How Education Encourages Procrastination — Is It Really That Bad?

We need more creative geniuses.

Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD
4 min readSep 15


Photo courtesy of author

“How was your day?”

I try to avoid this question as much as possible. There may be no wrong questions, but some are more depressing and frustrating than others. And “How was your day?” is definitely one of them.

The answer to the question makes clear that every day is a battle with procrastination. It makes me realize how much time I lose dealing with “administrative stuff” that distracts, drains my energy, and prevents me from being creative.

Take this week. I had to complete an online refreshment training, write a self-assessment, review a self-assessment report for an academic program, give input on an “examination content” evaluation, fill out an employee satisfaction survey, discuss the results of a survey, and, ironically, complete a questionnaire on how to reduce the workload.

And I get it. Quality assurance. Supervision. Reflection. Training. They are all essential to uphold excellence and professionalism. They provide input for improvements.

But, over the years, these check-and-balance mechanisms have become over-organized and out-of-control at the expense of productivity. The time. The process. The people. They have slowly but surely become an excuse to delay the more critical activities that matter to me.

Procrastination is embedded in work and life. I hate it and do everything I can not to give in. But the battle is difficult and has become an important cause of procrastination itself. Procrastination is one of society’s biggest problems, which we cannot solve easily.

We Teach Procrastination

Society has fallen in love with procrastination.

And not because we tend to be lazy. The opposite. We want to be busy — or be kept busy with “essential” work without being creative and innovative. We love refreshment and assessment tools, forms, reports, meetings, and discussions. They make us feel engaged, committed, and important without the need to change anything. We can continue to wake up, go to work, have lunch, work again in the afternoon, and go home.



Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD

Prof (law) exploring the collision of life, work, and technology, with a current project in the works - a sci-fi novel.