Video Assignment: The Procrastination System

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The Procrastination System



Type: TED Talk

Topic(s): procrastination, writing, completing projects

Search Terms: TED Talk Tim Urban Master Procrastinator

Video Title: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Time (of video): 14:02

Posted by: TED

Date Posted: April 6, 2016


Video description: Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn't make sense, but he's never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window -- and encourages us to think harder about what we're really procrastinating on, before we run out of time.


Question/writing prompts to discuss or paste into discussion board/Video Tools: Do the concepts of the Instant Gratification Monkey, Rational Decision-Maker, and Panic Monster feel familiar to you? How do you deal with them? Describe a time when you procrastinated on a big project. Was there a deadline, and if so, did you meet it? If there wasn't a deadline, have you finished it?


In-class activities:

1. Have students write down three key points or concepts that stood out to them.

2. Have the students write a short (250-300 word) letter to their fellow students giving them advice for overcoming procrastination. They don’t need to use the exact terms from Tim’s TED Talk, but do need to explain why procrastination is a problem and how to overcome it. Have the students share their letters with each other.

3. Have students write down a list of tasks they would like to accomplish that don't have deadlines. Then, have them partner up and pick a few tasks that they would like their partner to help them accomplish. Invite students to check back with each other on a weekly or monthly basis to help each other through their procrastinating tendencies.


Source: This assignment has been adapted from a class activity from the Instructor's Manual of Paul Gore's Connections, Second Edition. Check back there for more class activities, video assignments, and more!