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Tip of the Week
Dealing with Procrastination
As the semester progresses and class pressures increase, procrastination becomes almost inevitable. Cavanagh relates procrastination to goal-setting and breaks it down to two main elements: Mood repair and poor affective forecasting (p. 170-172).

Just contemplating getting started on tasks that seem uninteresting or too complex can put students in an anxious mood which they seek to repair with various distractions that offer more immediate satisfaction. One way to alter this tendency in students is to counter anxiety with interest and assign more engaging homework and readings. This sounds nice, but will not always work for all students. Another strategy is to consider how you design content sequencing and due dates. Whenever possible, break long lectures and readings into component parts with clear connections. Create frequent deadlines for bigger projects. For example, have a thesis due one week, then an annotated bibliography, then drafts, all with plenty of feedback between.
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Poor affective forecasting means that students generally do not consider the anxiety they are creating for their future selves as they divert themselves with various mood repairs. Students, like most people, are not so great at estimating how much work they have and how long it will actually take to complete. One way to work against this is with a technique Cavanagh discusses called implementation intentions . These are if-then statements attached to a specific goal. The idea is to associate concrete goals with specific behavioral intentions. For example, "If it is Monday morning at 9:15, then I will have a granola bar for breakfast and then walk to class."

Cavanagh cites a study by Webb and colleagues who recommend "taking a few moments at the start of the semester asking students to set implementation intentions surrounding class attendance -- the where , when , and how of it. In addition to being a useful way for instructor to maximize student attendance in their specific course, implementation intentions may be a useful tool in any workshops for student on academic probation or who have been identified at admission as being high risk for low performance or dropping out" (p.177).

Let us know how you help students (and yourself!) avoid too much procrastination.
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Cavanagh, S. (2016).  The spark of learning : Energizing the college classroom with the science of emotion . Morgantown: West Virginia University Press.