mention that annual meal at Taco Bell or Waffle House for free afterward. Go ahead, fight for it like it actually is going to happen and take these steps:

First, outline the small steps needed to complete any project you are working on. Instead of trying to finish your entire paper, break it down into steps. It is not always necessary to start at the beginning, and this belief may slow your progress.

Next, use incentives to assist you. As if that free bar crawl is not enough incentive, know that for each time block you spend studying, you can take a break for leisure.

The fourth step is to methodically break through your writer’s block. Talk through your ideas with friends or professors, and write your thoughts down. Get your ideas out and work through them before scrutinizing sentences.

Now to the last step. You are one step away from that bar crawl! All you have to do is recognize and accept that writing and studying are time consuming. You won’t be perfect the first time around, so don’t rush yourself. Expect to go through several drafts, and read over notes several times. If you do this, the workload you think seems outrageous will be narrowed down.

Now, to my fellow procrastinators who want that bar crawl, let the games begin!

E-mail comments to Nicole at [email protected].

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