One of the most common student-related behaviours found in higher education is that of procrastination. Through my research at a sample of students at Birkbeck University of London, I’ve found that the problem with procrastination is not the behaviour itself; it’s the lack of self-control that is had around this type of behaviour. This view is heavily supported by current research in the field of self-control in the psychological sciences literature.

In this context, self-control means the regulation of one’s own behaviour, thoughts and emotions, in line with whatever goal one is working towards the achievement of. Procrastination in and of itself isn’t bad at all! What do I mean by this? Well, if you think about it, there are probably plenty of behaviours that a person should put off and never get around to doing.. if a smoker procrastinates smoking their next cigarette in order to quit, then that’s a great thing! Or putting off the eating of that cream cake might also be a useful thing to do! So, in this vein, maybe the reason people find it so hard to solve the riddle of procrastination, is down to the refusal to notice who is doing the behaviour in the first place, whilst using the excuse of a natural behaviour that is actually rather useful, in order to cover up some underlying reason that is the real motivation behind not achieving whatever it is that isn’t being achieved.

From my research in this area, I’ve found that the typical reasons that people put things off are quite obvious and simple

  • Don’t want to do it

  • Doing it feels like giving in to authority

  • Awful sense of time

  • Performing under pressure is all they know, so they replicate it again and again

So, instead of worrying about procrastination or wondering why you do it.. chill out, recognise that you just don’t want to do whatever it is and own it.. it doesn’t belong to anyone else.. and then make a decision about how badly you want the goal.


Darren Shaw

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s