Why is it important that students avoid procrastination on assignments or long term projects?Why is it important that students avoid procrastination on assignments or long term projects?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Procrastination in school can become a bad habit that will continue to haunt a person after graduation. One of the main reasons for giving long-term assignments in school is to teach young people to do things properly and to do them on time, so that they will be conditioned to do the same when they are out in the work world where procrastination can be very serious.

Procrastination almost invariably leads to doing rush-rush jobs at the last minute, and this kind of product is obviously going to be inferior. If a person does second- or third-rate work on the job, it will result in being passed over for promotion or even being fired. Procrastination is a normal human tendency. Here is what one of the greatest and most influential English writers, Dr. Samuel Johnson, had to say on the subject of writing, which he called “composition.”

Composition is, for the most part, an effort of slow diligence and steady perseverance, to which the mind is dragged by necessity or resolution, and from which the attention is every moment starting to more delightful amusements.

I was a procrastinator myself in high school and college. I now believe in the reward system to cope with this human weakness. You make a bargain with yourself that if you do X amount of work for X amount of time, then you will reward yourself with X amount of time to goof off in any way you like. Psychologists have proved that people can be conditioned with rewards; and you can condition yourself with rewards. Break big jobs up into little pieces. Divide and conquer. Little strokes fell great oaks. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. 

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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I think mnbv1234511 answered your question in a nutshell!  You know what, though?  There is no harm in taking a LONG break in the middle of a long-term project.  I would suggest beginning almost immediately after receiving your assignment, ... wrap your brain around what you want to do, ... how you want to approach your goal, ... touch a bit of research.  Then allow your mind to work subconsciously over a series of days. Chances are, you will return to work with added vigor, ... knowing exactly what to approach next.  In this way, you will also avoid panic in the last days before the assignment is due.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The worst effect of procrastination in studies, and the greatest reason to avoid it, is that without procrastination, concepts can be more fully understood, researched, practiced, etc. Then learning is accomplished and your mind is further prepared at a higher level for further studies or for responsible employment. On the other hand, with procrastination, time and learning are robbed from you or sacrificed by you, though you may retain enough to get past an exam. Yet the knowledge that can train and develop your mind and thinking slides away from the your expert grasp leaving you always a novice--even in your field of training, study and work.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I agree with all other posters. When you procrastinate, the assignment or project will be hanging over you. Most people spend more time avoiding the assignment than they would actually doing it. But the most important reason to start early is that you can ask for help if you need it. If you wait until the last minute, it is often hard to get help. For example, you can ask questions on enotes as you go if you begin early. Although you usually will get an answer fast, asking early gives you a chance to take some time without feeling stressed. You can also ask your teachers, parents, or friends. Everyone will be more likely to help you if you ask early. You will also know how much help you need!
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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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If I had a nickel for every student who came up to me the day a project was due, after they have had a month to work on it, and told me about some technical problem they had: their computer crashed, the CD wouldn't burn, their printer was out of ink, they had to play a road game in Volleyball, etc.  All of these things may well be true, but if they had budgeted their time well the other three weeks instead of waiting until the last minute there would have been no problem or impact on their grade.

Projects that are rushed tend to be more poorly done, and most importantly, you learn less.  The ability to manage your time is also one of the most important skills you learn in high school.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The problem with procrastination is that it inhibits you from performing to your fullest potential. This is because the restraints of limited time and big expectations will block your affective filter and will not allow your thoughts to flow naturally. When you give yourself enough time to get to explore a topic fully you will feel comfortable enough to expand and extend your knowledge on the topic. You may even come up with things that nobody else is able to see! Yet, when you crunch your time you also set limits to your ideas and your natural ability to express yourself.

Procrastinating is no different than waking up late in the morning at will. It is like hitting that "snooze" button. When you finally wake up, you cannot enjoy the time to have a good breakfast, take a hot shower, maybe even surf the net for a bit and become comfortable enough to start your day. Instead, you have to rush through dressing, brushing, driving, etc.  In all, procrastinating does not help you do anything positive, but to rush, get stressed, and perform less than satisfactorily.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Procrastination causes you to do a worse job on your assignment and to have more stress than you would have if you had gotten to work earlier.

Students usually want good grades and they definitely want less stress.  In order to get these things, they should get an early start on their work.  They might end up doing a little more work than if they procrastinate, but they'll do better on the assignment and they won't have to panic at the last minute, trying to get things done.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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It is important to avoid procrastination on assignments and long term projects. To procrastinate means to put off the inevitable. No assignment or long term project can be done well at the last minute. There is simply too much work that needs to be done in order to do an assignment or long term project well.

If one procrastinates on an assignment or long term project, too much information will have to be left out. Waiting until the last minute will force one to put only minimum effort into the assignment. There is simply not enough time if one waits until the last minute.

Research of a topic takes time. Any assignment or project involving research will take a considerable amount of time. Research can not be thorough if one waits until the last minute.

Also, procrastination of an assignment will cause one to do a half-hearted job. To do an assignment well, one must take the necessary steps to ensure success. Planning of an assignment is a necessary part of the process. Sufficient time should be spent planning an assignment. While one may be able to write the assignment in a short amount of time, it will be obvious if not enough time is spent planning the assignment.

What do the experts have to say about your assignment. That question will take an enormous amount of time to answer. Procrastination leads to mediocre efforts because there is simply not enough time to do the job well.

Likewise, chronic procrastination is a sign of a serious psychological problem.

While it is normal for people to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning. Chronic procrastination may be a sign of an underlying psychological or physiological disorder.

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arrellbelle | Student, College Sophomore | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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As a student who loved to procrastinate in the past, it can really get the best of you. Sometimes you think that you got it and that you'll be able to complete the assignment with no problem, but little did you know that you'll encounter many difficulties and problems a long the way and the time just keeps on ticking. This usually just all adds to my stress and this is why I avoid procrastinating. 

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mnbv1234511 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) eNoter

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Because then you get late nights of homework (what i'm doing now) or you get a bad grade.

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