No doubt everyone is familiar with procrastination in one way or the other. Whether it’s professionally or personally we all have put off tasks or favored a more desirable task than the urgent one and that’s normal.
The only question is, when does it stop being normal? The answer is simple when it starts to become a problem. Delaying work becomes a problem when the stress caused by putting off a task becomes more than the stress caused by the task itself.
A study in 2007 by the University of Calgary found that 80% to 95% of university students procrastinate. This not very surprising number highlights the need for everyone to learn how to overcome procrastination.
It’s true that overcoming this monster is no small feat, but rest assured he has a weakness. Once you identify that you’re procrastinating and why it becomes easy.
What is Procrastination?
Before starting your path on how to overcome procrastination, there is an important question to be asked. Is every time we delay a task considered procrastination?
No, procrastination is the act of completing less pressing errands in favor of more important ones or accomplishing more pleasurable things instead of less pleasurable ones, and accordingly putting off looming tasks to a later time.
In other words, in order for a delay to be considered procrastination, it needs to have negative consequences. These consequences can be in the form of stress or social and professional backlash from not completing the task.
The Effects of Procrastination
Individuals encounter the impacts of procrastination at both the business and individual levels. procrastinating may bring about pressure, a feeling of blame and alarm, extreme loss of productivity, and also business and social dissatisfaction for not meeting duties or responsibilities.
These sentiments can join and may promote even more procrastination.
For some, the nervousness and stress caused by procrastination winds up being a spurring power to start acting for different errands. However, it’s generally trailed by justification attempts which additionally strengthens a similar sort of conduct from the person.
While it is viewed as typical for individuals to hesitate to some degree, for those learning how to overcome procrastination need to raise themselves over any endeavors to legitimize or limit stalling being acceptable in any frame.
On a professional level, procrastination can cause many financial problems. Mundane tasks like financial management are the easiest target for procrastination. Keeping your budget in check is another example, however, there are apps for that now. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee, or freelancer, learning how to overcome procrastination is vital for your financial situation.
There are those who see individuals who show procrastination as an indication of a hidden mental issue. However, other people who view procrastination as a helpful method for recognizing what is essential to us. In the end, it’s uncommon to stall when one really enjoys the job that needs to be done.
What Causes Procrastination?
In Clinical Psychology, there seems to be an association with issues of tension, low feeling of self-esteem, and a pointless attitude. Procrastination is firmly associated with fear, like low self-viability, or educated weakness.
The most grounded association with procrastination, in any case, is indiscretion. These attributes are frequently utilized as measures of the identity quality ‘good faith’, though tension and nonsensical convictions, for example, compulsiveness, are parts of the identity characteristic neuroticism.
Being a stickler has no immediate connection to hesitation and that any relationship is completely repaid by vigilance.
Perhaps the dominating reason we procrastinate is a breakdown in our self-control. You realize what you should do and you’re not ready to force yourself to do it. It’s that hole between goal and activity.
The main player in procrastination is always justification. If your procrastination can’t hide behind something else, it will never win. When learning how to overcome procrastination you need to identify procrastination and the different masks it hides behind.
Justification of Procrastination
Because procrastination is a great source of stress, it can not only hide behind preferable behaviors but also less frowned upon negative ones. For example:
- Distraction with other behaviors to avoid thinking of the task (like surfing the internet or flipping through cat videos at work.)
- Turning lack of achievement into a joke or a humorous thing.
- Blaming external factors is the most common causative agent of procrastination. You can tell yourself that it wasn’t your fault or that you won’t get valued anyway.
- Comparison with other people’s lesser achievements.
- Denial or pretending that what you’re doing isn’t procrastination is also a very powerful shield for procrastination. Sometimes we tell ourselves that starting early on a task is counterproductive or results in lower quality work.
- Falsely increasing value of tasks of lesser urgency to justify not doing the task at hand.
- You can also trivialize the task you’re supposed to do and hence decrease its priority.
Lack of Structure
Going through the day without any plans or structural agendas can lead to a sense of being lost. With no clear plan or mission in view, it is easy to stray away from the main objective. The nature of the current work environment makes the internet easily accessible.
The gateway into procrastination; it’s easy to switch tabs for a second just to check up on today’s news feed. We all know though, it’s never a second and it’s never just one tab. 2 hours later, your task remains unfinished and stress builds up due to work piling up.
Sometimes, we underestimate the effort required for a task to get done. Being overconfident makes a person allot less time for the task at hand. Because of this, we procrastinate since we believe that we don’t need that much time to complete the task.
Surprisingly, when the procrastinator finally gets to the assigned task, things aren’t as easy as first thought. This type of procrastination leads to low quality or incomplete tasks. On the job, this could be the difference between a promotion and a dismissal.
How to Overcome Procrastination?
The most terrifying aspect of procrastination is that it is entirely out of our control. This means that when you are delaying a task, you are doing it deliberately and without external influence.
Before learning how to overcome procrastination it’s important to envision it as a conscious parasite. This parasite can’t expose itself so it hides behind things we find acceptable, like the occasional laziness, for example.
However, once we know that the problem is within, then we can finally start fighting back effectively.
1. Notice Your Procrastination
We already talked about the different masks that procrastination hides behind. The problem now is identifying it in your everyday behavior.
You may put off an undertaking since you’ve needed to re-organize your workload. In case you’re quickly postponing an imperative assignment for a really justifiable reason, at that point you aren’t really dawdling.
Be that as it may, in the event that you begin to put things off uncertainty, or switch center since you need to abstain from accomplishing something, at that point you presumably are.
You may likewise be delaying if you:
- Fill your day with low-priority tasks
- Leave a thing on your schedule for a while, despite the fact that it’s essential.
- Read messages a few times over without settling on a choice on what to do with them.
- Begin a high-need assignment and after that head out to grab a snack or have a chat.
- Occupy your time with irrelevant assignments that other individuals request that you do, rather than getting on with the essential errands.
- Waiting to be in the “right mindset,” or sit tight for the “perfect time” to handle a task.
2. Forgive Yourself
One of the most compelling motivations for people to procrastinate is on the grounds that they catastrophize, or make a tremendous deal out of something. It might be identified with how intense, how exhausting, or how agonizing it will be to finish the assignment.
Whatever the case, the basic topic is that doing the errand will be intolerable.
Quit thumping yourself about the past. Negative thoughts like “I should have started earlier” or “I’m a lazy, incompetent person” will just make it worse.
Research shows that forgiving yourself for past procrastination will help you stop putting off working on a task.
You can attempt to use past procrastination as a map.
How? Figure out what went into your evasion like fear, pressure, not having a decent comprehension of how to advance, the absence of responsibility, and so on. At that point address those issues in the present and future.
3. Watch Your Step, Not The Finish Line
One of the main reasons individuals procrastinate is looking at the big picture and making a big deal out of it. It might be identified with how extreme, how exhausting, or how agonizing it will be to finish the assignment.
Whatever the case, the basic topic is that doing the errand will be “intolerable.”
We cannot help but take a glimpse at the endgame. It’s like looking down when you’re walking a tightrope between two skyscrapers, you probably won’t do it. What you need to do is take one step at a time, once you start you will keep going.
You must focus all your energy on the first step, whether it’s at work or at home.
This may seem like the kind of advice a mother gives her son to do his homework, but it’s really easier said than done, and so is learning how to overcome procrastination.
4. Break it Down to Small Bites
Dwelling on the size and difficulty of a looming task will overwhelm us, and this will promote procrastination. Any undertaking, no matter how daunting, can be broken down into smaller steps.
The trick is — with each step along the way — to focus solely on the next, achievable chunk of work. Ignore the big picture for a while and just tackle that next small task. Make sure you can easily visualize the outcome of your small task.
Don’t write a book, write a page. If it is still intimidating, commit yourself to work on it for a specific period of time. Keep the big picture in mind, of course, but don’t allow it to frighten you. Use it for motivation and direction.
At the point when an errand appears to be too much, procrastination takes over. So how might you break that assignment into littler, more sensible parts?
For instance, in the event that you need to compose a book, you may influence a layout, to distinguish every part, make sense of the segments in the sections, and after that focus on thinking of one fragment at any given moment.
Piecing it down like this will enable you to feel not so much overpowered but rather more engaged.
5. You Want to Do it More Than You Need to Do it
“I have to” is every procrastinator’s favorite expression. It’s also the most disempowering. Every time you say to yourself that you have to do something, you imply that you don’t have any choice, that you feel forced or coerced to do the task, that you don’t really want to do it.
That perception, of course, elicits a strong feeling of being victimized and resistance toward doing the task. The solution to this problem is to replace “I have to” with the immensely more empowering alternative ‘I choose to’ or ‘I will’.
Everything you do is ultimately a choice. Using language that expresses choice reminds you of that and brings the feeling of power back.
Of course, you can’t change how you feel about a task, but you can change the internal dialogue.
You can want to finish the task to get it off your plate or for the promotion that’s waiting for you if you do it.
6. Get Help
Establish specific deadlines for completing a task. Then find someone who will help you be accountable. It could be a promise to your boss or client that you will complete the job by a certain date.
Or it may be a coach who helps you stay on track. Or simply find an accountability partner. In this relationship, you connect with someone (on the phone, for example) at certain time intervals,such as once a week, and commit to what you will do before your next meeting.
Not wanting to go back on your word, this can be a great way to squash procrastination.
7. Perfectionism is Procrastination in Disguise
Perfectionism is an all-or-nothing mentality: Something is either perfect, or it is a failure. People with perfectionistic tendencies tend to wait until things are perfect in order to proceed — so, if it’s not perfect, you cannot be finished.
Or if it is not the perfect time, you believe you can’t start. This all-or-nothing mentality can hold you back from starting or completing tasks.
Instead, focus on being better than perfect. This means to still strive for excellence, creating excellence, or setting yourself up with excellent conditions, but at the same time, you focus on getting the job done.
8. Write Down & Track
One of the main procrastination causing factors is disorganization. In that case, your medicine is keeping a to-do list or a daily planner.
Now, that may sound like a very boring and mundane thing to do, but if you’re serious about learning how to overcome procrastination, you need to keep tabs.
The first thing is figuring out the best platform that suits you, it has to be something accessible and mobile. The easiest of choices is an old-fashioned pen and notepad, however, there are countless apps that can help you manage your time.
The second step is to write down all your tasks in order of priority.
You can figure out the priority of a task in terms of which are of the most consequence and the ones with the closest deadlines. Give each task a score from 1 to 10 in both aspects and then add them up for a total score and list them down with their deadlines.
You can use apps like Trello to manage the tasks more efficiently.
Procrastination is a Curable Disease
You are not a bad person because you procrastinate and more importantly, you are not alone. However, once it reaches a point where it harms you and your future or career, you need to stop and figure out how to overcome procrastination.
With the right mindset and effort, you can defeat this monster. It’s important to note that there are certain diseases that can cause chronic procrastination and are of more concern, like severe depression or ADHD.
In that case, seeking professional help is a must, not all fights can be fought on your own, not even if you read informative articles on the internet.