• Ar. Stephanie L.P. Chan

Procrastination is not an agenda for Architecture Students

As a student in Architecture school we get familiar with designing various buildings, some concepts are to our liking and some are not quite there. When you receive a concept that you are not interested you tend to delay your work. This is the biggest setback. It is proven when one day you’re given a deadline to finish a project to which the deadline is actually enough for you to complete it. Then the next thing you know, you are left with several days to complete it and you barely pass satisfactory level. This delay is commonly known as Procrastination.

What is procrastination?

To some, procrastination is some sort of laziness or ignorance. Most psychologists see procrastination as a behavior that attributes to almost everyone regardless. Psychologists define procrastination as, when one avoids an important task to do something else – more laid back and entertaining. For most people, procrastination has left them in serious deprivation from failure in school or work to physical disturbances.

Have you ever been in those situations where you are given a task by your instructor to complete a task of a project in a given deadline. One day you realize the deadline is nearing but you keep on saying to yourself you don’t have the ‘mood’ to do so?

There are many factors that triggers procrastination, our changes in mood is also one of the factors. Emotion plays a huge part in procrastination. We don’t always feel good all the time whether we like it or not the task must be done before the deadline approaches.

Among us, perfectionists are likely to procrastinate. This is because they care more in quality of the work over tackling the task making sure it is faultless and completed before the deadline. On Dan Lok’s video about procrastination, he implies that “You don’t get to quality before quantity.” Referring back to architecture, when you design the first draft will never be perfect, there will always be flaws until you reach a certain quantity of re-do, you then found quality in it.

Another emotion factor that triggers procrastination is guilt, once you procrastinate you often feel guilt towards the deadline. Thus, lowers self-esteem and you tend to do the second time.

Procrastinators can be classified into various classifications. One is the Arousal procrastinator, where one seeks the euphoria in last minute work. Second is the Avoider procrastinator, the one who avoids task because of fear - fear of failure or rejection. Third is Decisional procrastinator, one who are indecisive on which task to prioritize, resulting in neglected task. Certain procrastination is useless like reading celebrity gossip articles. Some accomplish useful tasks for the future but is actually unimportant at the moment. For instance, doing laundry.

‘It’s better to prevent than to cure’ quoted by Desiderius Erasmus. Procrastination can be prevented at a young age. Parents play a huge role in shaping their little ones in order to avoid such habit. They should teach their child emotion-management. Parents need to be aware that your mood does not determine your progression. There’s no 'feeling like it', you just have to do the task. Once this is practiced at a young age it becomes a habit and affects the future positively.

However, when you have the habit of procrastination there are ways to reduce it and increase performance, but you have to be well prepared for change. Change can be done by following these three simple steps:

1. Knowledge – Gain knowledge of tasks being done

2. Being – Be the person before you do it. For example, in order to be successful, adapt the attitude of a successful person.

3. Doing – Start doing task the assigned.

Most people will pass step one and two. However, they often get stuck on Step Three- Doing. It is usually the hardest part for people weather they realize it or not, when getting started with a certain project we generally get excited from the proposed idea and the expected result. In the process of accomplishing the project we tend to come across some difficulties weather in drafting, sketching, ideas even planning. When there are excessive difficulties we are prone to be demotivated and some just stops. This is not the solution, in order to get things done we have to keep going and transform. At some point these difficulties are caused by our Inner Critic or self-conflicts.

Have you ever been in those situations where, you are given an assignment to which you are asked to design a house for instance. Then when you have proposed a design, your instructor bluntly rejected your design multiple time and one day when you designed another proposal you start to question yourself whether it is good enough, to which you end up delaying your job and do something else?

The moment when you start to question, that is your inner self criticizing. Your inner critic plays a big part in procrastination. When we start to believe in our inner critique it starts to block what we wanted to achieve. In order to move on don’t debate on your inner critique. Be brave because once it shuts down you will gain focus and productivity.

To conclude, on a day to day activity procrastination will always be on the back of our head. Despite it being one of the cause for lack of success, procrastination can be avoided and prevented. Set a goal to accomplish everyday even if it’s as simple as folding your blanket early in the morning as long as you boost up your self-esteem, so you increase productivity. The key to staying focus is to first eliminate the cause of your distraction, which is your inner critic. For architecture student’s, your inner critic is always a reason why you procrastinate. Rejection of design, frequent re-do and blunt feedback that they take personally always triggers your inner critic.

As a student of Design and Draughting, I always tell myself

"Eliminate problems, don’t dwell on it as it will never solve itself”

By Nuramalina Dali

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