You must have found yourself procrastinating some or the other time, which makes you feel guilty but you still can’t help it. Each time you pledge that you will not delay any work from now onwards but you still do and this cycle keeps repeating, Procrastination-guilt-pledge. And sometimes you don’t even realize that you are procrastinating and label it as one of your habits, but this habit can be harmful to you personally and professionally. So, before dealing with it we need to dig a little deeper into its definition and cause.
Basically, procrastination is the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline. Many times people had this misconception about procrastinators that they are lazy. But actually, laziness and procrastination are 2 different concepts. Procrastination involves delaying unnecessarily, whereas laziness involves being voluntarily unwilling to exert necessary effort.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
Behavioral psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called “time inconsistency,” which helps explain why procrastination seems to pull us in despite our good intentions. Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards. Also, sometimes procrastination acts as a STRESS RELIEVER. Let’s take an example on that-
Tanya came to the office and her task is to make 50 calls in the next 2 hours, and she is stressing about how she is going to complete the task and to release that stress she started watching videos online and it took an hour of hers.
So, Tanya started procrastinating about the task she needs to complete on time just to feel temporarily stress free. We can also say that Procrastination isn’t a character flaw, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods.
There are 15 key reasons why people say they procrastinate:
Not knowing what needs to be done
Not knowing how to do something
Not wanting to do something
Not caring if it gets done or not
Not caring when something gets done
Not feeling in the mood to do it
Being in the habit of waiting until the last minute
Believing that you work better under pressure
Thinking that you can finish it at the last minute
Lacking the initiative to get started
Blaming sickness or poor health
Waiting for the right moment
Needing time to think about the task
Delaying one task in favor of working on another
Let’s see where does it all start really,
The present bias means that we tend to be motivated more by immediate gratification or rewards than we are by long-term rewards. This is why it feels good to procrastinate.
Researchers suggest that procrastination can be particularly pronounced among students. Around 80% to 95% of college students procrastinated on a regular basis, particularly when it came to completing assignments and coursework.
How to Overcome Procrastination?
You must have heard billions of ways to stop putting off your tasks. People often have told you to follow some strict schedule, be harsh on yourself or have fear about the consequences, but all of these ways will lead to procrastination even more and the add on can be anxiety, guilt, irritation and what not.
I am sure all of this must sound familiar. So, to deal with procrastination you need not to be harsh on yourself, but to breathe and ACKNOWLEDGE it and forgive yourself about procrastinating. Acknowledging is the first step to deal with any issue and then comes to find out the reason why you do that and after that we can jump into solutions on how to overcome your issues.
Ways to overcome Procrastination
Make a to-do list for the rest of your day This will help you know the tasks you need to complete in a day. Do not make the list too long, otherwise if you couldn’t complete the listed tasks you will again start feeling guilty and irritated.
Divide your tasks in two ways
On the basis of time Complete the tasks which are needed to be done on a certain time like sending mails, attending meetings, submitting assignments, etc.
On the basis of energy There are certain parts of that day when you feel energetic and completing tasks is comparatively smooth as compared to others. Assume if you are a morning person and there is one chapter needed to be completed, in this case you can easily complete the chapter in the morning instead of at night. Thus, when your energy is high, complete the task which require focus and productivity.
5 minute kick start: If any task is big and you are feeling anxious about completing it, somehow make yourself do the task just for 5 minutes, then you will either end up completing the task or at least doing half of it.
Recharge your batteries with small breaks After a period of hard work, take a break and recharge your batteries. You can take these breaks by taking a walk or nap, try to avoid scrolling social media, because it will distract you and consume a lot of your time.
Go through with your to-do list At the end of the day check the list of tasks and check what proportion of your list was completed throughout the day.
Reward yourself After completing your required work give yourself a treat and appreciation. This will help you to do better in future.
There are a number of solutions on the internet for procrastination, but you need to find out what will work with you. Just stop beating yourself for procrastinating, because it will only sink you in guilt and anxiety. Finish your tasks between 10 am to 6 pm and enjoy the rest of the time doing activities you like, which can be painting, reading or binge watching. Buck up yourself, breathe, relax and continue.