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
. 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
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.