So, to answer the question what is procrastination and how to stop Procrastinating lets first look at the definition. Procrastination refers to the act of delaying or putting off something that’s important or necessary until the last minute or past their deadline and carrying out less important actions instead. This can involve putting off impending tasks to a later time, in fact an irrational delay when you know it’s importance.
Wikipedia also adds ” despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so.” They also say “Although typically perceived as a negative trait due to its hindering effect on one’s productivity often associated with depression, low self-esteem, guilt and inadequacy.”
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg In fact, 25% of people say that procrastinating is a defining characteristic of their personality? Or that 75% of surveyed college students considered themselves to be procrastinators? Procrastination is also a trait often found in high achievers and commonly attributed to perfectionists….
Am I right about you so far? Did you just say “That’s me!” However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t place a significant roadblock towards being a high achiever, if you can plan to overcome it.
Procrastination can qualify as many personal issues, or health issues such as visiting the doctor or dentist, getting those much need repairs carried out around the home. Fact is many academic and work tasks where we would all rather be doing anything else instead.
Does Procrastination affect your Health?
Indeed, the effects of procrastination can include stress, anxiety, guilt, panic attacks and health problems. Other important effects are loss of productivity and importantly nowadays, social disapproval for not meeting our responsibilities and commitments.
Is procrastination a mental illness?
Some people spend so much time procrastinating that they are unable to complete important daily tasks. They may have a strong desire to stop procrastinating but feel they cannot do so. Procrastination itself is not a mental health diagnosis
Plus, all of these issues promote further procrastination! So why do we let this happen? The main reason is instant gratification. We want a good feeling from something now. If I do my homework and attend classes, study hard, I will pass the exams, get a degree and feel great.
On the other hand, I could watching TV with a Beer maybe even have a nap, and that’ll feel great now! This is the toss-up between delayed and instant gratification..
Of course, we end up doing activities which gives us the gratification now and cause blockages for those great things where we’re working towards better.
The bottom line is , every minute ticking by when you should be taking action, you look at the clock and think “I can make it happen later, in fact, I’ve probably still time before I need to start, so we’re all good”
Worst of all, you tell yourself that many times until panic sets in and you’re behind. Sometimes, the task seems overwhelming, and we talk ourselves into putting it off until later when we feel more ready to tackle the job.
Likewise, this relates to the link between perfectionists or high achievers and procrastination. Because they want everything that they do to be 100%, they are never “Really Ready” . If they put it off a day or it better, or maybe if tidied up their work area first they would be more ready.
In essence, all they’ve really done is delay something important and caused more stress and panic to set in. Although they justify this as cleaning up the small annoying jobs so that they can clear their mind for the big issue, they suddenly find they have run out of time.
The same result can also happen when the task is just something you just don’t like doing. Then you run out of time and end up underachieving. Another experience for many young people coming into college or university, is the sudden personal freedom they obtain leaving home.
And like I said, they’re excited by having all this free time now and want to feel good now, by doing all the instant gratification stuff. They then end up up handing assignments in at the last minute, often staying up late the night before, or working the whole night to get the work done for the next day.
As a result, you lose sleep, you get really tired and run down and can end up sick.
Here’s the scary part if you let this cycle continue all the way through, procrastination can affect what is referred to as the have-to-dos and the want-to-dos. Now you might be achieving your have-to-dos, but your life if missing out on the want-to-dos list.
So it all adds up to this, you can succeed at work in your career, but miss out on things like getting in shape, cooking these elaborate meals, learning to play an instrument, writing or reading a book. This can happen because you don’t get to the panic stage which can get you over the line at the last minute with have-to-dos.
The bottom line is these activities can bring a lot of happiness. So ask yourself what’s the point if you can do well at your job but never really be happy and do the things we want to in our lives? Procrastination has been around for a long time.
So, how can you get rid of Procrastination?
So let’s begin, how do we beat this and how to overcome procrastination? There are many techniques that you can use to break the procrastination habit. Think of it like a box full of tools, and you have to find the tool which does the job best for you.
But before we go into this, remember different tools will suit different people and the way they respond. If you can use more than 1 Tool, that’s great. So let’s firstly try and imagine the powerful feelings of Joy and Success that you will get on completion of the task.
This will permit your body to allow a simulated release of the endorphin rush you’ll feel and positive feelings from the accomplishment. This visual gives your mind a taste for that feeling, and can help with the motivation to get all the way there.
On the other hand, if you think you work better from the fear or panic, you again imagine this feeling of the effects of not completing the task. This might motivate your brain to jump into action to avoid that panic and negative feeling in full force.
What is your Trigger?
People do respond in a different manner to different triggers, whether positive or negative. I prefer to focus on the positive feeling and gain the endorphin rush of success, but it’s your choice.
You can also break down a large task into a series of smaller manageable chunks or steps. Do a few small easy parts first then attack the harder bit next.
Of course, some people prefer the ‘just start it’ idea, where no matter how great the task, you dive in and commit to just 15 mins to get started.
Indeed, you’ll probably find that you develop momentum and can end up doing more than 15 minutes. If not, start another small chunk.
So that is why, some people prefer to use the ‘just start it’ method for the hardest part of task You don’t have to think about it, just dive in, and then you might have gained the momentum you needed for the rest of the day.
With that said, some people like to set artificial time limits to instil a false sense of urgency. It is a common theory that the time to complete a task will fill the entire time allocated for it. Can you work well under pressure, move the real deadline to a false one and focus on that, creating your own urgency for the new deadline. Trial and error.
Or if you prefer, when you have work due on Monday morning, don’t watch TV all day Saturday and then stay up all Sunday night working to finish it off, imagine there is a false deadline of Friday night, and make yourself believe it! This way Thursday and Friday should be your panic time where you can push through the work with urgency.
Better yet, you can plan to reward yourself weekend for leisure activities after your hard work. This is another strategy, set rewards for yourself when you achieve a chunk of the work you are undertaking.
By this, I mean you should focus on your own reward for now, instead of the long term success that goes along with completing a task in the process on time.
Think abstractly in a positive way. Not I must clean up the mess in my bedroom, but find a more positive way – Once I put all my clothes away properly I will be able to find my shoes again quickly without a panic or, can I set up a Wish Board to Inspire me and renew my plans and desires. You can fit it to any need you want in your situation.
Could it be true? For many people, most of the time, nothing is really stopping you from completing the task, except yourself. Realising this simple can give some people the mental power to allow them to override theforce holding them back, their Brain, and press on to achieve their success.
Make yourself Accountable
Even better, get someone to check-up on you. By letting someone know your goals and asking them to keep tabs on how you’re going, you are making yourself socially accountable as you don’t want to be seen to fail.
The trick is, one of the key methods is to keep a to-do list. Procrastinators are usually good at planning, but the key is scheduling – to prioritize and put time lines with the tasks.
Procrastinators can look at the plan and think “this is going to be great”. This is because they picture that future moment when the achievement is complete.
Remember, visualize the gratification. Mentally, the gratification is there while picturing it. But when it comes to start the work, there is no gratification at that time. There is with watching a movie, having a snack or a nap or basically doing anything else at all.
One of the main ways to stop procrastinating is to recognize that you’re doing it in the first place, then you can identify why you’re doing it, and take the appropriate steps to overcome the block.
No quick Fix
At the end of the day, procrastination is a habit, and habits can’t be broken overnight. You need to apply persistence in using the tools to break the habit, and the longer you can spend without procrastinating, the greater your chances of breaking this destructive habit for good.
I hope that you got some useful tips from this article.
Adapted with thanks from Youtube Source
Conclusion for What is Procrastination and how to stop procrastinating
How can you get rid of Procrastination?
Here’s my checklist
- Plan a To-do List with set out Timelines
- Take it down into small chunks that you can work on and finish
- Don’t rush the work. Set aside Time early enough not last-minute
- No Distractions – No TV Netflix Facebook Twitter etc
- Some people say Tackle the hard Bits first
- Other people say complete a few small chunks – appreciate success
- Reward yourself with Breaks and Coffee Snacks etc – Not alcohol
- Ask a good friend to check on your progress – Be accountable
- Work at your best time of the day. Early morning may be best
- Check your to-do list for your successes
- Prepare list day before Don’t add extra tasks on today – That’s for tomorrow
You can get there. Be positive. Think of the end result
Believe. Do it now -Start a new way to get things done.
If you have found this useful please share with a friend or two. Many Thanks.
All the best
Check out my other posts on motivation