Procrastination as a Tool: Exploring Unconventional Components of Academic Success


Academic procrastination has often been attributed to a fear or avoidance response and elicits negative connotations with both educators and students. Such negative attitudes toward the act of procrastination may result in increased stress for students who procrastinate. However, is this always an appropriate assumption or is procrastination sometimes used as a tool when completing familiar tasks in an advanced educational setting? The current study examines procrastination behaviors of 123 graduate level students currently enrolled across 11 US universities within 20 fields of study. Data collected via self-report questionnaire showed significant relationships between increased academic procrastination and high grade outcomes, when both high levels of familiarity with the testing medium and low levels of fear were present. These data suggest that for settings where the testing medium no longer elicits an acceptable level of fear required for optimal performance, as per the Yerkes-Dodson Law of Arousal, some students may use procrastination to increase arousal. With greater understanding and acceptance of this possibility, students may avoid additional stress associated with non-acceptance of procrastination, which might result in stress levels that are too high and lead to task failure. Additionally, educators who identify this trait in their students may help by creating strategies to aid in this style of task completion.

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Demeter, D. & Davis, S. (2013). Procrastination as a Tool: Exploring Unconventional Components of Academic Success. Creative Education, 4, 144-149. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.47A2018.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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