Procrastination – It’s A Choice

Whether you fashion yourself one of those creative types who believe they do their best work in the last minute, the analytic and scientific core academic demands of nursing or medical school are less accommodating. Truth is, it’s better to leave the “pull it out of your hat at the last minute” strategies to rock stars and reporters.

While creativity and innovative thinking are appreciable strengths in any field, the rigorous academic demands of nursing and medical school will require first and foremost your mastery of time management. The professional and ethical qualifications and academic mastery required for entry into a medical discipline cannot be achieved in a series of “all nighters”.

Besides, the evidence is clear that no matter your profession the negative side effects of procrastination — increased stress, inattention to detail and, by-and-large, work that is beneath one’s capabilities — will outweigh and overshadow any perceived benefits of the “rush” in the long run.

Why We Procrastinate

Procrastination often boils down to a lack of prioritization; Our plates are so full we simply don’t know which project, assignment or personal demands to tend to first. Especially for students in nursing and medical school, family, career demands and internships often compete for a share of a student’s limited time.

For some, an in depth inventory of the personal factors contributing to chronic procrastination — a procrastination profile — may aid in identifying the issues underlying the decision to “put off today what can be done tomorrow”.

Procrastination Profile

Here are some questions chronic procrastinators should ask themselves:

  • Does the process of organization — the thinking, prioritizing, planning and acting in accordance with these plans prove difficult? (People with A.D.D./A.D.H.D. may fall into this category)
  • Do these tasks seem so overwhelming that even minimal efforts seem futile?
  • Do hostile feelings towards someone cause you to want to punish them by putting things off?
  • Does establishing a routine and schedule cause feelings of rebellion that leads to self-sabotaging your routine and schedule?

Prioritization — The Arch Enemy of Procrastination

Though not impossible to prioritize and procrastinate at the same time, prioritization raises the often unconscious urge to procrastinate to conscious level. Experts say this recognition is the first step toward breaking the habit.

This is where some tough decisions need to be made.

Indefinitely postponing the annual family trip to the beach or your weekly poker night with friends in order to concentrate on more pressing concerns (an overdue research paper for instance) is not easy at first.

However, by prioritizing, we put ourselves in a position of power and announce to the world “we” are in charge of our lives and how we run them. Employers, friends and, yes, even loved ones will (eventually) grow to respect this.

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