Procrastination, A millennial Problem!

Have you ever set up your mind, and sat down to complete an important task and suddenly realized you are mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Twitter or lost in the Bermuda triangle of time in Netflix-Hotstar-Amazon prime? Or perhaps you suddenly realized, your hard disk needs to be
formatted, your surroundings need to be dusted or your clutter needs to be organised? Next thing you realize, the day has already ended and your important work remains unfinished. You try to reason with yourself. Often you tell yourself, “let’s wake up, let’s complete the task today” but still you think
why you cannot get the mundane stuff done.

If yes, welcome! You are not alone. You are a perfect example of a millennials problem.


What is procrastinating?

It is the intentional delaying of starting and finishing a work, despite being aware of all the negative consequences. Some view procrastination is simply a time management problem. But various literature draws conclusion that the underlying cause of procrastination cannot be easily put under a single statement-“unable to manage time”.

From psychological perspective, procrastinators instinctively show avoidance behaviour to seek pleasure biologically and psychologically by delaying stressful task to feel less anxiety. It is a kind of coping mechanism that has gone awry to make one feel temporarily good as it is employed to witness
less stress associated in delaying intended work.

Procrastinator lives in denial and often trivializes the important work by making another work more important for completion. They cope by preventing creation of awareness of the task in their mind by getting distracted frequently and indulging in some other activities which bring them instant gratification. This is the main reason for millennials, why the culture of reading books has been drastically declined and snippets of video of leading social media like Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok have triumphantly taken places of books. This one click away instant entertainment and gratification
has made millennials to have short attention span of a teaspoon. Moreover procrastinators often rationalize their behaviours by playing blame game like they couldn’t able to finished the assigned task due to some other external factors which they are unable to control.

Once the reality of a deadline sets and bite in the end, procrastinators succumb to extreme mortification and guilt leading to anxiety attack. This may also lead the procrastinator to enter into a vicious cycle of escapism as these negative feelings and anxiety make them to put the completion of
the task on hold for coping.

As a college professor, I have experienced that for students the bulk of the academics work is completed in a few sleepless nights before each due date. It has become a fad for the millennials to complete their syllabus in few sleepless nights before examinations. This leads to submission of
mediocre work or plea for extensions of due dates.

How to be productive again?

Make yourself free from distraction:

Make sure to surround yourself to be in “do not disturb” zone. Put aside your gadgets so that they are out of your reach. Make your work station to be completely distraction-proof.

Make short term goals: 

I have witnessed that in order to get back to productive phase, many students makes an elaborate and long term list of goals to make themselves content for the time being. But it often leads to incompletion of the task resulting in loss of enthusiasm and confidence. The goals set need to be realistic and specific. It is very essential to make daily attainable goals rather than weekly or monthly so, that your long lost confidence can be reclaimed. You feel a sense of accomplishment that makes you more motivated to get the next task done.

Reward yourself

It is very essential to reward yourself for task accomplishment or goal achievement. Each time you complete a task, reward yourself with few minutes of free time or any other activities that brings
you pleasure. Science says for doing a particular behaviour, our brain triggers release of a “happy hormone” a pleasure neurotransmitter called Dopamine. So we often associate pleasure with that particular behaviour.

Make this a habit

I have often witnessed students tend to study 5 days at a stretch with only essential needs to be done in between and for the next 10 days, they procrastinate often masking this behaviour as a reward for relaxation time. This often leads to be again caught up in the vicious circle of escapism and procrastination. So it is very essential that the goals set needs to be realistic enough to fit in to the daily life without compromising healthy lifestyle and missing out all other fun and activities.


Gallagher, Robert P.; Golin, Anne; Kelleher, Kathleen (1992). “The Personal, Career, and Learning Skills Needs of College Students”. Journal of College Student Development.

Steel, Piers (2010). The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting
Stuff Done. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0061703621


Prof. Paulami Das Choudhury,
Department of Civil Engineering,
University of Engineering & Management (UEM), Jaipur.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *