I'm a Masters student and graduating in two weeks. I need to admit that I procrastinated A LOT while working on my thesis. If I do my Ph.D. I expect myself to procrastinate a lot there too. However, I'm wondering if this habit vanishes as the individual gets more senior in academia. So maybe as the person gets more senior in academia, they learn to handle this habit better.

My questions:

  1. Is true that the more senior you become, the more you are able to handle this bad habit?

  2. Do professors procrastinate too?

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    You don't just magically grow out of procrastination. You have to resolve it one way or another. – Compass Mar 11 '15 at 21:04
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    You know, professors are human beings, and they do anything human beings do - for the good and the bad. Once I was shopping in a supermarket, when I run into one of my students. He looked definitely astonished.The next week he went to take the exam and told me: "Yes, at the beginning I was really surprised, but then I thought: oh, they have to eat too, after all". So professors eat, drink, have good habits, bad habits - they can cheat, plagiarize, harass people etc. - and, yes, they do procrastinate. – Massimo Ortolano Mar 11 '15 at 21:31
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    Let me come back to give a more thoughtful comment later... – Penguin_Knight Mar 11 '15 at 22:09
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    academia.stackexchange is probably a pretty darn good example of professors procrastinating (but it is also really useful to all of us) – WetlabStudent Mar 11 '15 at 22:50
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    I was going to leave the same comment that @Penguin_Knight left, but I guess I waited too long to make the joke first. – JeffE Mar 12 '15 at 4:14
  1. No. I think that procrastination is a lifetime problem. I'm doing it right now, and while not a professor, I'm a senior researcher at a university.

  2. Yes. Everyone procrastinates.

I suppose that some people manage to never procrastinate, but my brain doesn't work that way. Don't worry, it's normal.

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    The trick is learning to manage your procrastination -- limit it, and/or spend that time doing something elsebthat needs doing. I deliberately made getting to SE more difficult to limit how much time i spend here... – keshlam Mar 11 '15 at 23:36
  • Never knew this about you, @bill. But watch me do the same as I write this! ;-) – Wolfgang Bangerth Mar 12 '15 at 1:06
  • @WolfgangBangerth, I tend to do almost everything at the very last minute. This is not good for my health, but sometimes it produces my best work! – Bill Barth Mar 12 '15 at 1:07
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    @BillBarth, I think a lot of us are in that boat :-) – Wolfgang Bangerth Mar 12 '15 at 15:06

(1) No and (2) Yes.

Evidence to support both claims is the fact that I am a professor and I am writing this answer to you as a way of procrastinating from writing two syllabuses, several research papers, and a grant application.

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    Dammit, you stole my answer! And probably the answer of a lot of us on this site... it's just that here I feel like my procrastination is more productive overall. – jakebeal Mar 12 '15 at 1:24
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    @jakebeal I think many of us apply the same self excuse. – Davidmh Mar 12 '15 at 23:42

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