Why do you procrastinate?

November 23, 2020


As a teacher it can be a challenge to keep up with all of the work you have to do. Deadlines for checking papers, lessons to prepare, students to discuss, parents to meet and so on.

You might even find yourself doing something you were not actually supposed to be doing.
This is called procrastination. And everyone does this. B
ut why do you procrastinate? And what can you do about it?

Estimated time to read this article: 4 minutes

How procrastination effects everyone, including me

This week I was working on my online CLIL roadmap, my new product to be launched somewhere next year.

This requires videos, presentations, practical activities etc.

You know: a lot of work.

Which I don't mind at all (it is a lot of fun to do!), but sometimes it is just slightly easier to do the less challenging stuff.

For example:

  • Working on the design of my new website
  • Read my mail
  • Have a look at the news

(Don't worry, I am not the kind of person who starts looking for cat-related videos on YouTube).

And after I have spent some time doing, well, nothing... I feel a bad because I did not do what I wanted to do.

There is a nice word for that: procrastinating.

You have probably heard of it. Not something that applies to your, right?

For those of you who have friends who might sometimes procrastinate...

..I wanted to quickly share something I recently heard that might help your friends. ;).

It is called the DUST model, created by Graham Allcott.

Key Take Away

Procrastination is what you do when you know you need to do something, but you don't do it.

The different ways to procrastinate.

(Or better: do something about it)

It works like this:

D stands for Difficult: 

Tasks that seem to challenging because of a lack of confidence, lack of skills, or both. The solution provided is to clearly define the first task, make this as small as possible, commit to it and do it.

U stands for Unclear: 

Tasks that are not clearly defined. For example: vague one-word to-do's on our to-do list meaning you still have to come up with the actual task. The solution provided: make the task more detailed and break it down into simple, actionable, clearly defined items.

S stands for Scary: 

Tasks that seem daunting, because of a fear of failure. The brain is designed in to keep us safe and keep us in our 'comfort zone'. The solution? Create an even bigger fear (announce a deadline publicly) or embrace your fears.

T stands for Tedious: 

Tasks that are boring. Like checking tests (or am I the only one who thinks that is not fun at all?). The solution Graham shares is to change the environment, because changing the tasks is often not possible, unless you delegate it. (Any interns available? ;)). For example: listen to music or create a reward for yourself.

This model helps me personally whenever I noticed I am procrastinating to identify why it happens. This realisation is often enough to get me back on track.

Key Take Away

Using the DUST model, you can determine the reason why you procrastinate.

Do your students procrastinate?

In my opinion, this also applies to your students.

Whenever they do not do what they should do, ask yourself if any of these keywords apply and they might be procrastinating without even realising it.

It might have to do with setting clear tasks.

If the task is unclear for example, students might not even start.

What about you?

Do you (or a friend) recognise this? Does this model make sense?

Let me know in the comments below!

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