Are you putting off dealing with procrastination?

I’d meant to write this post days ago but now the week is almost over and I am wondering, ‘Where did all that time go?’

Procrastination. A big word for what is simply putting off until tomorrow what can – or should – be done today.  In fact, the literal translation of the classical Latin root procrastinus is  ‘that which belongs to tomorrow’.

While the concept is simple – delaying or even not doing something – the reasons for procrastinating are manifold, complex and personal.  Perhaps not a cheerful topic with to approach the weekend (and the coming Easter holidays) – but inspirational in an unusual sort of way, I hope:  If you already know that you have a tendency to procrastinate or you recognise that you are developing procrastinating behaviours, you can use the holidays to explore and implement effective time-management and coping strategies – before your to do list scrolls off your desk on to the floor and down the corridor.

sleeping cat
“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.” George Claude Lorimer

Maybe you find you only procrastinate about certain things – managing your career, for instance.  What are your reasons and strategies for avoiding engaging with  your career?  My colleague David Winter explored career management procrastination and surmised that a lack of self-efficacy – “I can’t do it.” – was one important factor explaining students’ tendencies to put off career planning.  As postgraduate students, you can do it. The same skills that make you successful learners and researchers (whether it be of masters dissertations or PhD theses) are those will make you successful career planners:

      • Research
      • Exploring and stretching yourself
      • Communicating and influencing
      • Broadening and building your connections
      • Enthusiasm, drive and persistence

How can your Careers Service help you stop not-thinking-about-your-career?

      • We can reassure you – you are not the only student who doesn’t know what they want to do,or who feels confused, or who knows what they want to do – but would like the chance to discuss your ideas with someone impartial
      • You don’t have to sort it out all at once – managing your career is a process. We have staff and resources who support you all they way (and up to 2 years after you graduate)
      • Talk to an experienced information professional any time without appointment to get information, advice or a referral on any careers related topic
      • We can help with CVs, applications and interviews
      • One to one appointments to discuss your career ideas and plans with a careers consultant


Some of these stories of ‘epic’ procrastination will hopefully make you laugh, as well as reassure you that you are not alone (also see the opening sentence of this blog post). If you have concerns about procrastination, there is help available for you on campus, for example:

1. You can start with these elearning modules Understanding the procrastination cycle and Strategies for dealing with procrastination.

2. If you are a PhD student, your faculty may offer time management workshops.

3. The Counselling Services runs a range of courses for all students at the University.

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