Know What’s Inside the Head of a Procrastinated Mind
Why you do it? Ways to reduce it.
Procrastination is easy. Like, give a thought. And there it clicks!
From the minute you sit idle to the moments of delusions, procrastination doesn’t let you be in your own space.
Procrastination comes in handy in my case. Be it the moments when works break free, during the study hours, say even a walk in a park, or in carrying out errands; procrastination seems to march headstrong in my life. I wonder the procrastinated spirits share such a loyal companionship.
With that, procrastination with such a firm base outlines a complicated life. By beginning as a highly prejudiced thought, procrastination dismantles an individual’s life, leaving their paths directionless and puzzled.
Procrastination creates space for —
- Pending up of things
- Piling up of projects
- Delays in overcoming the past
- Instills future-related fears
- Make room for denials and deteriorates self-growth.
And once things start getting delayed, it compounds at multiple stages. Not only the work aspects get affected but health, relationships also turn sour.
Studies report procrastination is widespread. In fact, eighty-seven percent of high school students mentioned that they procrastinate on assignments. The number surges up to eighty-eight percent in college groups.
Thoughts in the procrastinated state keep bouncing back. It creates room for overthinking. People also experience symptoms of anxiety, stress, boredom, conditions like oversleeping or sleeplessness, overeating, or not eating at all.
With that, procrastination isn’t gender-biased. On many occasions, each one of us overthinks — either out of pleasure or displeasure. Hence, burdening yourself as the sole victim of procrastination least makes sense. We must remember, non-procrastination doesn’t exist at all.
As we know that, an unchallenging life depicts an ideal form of existence. To lie in an ideological state isn’t applicable in the real-world scenario. Neither can any one of us become an ideal version of ourselves. We are humans. And humans are non-perfect individuals.
We differ in different peripheries of our growth. In regards to procrastination, we share a bit of similarity. What differs is their intensities.
Implications of procrastination
Procrastination is a common human experience that manifolds as a complex base with advancing stages. It’s a psychological phenomenon that ignites psychological distresses with significant impacts on human health.
The reason? Because of the acts that we carry out in the delaying things, putting things on hold, our lack of persistence, low self-efficacy, irrational beliefs, over-dependence, negative biases, future-shocks, helplessness, eventually, that creates unhealthy survival patterns in our physical and psychological realm.
Generally, procrastination is an act to avoid doing the tasks needed to get accomplished as per the specific deadline. It could be characterized as the habitual or intentional delay of work or other chores despite knowing that it may fuel negative consequences.
If the denial period in completing the tasks seeks increment, the outcome gains far more complications. Here, rushing things isn’t the solution, but a time-based approach in carrying out tasks is what makes the difference.
If the start remains on time, it becomes far easier to complete the tasks at the extreme stages. Piling up of things towards the last moments increases the resistance in completing the tasks, eventually turning things difficult.
Rightly said in the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
When carrying out tasks related to subjective assignments, at most times, I experienced a smooth start. No hints of procrastination and zero worries. However, the tasks came with deadlines. That caused the rush to get them complete as early as possible even way before the marked deadline.
Everyone faces such radiant beginnings at the start of anything in their life — whether it's a new job, different career, varied goals, relationships shared, or any other circumstances which leave us with a pumped-up spirit.
Despite inhabiting high spirits, as the assignment works of mine progressed, things start to get delayed because of my wavering thoughts.
I started overthinking every issue across the globe —
- Right from my project work
- To what’s going in the society
- To the environmental concerns
- To problems of unemployment, and
- To every minute little thing.
The response followed — procrastination piling up confusions, anxieties and stress. And where thoughts get tangled, growth in life takes a U-turn.
At such a critical stage, the panic monster in my mind got awakened, which set the deadline reminder. But things were already delayed than done. And the words of Leonardo da Vinci proved upright. The resistance, which might have been less at beginning of my task, became a concrete block at the end.
The thoughts regulate our minds; hence, the real question arises: What’s happening in our minds when we procrastinate?
Inside the procrastinated realm of the human mind
Procrastination constructs a habit loop that circulates negativity, confusion, anxiety further arising unhealthy and destructive internal monologues. This state makes the human brain remain wired in a state of doubt and confusion.
The theories in science explain that the mind indulged in procrastination as the state of fight sparking between the two parts of a human brain:
- The Subconscious Zone (where our creative instincts reside)
- The Limbic Zone (the conscious part which acts as the planner)
One can relate to it in simpler terms as — Monkey mind and Monk mindset. The former helps you delay things, put things on hold, go easy-breezy with the tasks, remain not deadline-based, thereby imbibe feelings of temporary relief or pleasure. Our brain circuit primarily searches for this kind of instant gratifications and rewards.
Contrarily, the latter portion of our mind functions in an automatic mode directing us to opt for mood repair. It has deadlines accorded where goals meet completion. To accomplish the aim, this section of our mind allows us to integrate information, helps us with conscious and meaningful decisions.
Are you a master procrastinator?
By the above question, I don’t intend to mention a person with a Ph.D. in Procrastination. It merely is just a question related to an extreme stage of procrastination levels in an individual. Non-procrastination is inexistent. However, master procrastination exists.
Or, to put it more accurately, master procrastination is a prolonged state of overthinking with no meaning attached. With maturing times, such complex stages of procrastination become a universal experience.
The individuals who come under this grim scanner find themselves going through the master procrastination. Many-a-times, such a state makes me its companion creating an infinite branch of thoughts within my mind. Leaving me with a feeling of an entire universe confided in my individuality. I intend to find immediate solutions, theories, decode mysteries behind uncertainties. Procrastinate.
Panic stages as such create a conscious self whereby the reality gets distanced. In conclusion, the thoughts born rolls at a concurrent speed, unguided.
You keep overthinking, and you intend to fall into the master procrastination trap.
Take, for instance, the assignment or task you need to do as the trigger. The procrastination behavior is to avoid it because it leaves you with a pleasant experience. The instant reward is the relief you feel from not doing it, which obviously, doesn’t last long.
Because the trigger is unpleasant, the avoidance makes unpleasantness drift away, leaving moments of brief relief. In reality, such behaviors accentuate the procrastination cycle and get it mastered presence in our life.
The studies in Psychology suggest prolonged procrastination phases tend to cause severe distress levels in an individual, resulting in delayed completion of tasks followed by a slowdown of behavioral responses.
Therefore, they leave the master procrastinators to go unproductive and cultivate unhealthy habits and practices in their day-to-day affairs.
Managing procrastination to embrace self-growth
While finding ourselves in perpetual stages of inconveniences isn’t healthy; however, fostering a positive outlook in depressing times intends to give procrastination a rational meaning.
Since procrastination struggles remain no more a hidden reality of mine, the solutions that I adapted can find meaning in another's lives as well. Also, help heal procrastination in a more relaxed and meaningful way.
- Getting Started: The practical way of reducing procrastination lies in — getting started. The reason being getting a start makes things easier.
- Practicing Mindfulness: It acts as the initial link of awareness between our mind, body, and soul. When our thoughts confront us like a monstrous being, the divinity of Mindfulness walks as positive forces. And strikes a proportionate balance between — physical, psychological, and mental health. While procrastination can’t be wholly denied, however, with mindfulness, one can seek to deal with it in cordial spirits.
- Compartmentalizing the Works: Tendency of reducing the tasks into bits and pieces lessens the burden of them becoming tedious, monotonous, and boring. Breaking them into parts inspires to increase productivity.
- Minimizing Distractions: In procrastinated phase, we tend to take entire problems under our wings, model judgments, and seek answers. Be that news feeds, social media, youtube scrolls, or long duration of phone calls, everything needs to be prioritized. High priorities and career-oriented goals directly increase focus, where better goals lead to increased concentration. With better attention, procrastination gets minimized.
- Practicing the Creative Art of Living: Corporate careers, academics, businesses can relax for a bit so that one can find time to explore their creative potentials. Few of us make these creative pursuits our jobs. Lucky indeed. Sadly, every task assigns itself a routine tediousness, where people fall into the grips of procrastination. Writers, thinkers, strategists tend to succumb to this to a large extent. However, taking breaks like — listening to music, going for a walk, painting or drawing, learning new skills, etc rejuvenate a higher spirit and not leave people bored.
- Avoid Future Shocks: Too much analyzing of the future overloads our life with perfectionism. We make humongous plans to house a lavish life and burden ourselves for its attainment. We constantly plan, plan, and plan. Let the future unfold on its own. And let not procrastination behaviors fuel shocks related to the future.
- Rewarding Self: Practice giving rewards to yourself when done with your day-to-day tasks. It balances happiness and boredom. Tips can be as primary as they can like — going on a coffee, munching chocolates, playing your sport, cooking, to even watching your favorite podcasts.
The author of The Craving Mind, Judson Brewer, says, “Our minds learn through reward-based learning. Paradoxically (Mindfulness) taps right into the reward-based process to help us step out of procrastination.”
Henceforth, the standard habit loop is the: trigger — behavior — reward.
While procrastination exists, reducing them instills profound learnings in life and encourages a positive growth cycle. While few others say, procrastination is a lazy person’s characteristics trait. Facts on the contrast cite one in every individual place themselves in procrastination mode — the so-called “monkey game” version of life.
The above state, in turn, draws humans to an irresponsible zone, where things take a pause. Avoiding it is not the solution; it’s the awareness imbibing in the real change.
According to the legendary and former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
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