Procrastinate to One's Detriment

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Who has time to implement all these marketing strategies discussed in the previous weeks’ Tips? Well, someone shrewd enough in business and clinical practice had better do so. And those more likely to do so are those who are better time managers. Perhaps in opposition to effective time management is the “art” of procrastination. Procrastination reflects unnecessary delays and dilatory behaviors that are most often considered a misuse of time that ultimately limits performance and impedes individuals’ ability to reach their goals. The true relationship between effective time management and procrastination really had not been studied to a great extent. Could it be that procrastinators are managing their time effectively?

Wolters et al sought to shed more light on the relationship between time management and procrastination.1 In their study, college students completed a survey that assessed motivational and strategic aspects of self-regulated learning. It asked of students their level of interest in courses currently being taken, their self-efficacy to study and complete class activities; their use of metacognitive learning strategies for planning and monitoring their study activities; motivational strategies to keep themselves engaged; goals and mechanics for organization (time management); and procrastination, or tendency to postpone work in spite of previous intentions to complete it. The use of metacogntive strategies and greater self-efficacy was negatively associated with procrastination. Incorporating time management made their analysis (regression equation) even a more powerful predictor of procrastination. The findings suggest that academic time management is an important predictor of self-regulated learning and can be helpful in predicting procrastination.

While helpful for students (and instructors), the results of the study have implications for everyone, including pharmacists and pharmacy managers. There is indeed an inverse relationship between effective time management and procrastination. However, it might not necessarily be the case where people who procrastinate are ineffective time managers. Those who are ineffective time managers might choose to procrastinate because they are ineffective at time management, or in other words, that procrastination makes them more “comfortable”. Thus poor time management adversely affects self-regulated behaviors, possibly of all types, which would include performing tasks and activities necessary to succeed. Effective time management can make the difference between a successful pharmacist and an unsuccessful one.

Additional information about Time Management/Organizational Skills can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

1Wolters CA, Won S, Hussain M. Examining the relations of time management and procrastination within a model of self-regulated learning. Metacognition Learning. 2017;12:381-399.

Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California

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Go to the profile of Shane Desselle
4 months ago

Some argue that they “work better under pressure” as an excuse to procrastinate. The evidence is against them. What do you think?