One of the best ways to combat procrastination is to develop a more realistic understanding of time. Procrastinators’ views of time tend to be fairly unrealistic.
“This paper is only going to take me about five hours to write,” you think. “Therefore, I don’t need to start on it until the night before.”
What you may be forgetting, however, is that our time is often filled with more activities than we realize.
On the night in question, for instance, let’s say you go to the gym at 4:45 p.m. You work out (1 hour), take a shower and dress (30 minutes), eat dinner (45 minutes), and go to a sorority meeting (1 hour). By the time you get back to your dorm room to begin work on the paper, it is already 8:00 p.m. But now you need to check your email and return a couple of phone calls. It’s 8:30 p.m. before you finally sit down to write the paper. If the paper does indeed take five hours to write, you will be up until 1:30 in the morning—and that doesn’t include the time that you will inevitably spend watching TV.
And, as it turns out, it takes about five hours to write a first draft of the essay. You have forgotten to allow time for revision, editing, and proofreading. You get the paper done and turn it in the next morning. But you know it isn’t your best work, and you are pretty tired from the late night, and so you make yourself a promise: “Next time, I’ll start early!”