What is procrastination and how to deal with it

12 min


procrastination

Procrastination is delaying, avoiding, or delaying existing tasks and works that need to be completed, and focusing on other activities despite anticipating negative consequences.

This behavior of the procrastinator can lead to stress, feelings of guilt, decreased performance and of course to unresolved tasks and unfulfilled obligations.

Procrastination is accompanied by low concentration, negative internal beliefs, unrealistic expectations, and an inability to organize the work process and work effectively.

In the mind of the procrastinator, there is a choice: do what seems pleasant at the moment, or direct your actions to achieve really important goals, no matter how difficult and tedious the chosen path may seem.

Of course, in order to avoid discomfort, it is easier to give in to the satisfaction of momentary desires. We delay until the last minute and only then do we act, which ironically leads to even more suffering, anxiety, and fear.

In other words, putting off existing cases doesn’t make sense.

Why struggle with procrastination

Lazy people

1. More success

Procrastination is one of the main barriers that prevent you from making the right decisions, as well as performing optimal actions, and thereby living the life you’ve always wanted.

Generally, people are more sorry for what they didn’t do than for what they did, because feelings of regret and guilt over missed opportunities can haunt them for a very long time.

It often seems that all the possibilities are at hand, but we are inexplicably unable to implement them.

When you procrastinate, you spend effort on trivial actions, instead of investing your energy in something meaningful.

If you can defeat this insidious enemy, you will achieve incomparably more by making the most of your potential.

2. Reducing anxiety levels

The more you put off completing your planned tasks, driving yourself into a state of suspended suspense, the higher your level of anxiety and internal dissatisfaction becomes.

Work rarely resembles a light interesting game or a walk under the moon on a cloudless summer night. But if you become a victim of procrastination, the degree of your excitement will hit you with new force.

If you can overcome this addiction and start implementing your existing plans, your success is certain.

By doing so, you will free yourself from worry before it can fully take hold of you.

3. Developing self-discipline

As will be discussed later, procrastination is a phenomenon that is not only related to the problem of time management.

One of the main reasons why people put things off is based on low self-discipline, and overcoming procrastination can take the level of discipline to a new level.

4. Higher quality of the work done

People who are not used to procrastinating are better at their job.

When you act with less stress, less anxiety, and with the necessary level of discipline, the quality of your work is bound to improve.

Facts about procrastination

1. Laziness is not procrastination

Procrastinators often put things off, move them to the last moment, and sometimes even spend their time just looking at the opposite wall. And yet it is not laziness.

Lazy people who don’t do anything and don’t want to do anything while feeling perfectly fine. Procrastinators, on the other hand, want to do something, but they can’t bring themselves to start.

2. Rest is not procrastination

Rest energizes you, while procrastination drains you.

As a result, the less energy you have, the higher your chances of delaying your duties, and the more likely you are to fall victim to stress or even depression.

Therefore, it is important to be able to have a good rest in order to perform your work well and achieve your goals.

3. Work under pressure doesn’t necessarily improve efficiency

You can often hear the excuse that people delay completing tasks until the last moment because this increases their productivity.

However, often avoiding important things, on the contrary, creates favorable conditions for reducing efficiency, stress and guilt.

Causes of procrastination

1. Paralysis of decisions

The number of opportunities that the modern world offers is simply astounding. Modern society, permeated with ideas of a free personality, identifies the level of human happiness with the level of its independence.

So why don’t people today feel an endless rush of happiness? The fact is that with more freedom in decision-making, it is easier to get confused in the setting of priorities, it is more difficult to determine what is important and what is secondary, what is right and what is wrong, as a result of which people become demotivated, and often stop doing anything at all.

Therefore, it is important to be able to clearly articulate your own goals and values, as well as develop positive habits.

This approach will allow us not only to fight procrastination but also to overcome other obstacles that arise in our lives.

2. Ignoring the value of time

We, or at least our bodies, were born once and will die once. The time allotted for us to stay in this world is limited.

And in fact, time is the only irreplaceable and most valuable resource that we have at our disposal. Every second you spend leaves you forever.

The simple realization that human life is finite cannot fail to make many people manage their time more effectively.

3. Lack of self-discipline

A lack of self-discipline and self-control is evident when you make decisions, but it is difficult to put them into practice. There is a problem with turning mental ideas into real actions.

For the development of the discipline, it is important to have sufficient motivation, and you should also work on the development and maintenance of positive habits.

4. Disorganization

The biggest problem with disorganization is the difficulty of setting priorities correctly.

Most people who delay completing their tasks tend to first solve the simplest tasks, no matter how urgent and important they are, while more important or complex tasks begin to accumulate as they are put off.

This approach quickly leads to a disorganized work schedule and chaos in the business.

5. Lack of internal motivation

Why do we do what we do?

Too often we set goals for ourselves, trying to pursue them solely for external reasons. We do things for approval, status, or simply because others expect us to behave in a certain way. This is how many of us live because we lack internal motivation.

To defeat procrastination, you must be guided by your own goals and values, based on personal inner beliefs that are solely under your control.

Therefore, the more often you perform actions that are more consistent with your inner world, the less likely you will be influenced by procrastination and procrastination factors.

6. Fear

There are many kinds of fears that make us procrastinate: the fear of failure, rejection, novelty, success, suffering, and difficulty.

To overcome the fear of procrastination, you should focus on the present moment.

7. Perfectionism

Perfectionism is based on a fear of failure or mistakes and is associated with a fear of disapproval or disappointment, “black and white” thinking (there are no gray shades, everything or nothing), an emphasis on a sense of duty (“I must be able to do this!”) and the belief that success is easy for other people.

Therefore, perfectionists are not only prone to procrastination but can also at some stage completely abandon their goals.

8. Lack of knowledge

If you don’t know how to do something, learn how to do it. But if you don’t think it’s going to work, you’ll never get started.

This is one of the key characteristics of passive thinking which you don’t even try. But to defeat procrastination, it is very important to have a proactive mindset.

9. Mental distortion
  • Overestimating the amount of time left to complete a task and underestimating the amount of time required to complete it.
  • Re-evaluating the amount of motivation that a person will have to perform a task in the future.
  • Failure to take into account the probability that the person will not be in the necessary mood and emotional state to successfully complete the task in the future.

How to deal with procrastination

1. Make your goal very specific and clear

Make it as clear as possible what you want to achieve.

Procrastinators are always faced with the choice of doing something now or later. When you know what you really want, that conflict loses its power.

Make your goal very specific and as specific as possible, put it in the form of a simple phrase and voice it out loud to yourself.

2. Identify triggers

Triggers are provoking factors.

It has been found that people are more likely to put things off for later if their existing tasks are characterized by one or more of these six triggers:

  1. The task is boring.
  2. Difficult.
  3. It is unclear, unstructured, or ambiguous.
  4. It does not bring rewards or feelings of satisfaction.
  5. Useless or pointless.
  6. Devoid of personal value to you.

You can try to identify triggers that are a deterrent to you, and take steps to address the issues associated with them.

For example, if an issue seems too complex or ambiguous, you can divide it into smaller and more understandable blocks.

3. Take the first step

Even if you are faced with the task of implementing a large-scale project, the complexity of which takes your breath away, as soon as you take the first step, perform the first action that marks the beginning of this incredible process, your anxiety will take a satisfactory level, and your doubts will disappear.

This can be the beginning of an Internet search, the first word you write, a list you make, a phone call, or a tracksuit you wear before your first run.

Focus on the process of doing something, not on the result. When you are immersed in the process, the result will take care of itself.

4. Plan your day and week

Make a to-do list for the current day and start doing the most important and complex tasks first, before moving on to the simpler ones.

Also, make a list of tasks that need to be completed during the week. Often procrastination gets the right to live just because the task was not planned.

Having done this, you will definitely get satisfaction, and you will also be able to evaluate the results of the work done.

5. Set interim deadlines

If you need to break up a complex task into its component elements, also determine the time frame for completing each of them.

6. Take scheduled breaks

The human brain is not designed to work continuously on the same task for a long time, so this feature can cause procrastination.

Make sure that regular breaks are provided in your work process so that you can rest and get a boost of energy to work more productively.

Even a 5-minute rest break is enough to keep your mind toned and relieve you of fatigue.

7. Reward yourself

Unfortunately, quite often the work that has to be done does not resemble something extremely creative and fascinatingly interesting.

However, you can counter this characteristic of current tasks by adding external rewards for completing them.

Decide for yourself what is the best way to thank yourself for a job well done: watching a movie, meeting with friends, buying new clothes, attending an event, and so on.

8. Analyze the internal resistance

If you don’t want to complete a task within an hour, think about how long you want to work on it.

Can you devote 30 minutes to your planned work? What about 15? If you don’t want to work today, what is the best day?

9. Work in an unfamiliar place

Most of us tend to study and work in the same place.

There is a problem on this ground because these familiar places are full of distractions.

If you have a feeling that you are drowning in the ocean of everyday life, you can change your workplace, for example, by moving to another Desk, to another room, to go to work in a library, cafe, or Park, while armed with a laptop.

10. Turn off your phone and turn off the Internet (if possible)

This is another way to increase your chances of fighting procrastination by minimizing the factors that contribute to your distraction.

The most common factors that contribute to delaying or delaying your business include surfing the Internet, including in social networks, as well as the use of managers.

If your phone is disconnected, it becomes much easier for you to stay focused for a long time.

11. Increase the difficulty of the task

This recommendation may seem counterintuitive, but some people are not satisfied with the process if they have to perform trivial actions.

Therefore, for ambitious people who tend to get bored when their work seems too simple or completely devoid of creativity, a lifeline can serve as an increase in the level of complexity of the tasks assigned to them.

12. Determine the best working conditions

Knowing the preferred conditions for better performance will help eliminate the problem of procrastination and lack of attention.

Determine what time of day you are most productive and creative, where you work best, what music makes you a human task-solving machine, and so on.

13. Clear your list of outdated issues

Enough people put too many tasks on their list, some of which will never be completed anyway.

One way to deal with procrastination is to cross off the list of things that are not relevant, freeing your mind from unnecessary burdens.

Give yourself permission to let go of it all.

14. Choose the right motivation

Proper motivation is a set of positive emotions that you use to support your goals.

Visualize yourself at the finish line and become aware of the feeling that occurs at the moment of achieving the desired result.

Motivate yourself by clearly defining how achieving the goal will change your life, affect your health, improve your friendships and family relationships, and so on.

15. Increase your energy level
  • Sleep off.
  • Drink water.
  • Eat healthy food.
  • Take a walk in the fresh air.
  • Give your body exercise.
  • Listen to nice music.
16. Make boring tasks more interesting

For example, if you need to clean your house, you can turn on your favorite music, and also set a time to set a new record in the fight against clutter and household dust, which you can later beat yourself.

Turn a routine into a fun game, backed up by the end result.

17. Switch to another task

If you understand that the cause of procrastination is related to getting stuck on one task, why not switch to other tasks for a while and then go back to the original ones?

It is often better to do something than to do nothing.

18. Avoid perfectionism

Understanding that you are delaying work because of perfectionism is the first step to solving this problem.

You need to understand that the intended end result does not have to be perfect, and you should not allow the resulting fear to constrain your actions.

Accept the naturalness of possible shortcomings, and don’t forget that later you will be able to level them out.

19. Believe in yourself

If you have lost hope, know that you can change everything by your own efforts.

Let go of the fear of failure, because failure is the next step on the road to success.

You will not be able to win if you decide to withdraw from the fight. To do a little, but every day means to achieve a lot in a year.

Just remember – you can do it!

20. Forgive yourself

If you have put off your work after all, don’t waste time feeling guilty. More often than not, it’s actually better late than never.

More recommendations

  • Identify your self-destructive problems, such as fear, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, poor time management, indecision, and perfectionism.
  • Identify your goals, strengths, weaknesses, values, and priorities.
  • Compare your actions with your own goals and values and determine whether they match your actions.
  • Discipline yourself, use your time wisely, prioritize, and schedule your day.
  • Work in small blocks instead of long periods of time. For example, you will achieve more if you work for an hour and take 10-minute breaks than if you work without interruptions for 2-3 hours.
  • Motivate yourself and focus on your achievements, not on your mistakes and failures.
  • Store schedules, reminders, and a list of existing tasks.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Eliminate or minimize distractions, clean up your workplace, provide adequate lighting, and have everything you need on hand.
  • Don’t make your workplace too comfortable. A table and chair will be a better choice than a bed or sofa.

The advantages of procrastination

For sure, like many things in this world, procrastination also has its positive side, at least it can be considered from an alternative point of view.

What if procrastination is a harbinger of creativity and a source of understanding? What if it reflects the difference between success and mediocrity?

Perhaps this is the most underappreciated skill of the day, and those who fail to master it properly will not be able to achieve impressive results?

There is no place in the modern world for over-prepared and carefully organized people. Often, the tasks that arise before us change even before the end of the preparation period for their implementation.

The work that you organize with obsessive method and speed may not make any difference in the end.

The volume of new knowledge is growing at an accelerating rate, and how can we adapt to the requirements of modern society without overloading ourselves with unnecessary information? The answer to this question is procrastination.

1. Procrastination creates pressure

People who don’t put it off live in an illusory world. Or maybe pure non-procrastinators don’t exist at all.

They plan everything in advance, create lists of all the things to do, and always tick off the completed tasks.

All events happen to them according to a pre-planned scenario, and life progresses with predictability that is simply unrealistic.

Not being able to put things off is tantamount to not accepting the world as it really is.

The fact is that many tasks and problems arise completely spontaneously and unpredictably, and deadlines for their implementation don’t declare themselves in advance, making perfect preparation simply impossible.

You either drive yourself crazy by preparing for everything without exception, or you learn to cope with external pressures that are inherently unmanageable and unforeseen.

Each serious project is less like a vacation at the sea, and more associated with hard work in a tight time frame.

It is not unusual for procrastinators to solve problems in a state of external pressure, so many of them have already learned to control panic.

Their faces rarely show a grimace of surprise, and their improvisational skills are the envy of the most distinguished actors.

2. Procrastination requires prioritization

People who don’t drag things out have more time to prepare and study the necessary material and tend to fill their heads with more data.

The workflow, like the learning process, always involves learning about information that is important or unimportant, i.e. time is spent both on valuable knowledge and information that is not of any significance.

As a result of this approach, highly trained people often cannot even distinguish the important from the minor, filling their minds with the meaningless information.

The procrastinator who operates in a compressed schedule mode has no choice but to prioritize and focus only on the most important things.

The ability to highlight important information, identify the underlying cause of an existing problem and find the best ways to solve it is a very important professional skill.

Procrastination is a good way to develop these skills, as well as learn to pay more attention to the most important elements of the work and educational process.

In addition, procrastinators who have virtually no time to spare are forced to develop a more sensitive understanding of the essence of things.

3. Procrastination saves time

In a learning and work environment with a limited amount of time, procrastination eliminates the need to repeat information that you have learned in advance, but have already forgotten.

This may not be the best approach for gaining important or fundamental knowledge, but in many cases, it is quite justified.

4. Procrastination helps you forget unnecessary information

During your life, you will have to absorb and forget huge amounts of information, having time to learn and lose skills in various areas of human activity.

Much of what you learn today will lose its relevance after a short time, as, for example, the field of information technology clearly demonstrates.

That’s why being able to get the most important information and learn the most important skills will make you successful.

Procrastination allows you to prioritize the most important knowledge and keep it in your mind for the right amount of time.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t wait a minute. Start procrastinating right now :).


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