Featured Article: “Procrastinate Much? Manage Your Emotions, Not Your Time.” by Adam Grant
Procrastination is something most of us have dealt with at one time or another, whether it’s waiting until the last minute to turn in an assignment or finding ways to get out of doing chores around the house. But contrary to popular belief, procrastination “isn’t about avoiding work; it’s about avoiding negative emotions,” Adam Grant writes.
In this lesson, you’ll learn the real reasons we put off work, as well as strategies for overcoming them. Then you’ll consider how to apply this advice to your life and share it with other teenagers.
Take a minute to study the illustration at the top of this lesson. What thoughts, feelings or memories come to mind when you look at it? What do you think its message is? Can you relate to it personally in any way? How do you think it relates to procrastination?
Now, consider this selection from today’s featured article:
The psychologists Timothy Pychyl and Fuschia Sirois have discovered that procrastination isn’t about avoiding work; it’s about avoiding negative emotions. We procrastinate when a task stirs up feelings like anxiety, confusion or boredom. And although it makes us feel better today, we end up feeling worse — and falling behind — tomorrow.
How does this statement add to your understanding of the illustration? Are you a procrastinator? Write about a time when this image and statement have applied to your life.
Questions for Writing and Discussion
Read the article, then answer the following questions:
1. How does Mr. Grant draw you into the article with the anecdote about Douglas Adams?
2. What role do emotions play in procrastination according to the psychologists Timothy Pychyl and Fuschia Sirois?
3. What are three ways people can manage their emotions to procrastinate less?
4. Think about your own procrastination habits. Which of these three suggestions would be most helpful for you? Why?
5. “Procrastination is not a disease that can be permanently cured — it’s a challenge we all have to manage,” Mr. Grant writes. What does he mean by that?
6. Mr. Grant ends by returning to Mr. Adams’s story. What can we learn about procrastination from this anecdote?
Imagine you wanted to share some tips on managing procrastination with other teenagers. Design a poster that you could hang in your classroom or a series of posts you could share on social media with advice from the article.
Remember to consider your audience in your designs: What do teenagers specifically procrastinate about? What do they need to help them overcome it? What kind of language, images and graphics will grab their attention? What kind of tone will they respond to? Humor, irony, sincerity, surprise? Incorporate all this in your design.
If you have more time …
Use Canva or another design program to produce your designs. Use open-source images or create graphics that help get your point across. Be sure to cite all the sources you use. Then share what you made via social media or with peers at your school.