The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Tips for procrastinators

Glenn Pfenninger met with students and faculty yesterday to discuss the causes of procrastination ways to prevent it. Not surprisingly, a few audience members crept in late into the Memorial Health Center to participate in the Brown Bag presentation.

Pfenninger, who is a graduate student at the University of North Texas, also works for SMU Counseling and Testing Services. While his mission was to try to get audience members to stop procrastinating, he admitted that he also procrastinates.

“I’m a fourth-year at UNT and I’ve still not even proposed my thesis,” Pfenninger said.

Unlike most people who are considered to have a tense-afraid type of procrastination, Pfenninger said he is more of a relaxed type. Most people are tense-afraid and experience negative feelings of pressure and are unrealistic about time.

Tense-afraid procrastinators also are uncertain about their goals and Pfenninger said they usually undergo cycles of failure that can have a debilitating effect on their personal lives.

“Your friends call you up and you tell them ‘sorry I can’t go out’ and you just sit there thinking about the work you have to do instead of actually doing it,” Pfenninger said. “Students lose their social identity, and it’s really hard to see that because this is supposed to be the most fun time in your life.”

Procrastinators who are more relaxed do not show their anxiousness like the tense-afraid. Instead, these procrastinators avoid their responsibilities and pay attention to other things like social activities.

Pfenninger said some common causes of procrastination are fear of failure, thrill seeking, unclear expectations, lack of motivation, false beliefs and the desire for perfection.

The most prominent of these causes is fear, and the best way to eliminate that feeling is to just breathe, Pfenninger said.

“When you experience fear of failure or success, acknowledge it, breathe, relax and refocus on the task,” he said.

It is also helpful to break down tasks into time intervals and allow natural break points as reinforcement for time spent working.

Students and faculty should also be honest with themselves about what they can do and if they can actually focus on the task at hand, Pfenninger said. It is okay to take breaks.

Pfenninger also discouraged students and faculty from creating to-do lists because they can create guilt and anxiety.

“To-do lists can be the devil,” Pfenninger said. “You just keep on listing things you have to do so that you don’t have to start doing things. Most of these things you’re not going to forget anyways because you know you have to do it.”

Instead, students and faculty should create “success” lists of what they have accomplished in order to reward themselves for getting tasks done, Pfenninger said.

If students feel that they cannot manage time or deal with feelings of failure or anxiety, Pfenninger said they are always welcome to stop by the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center or Counseling and Testing Center for help.

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