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I'll Do It, Later

By Yuan Yuan (Beijing Review)

10:02, May 24, 2012

MISSING THE DEADLINE: Fighting procrastination is a race against time(Yang Hongxun)

China's netizens find a novel way to cope with chronic procrastination

Zhao Yixin never thought she was actually suffering from a disease. She hadn't even come across the word—procrastination.

As a senior student at Beijing Union University, Zhao has been researching and writing her graduate essay for almost half a year but hasn't succeeded in finishing even half of it.

"I know I always put off tasks so I started earlier than other students," Zhao said. "But I still haven't managed to finish it while most of my classmates already completed the essay."

Zhao said that her habit of putting off tasks can be dated back to primary school years, when she didn't want to do her homework and always put it off to late night. "I sat at the desk all the time but my mind couldn't concentrate," Zhao said. "I kept making promises to myself that I'll do the homework in 10 minutes, but after many 10 minutes, I still couldn't start. I don't think I am the only one in my class acting like this. It seems that we are all like this when we chat about our homework."

Zhao didn't take this seriously until she joined a group called We Are All Suffering From Procrastination on Douban.com, a popular social networking website among young Chinese people. "One of my college classmates recommended this website to me and I was surprised to find it was actually a disease," she said.

A common disease

According to a survey by 163.com, one of China's leading Web portals, in 2011 more than 70 percent of Chinese people admitted that they have the symptoms of procrastination, such as always putting off tasks to the next day and surfing on the Internet or chatting online when they should be working.

"Everybody has such problems. For most people, it is just a bad habit," said He Xiefeng, a psychologist in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. "But if you always feel guilty and deny yourself due to this, it has developed into a disease that can strongly affect people's life and work."

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