Wednesday, 1 May 2013

It's good to keep in touch............Don't Procrastinate!



Procrastination - a fancy word to describe the condition of people who chronically postpone and put off things they know they should be doing – procrastinators in other words.

Procrastination is now a respectable subject for psychological study.  Believe it or not, there is actually an international conference run on procrastination  (I know what you're thinking, but no, it ran on schedule).  Apparently students are particularly prone to it because learning is often self-scheduled, performed alone and to exacting standards, all factors that enhance people's tendency to put things off – especially when working on creative subjects.  Most students (and tutors!) succumb occasionally. 

Oddly it seems to affect more gifted students. Procrastinators are sometimes perfectionists, putting work off because conditions aren't exactly right or assignments aren't as good as possible. Sound familiar?  And it can be difficult to overcome - in other words if you suffer then you've probably got it for life.

But there may be ways of managing it; realistic goal setting, planning, 'making a molehill out of a mountain' (breaking down a big task into a set of smaller ones), working out why you procrastinate (perfectionism, fear of failure, disappointing others and so on) and seeking help. Linking up with another student can help to keep you both on schedule. 

We sometimes hear from students who seem to have procrastinated for too long and lose all impetus to continue.  We'd like to hear from more so that we can help put them back on track and to this end, we're presently putting in place a much closer monitoring/contact support scheme for students who are just starting out on a course(nearly 50% of dropout occurs during the first module) as well as some less frequent but ongoing contacts when we haven't heard from someone for a while...............all this adds up to much more work for us, but also hopefully a better supported course experience for our students.  Any ideas on how to pair up people with course buddies would be appreciated..............bearing in mind the data protection limitations.

6 comments:

  1. I am thrilled to see that I must be a "gifted" student!! Procrastination being a well understood phenomena in my life :-( But actually I really think that it is caused by a fear of failure. I have found that the best way round the problem is to gather one or two people whose work and opinion I really respect and consult with them.

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  2. I would love to be buddied up am happy for you to give my details to a fellow student, would our permission to do this not be enough? When does giving something some thought become procrastination, I know that having to wait to do some of my course work because of my day job has actually given me time to think about things which I would not have had in a faster pace of the classroom, however it would be nice to chat with someone about how they are doing things because ideas do get bounced around. look forward to hearing more about this. Mary

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  3. I think I must be gifted too, Elizabeth!! Chatting this through in the office today (not for the first time) and wondering how best to 'pair' people up? Do we make the decision and then find that people don't necessarily like each other or get on well? Do we issue a list of people who are willing to be contacted and let them speak to each other first? Any thoughts/preferences would be appreciated.............

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    1. How about pairing people up for a limited time? Say two or three months, and then let them decide if they want to continue with someone new or different? Or maybe you just need to push procrastination to one side in the interests of starting somewhere? No system will be perfect.....and if it doesnt work - try a new system. Or delegate - preferably not to someone who procrastinates!! :-) Im starting to sound bossy now. Must be lunchtime.

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    2. Or... how about a Diploma student mentoring a Certificate student who lives nearby, and then linking the Diploma mentors together somehow. I thought that the 'pay-off' for the Diploma students would be that they got to see how far they'd come (good for their confidence, and that ought to further enthuse them to get cracking with their own work) and good for the Certificate student who got access to a bigger picture (and hopefully generous sharing of resources) and got enthusiasm and praise from someone who knows a bit about the fabric art world (which their nearest and dearest may not!!)

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  4. What a wonderful idea. I like Virginia's suggestion. Studying online overseas can feel quite lonely and sometimes I feel I'm losing my way. To able to bounce ideas and share concerns when you hit a wall with someone who understands what you're talking about would be fantastic.
    I'm more than happy to be buddied up to give support as well as request it :) count me in :)

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