Procrastination : Everything you need to know
Procrastination, a term mildly known by some of us, a bad habit to others, and for the rest a policy that made its way into their everyday’s routine.
Tim Urban once said in a Ted Talk he animated, that the difference between the mind of a procrastinator and one of a normal person was an added creature in the procrastinator’s brain, that resided at the decision making part of the brain alongside the rational decision maker, and took the wheel whenever it was time to do some work.
And this creature, which was symbolized by a monkey, only gave back the wheel if another monster showed up, deadlines.
In that context, this article will go over the simple definition of procrastination, its causes, and techniques to overcome it.
First of all What is procrastination?
Procrastination is the simple act of delaying and postponing decisions or actions. Many people, while procrastinating, are fully aware of the chores they need to realize, but still choose to waste time on things that may seem important at the time such as binge-watching some tv show, catching up on celebrity drama or breaking a new record on some game.
This act of leaving everything until there’s no time to rightfully do it is not without consequences, studies have related procrastination to bad grades in the pedagogic context and lesser paychecks in work. It also affects one’s mental state, as it can be responsible for stress among other things.
Do you procrastinate or are you just a lazy person?
Some might confuse the two, but the main difference is that procrastination is actively choosing to do something other than what you’re supposed to do, whereas laziness is more of an unwillingness to act.
Causes of procrastination
- Academics : Statistics show that students are the ones who procrastinate the most when required to perform a task, studies revealed that 85% to 90% of college students engage in procrastination to different degrees. And that’s mainly due to the fact that they overestimate their future motivation, and seem to be under the impression that each task, no matter how complex it is, will only take a bit of their time.
- Depression: It can be a tad hard to start any project (or finish it) when you experience hopelessness or feel like you lack the energy needed. Your own insecurities could make you self-doubt your abilities and then convince you that puting it off is better than attempting to do it and face bad results.
- OCD : People struggling with OCD are more often than not unhealthy perfectionists and need everything to be done flawlessly, which makes them fear making any type of errors and worry about if they’re doing the task correctly and about other people’s expectations.
- Feeling overwhelmed : Sometimes, being delivered one task can feel like moving mountains, and makes the person in charge think that avoiding it altogether is just better. In the off chance that they actually start their chore, they might start feeling paralyzed over their rendition and prefer leaving it unfinished.
- Anxiety : Delaying (temporarily or infinitely) duties can be caused by feelings of anxiety, which is ironic, because not completing those tasks can make a person’s anxiety increase and make them feel stuck in a loop with no possible outcome.
How to deal with procrastination?
Whether you procrastinate because you don’t feel like doing your task, or maybe not knowing how to do it. Whether it’s because you don’t care about it or maybe you’re waiting for the right moment to do it, demotivating and negative factors like the ones cited before are likely going to outweigh the motivation and self confidence you have. And that’s no way to live, you need to acknowledge the problem and work towards a better lifestyle.
Try to start by establishing a set of goals, you can organize them by degree of importance in a to-do list. That way you’ll keep track of your progress. I would also recommend starting with goals that seem most realizable, you don’t want to crash and burn before you even start. Another thing that is recommended is to proceed with baby steps, and regularly. Doing a little bit everyday is better than doing a lot one day and then nothing for the next week or so.
Now to avoid that this course of action will finish in the same way as your previous attempts, you will need to resist all of the triggers that usually mess up your schedule, writing down any red flag that is possible to let you go on an infinite break will possibly help you withstand it until the end of your task.
Distractions, in any shape or form, are better off eliminated, for example, if you think social media or any app on your phone will make you waste more time than what you’re planning on your break, it would feel better if you restricted yourself from touching your phone while studying/working.
And at the end of this process, if you managed to realize what you originally planned, and even if the plan wasn’t achieved, don’t forget to reward yourself and acknowledge your progress. And also, don’t give up on yourself just yet, try again tomorrow, and the day after and as many times as it takes to get it right.
And more importantly, don’t wait for tomorrow to start and don’t be afraid of the outcome.
Things to remember :
- Don’t be so afraid of failure, even if you can indeed get it right from the first try, you should know that it’s totally okay not to.
- If a certain task seems overwhelming and impossible to achieve, try to break it into small pieces. That would help you perceive it as more doable.
- Your work will probably contain flaws, and that’s totally fine. Keep trying until that perfectionist mindset of yours is satisfied.