Procrastination is a widespread phenomenon in our society, resulting in self-help books and thousands of people that continue to procrastinate daily. Yet the question still remains: why do people procrastinate even when they know that it could potentially harm their chances of success? Given that approximately ninety-five percent of college students reported procrastinating during their education at some point, it is increasingly necessary to analyze the motivations that prelude this irrational behavior. The purpose of this lecture is to discuss the personal characteristics and internal motivations that may predict procrastination behavior. Through a literature review a few key components emerged when identifying predictors of procrastination: low self-esteem, low self-efficacy, self-handicapping, and temporal orientation. It seems that individuals with low self-esteem and low self-efficacy are more likely to procrastinate than others. Furthermore, procrastination may be used as a self-handicapping strategy to distance an individual from innate failure and allows them to attribute faults to external influences. In addition, it has been theorized that people procrastinate when the utility of procrastination is more rewarding than acting on long-term goals because procrastinators maintain present-time orientation. The struggle with procrastination is a complex and difficult issue, but if we can better recognize the causes of procrastination, then we may more fully understand ourselves as well as the human condition.
Anna Guittar ’12
Sponsor: Suzette Astley