We are all guilty of this at some point. We keep pushing schoolwork off, dreading the actual labor of getting an assignment done. We polled 26 SJU students and 16 said that they waited until the last minute to study. Most of us are guilty of this.

Poll from SJU students

Some of us make excuses. Saying that we do our best work at the last minute. Science says this is not true. Case Western Reserve University did a study and found that students who procrastinated had higher stress levels, got sick more often, and preformed worse than students who prepared days in advance.

Why do we procrastinate? What causes us to want to push things off until the last minute? The answer is the makeup of our brain.

The limbic system in your brain is what drives you. It wants you to do things that are pleasurable. The prefrontal cortex is the decision making section of your brain. The problem comes from the prefrontal cortex, it doesn’t make us do work automatically. It takes mental effort to get us to get a job done. If somebody was to lose focus on their task, the limbic system would take over and try to guide that person into doing something more pleasurable.

In short when you get distracted by something that is interesting to you, your brain prioritizes that over the task at hand.

So, a way to avoid procrastinating is to put yourself in the environment with the least distractions, whether it be the library or your dorm. As long as your main focus can be on the task at hand, your brain will work towards getting it done. This may mean isolating yourself or disconnecting from Wi-Fi but that is what it takes to get work done.

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