Procrastination and Why is it so Common

Well, there could be as many reasons for procrastination as the number of people who procrastinate. Procrastination implies putting off a task for a later moment. It is a widespread phenomenon today and the regret of it could create emotional disturbances later on. 

Generally, our expectations (like getting good grades, or getting an appraisal, or simple praise for doing a good job) create pressure over time which could become one of the main causes of procrastination.  Although for some, the pressure to do better in life can be a motivating factor, for others, it could be too much to handle. Some claim that they procrastinate due to lack of interest in that particular job. And others cite lack of time as an excuse to procrastinate.

Result of Procrastination

A temporary relief or satisfaction by delaying the work. Since there is nothing that drives you to do that work, you feel better not thinking about it for the time being and doing it later.

you feel better not thinking about it for the time being and doing it later.

A Pursuit for Perfection

Many perfectionists claim that procrastinating has helped them achieve greater things in life. Their innate need to get the best of everything makes them believe that procrastination helps them decide better. It slows them down and calms them from beating themselves up. But what about others?

When you have to act or put effort, know that life is short. When you realize life is short, procrastination falls away. When you are expecting a result, know that life is eternal.

~ Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

For the rest of us, procrastination is a wake-up call to check if we love the work we do. And, if it’s something we have to do (whether we love it or not), then how to find a way to do it right away. Procrastination is not a sign of weakness; it’s an emotion that tells us to delve deep into our psychology. It conveys the need to ask ourselves about the reason behind our lack of enthusiasm and leads us on to overcome the same. Sometimes it’s obvious, but sometimes it could be the only way  to protect yourself from being overly busy and ignoring your health.

As you now understand the reasons behind procrastination, let’s understand its impact (in the long run) and ways to overcome it.

Effects of Procrastination

If you are someone finding it difficult to stop procrastinating, stop for a moment and reflect on how it has affected you. These are some of the adverse effects of procrastination:

  • Lack of discipline
  • Compromised health (as last moment work takes a toll on health and mind)
  • Lack of clarity that creates confusion
  • Low performance
  • Lack of respect 
  • Prone to error making

Ways to Overcoming Procrastination

Self-Talk

At first, you may not know that you are procrastinating. You can give yourself an excuse that you don’t feel like getting the job done. But over time, as you keep delaying the work for a long time, you must reason out with yourself why the work must be done in the first place. You can evaluate your thinking with mindfulness and silence.

For example: Procrastinating for meditation. You must do self-talk on the benefits of meditation and how it can help you reconnect with yourself.

Acknowledge Your Fear

For many of us, fear becomes a factor that propels procrastination. For example-

  • I am afraid that the project will not be liked by my manager. 
  • I am pretty sure that my mom will clean the kitchen even if I clean it alright. 
  • I am not right for the part, so why bother to complete the interview assignment?

You see, The fear. The fear of not standing up to expectations and being mocked could cause severe procrastination. It’s important you acknowledge the fear and use it as a challenge to get the work done your way. You will either receive appreciation or confidence for having taken the first step.

Break Down the Tasks

When something looks huge and difficult to tackle, we avoid it. If you find yourself procrastinating often, try breaking your tasks into smaller ones. Make a to-do list with the simplest beginnings and strike out the tasks as you go on achieving them. Putting a tick on each part gives you satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, motivating you to complete the whole task in the same way. Try and see, it works.

Resort to Meditation

Practice awareness of your situation by learning the art of meditation. Meditation helps you analyze the battles you fight and calms your mind with mental solutions. It also  relieves you from stress and anxiety caused by the constant botheration of incomplete work. With meditation, you can answer questions like:

What are your productive hours?

How can you find easy ways to get the work done?

What are the final results that could benefit you greatly with the completed task?

Meditation brings mindfulness which helps you answer these questions and work sincerely towards completing the task.

Be Proactive

Have you tried completing the work as and when it arrives? Or at least, completing maybe half of it? Let me cite an example. At school, I would always get my homework done as soon as I reached home (or sometimes during the recess if I found extra time). That saved me extra effort to remember the lessons and avoid procrastination. If you are attentive in classrooms, the memory stays fresh, and learning becomes easier.

In a workplace scenario, while it may not be practical to hoard your brain with ideas after a long and tiring day of work, you get the drift of staying proactive and initiating the work as soon as possible.

Stop Mind-Calculations

Believe it or not, procrastination is a brain game. Sometimes, even though the work wouldn’t be much, our minds would carry the heaviness of it through overthinking. The solution here is to complete the work without stressing over it. That way, not only would you stop procrastinating but also stay away from anxiety issues. 

Find Your Motivation

There are different ways people pull themselves up and get the work done. Ask yourself what helps you stay on track. Some people find solace in watching an inspiring movie, some in books, others in therapeutic sessions or in getting a spa, playing an instrument, or painting. Whenever you feel lost or procrastinate often, find your motivation. Small breaks that help you energize could also help you stop procrastinating.

A Change From Within

Procrastination could become your weakness if you don’t do anything about it. It’s crucial you challenge your beliefs, and rather than doubting your ability, move on and get the job done.  As you stay clear of unfinished tasks, you can feel happiness and joy from within.

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