What Is Procrastination?
Procrastination is the act of putting something off for later. It can be caused from multiple reasons, such as our unique biological make-up, the environment we were raised in and what we use procrastination for.
Understanding what makes you procrastinate and how to overcome it can help you along your journey for Self-Development.
I procrastinated reading a book based on procrastination for three years. I suffered from chronic procrastination. Recently, I began reading the book again, and I learned that procrastination extended further than the aspect of putting important tasks off. I procrastinated when I assumed someone was trying to control me, when I wanted to escape reality, or when I became trapped in my past, present or future without learning from them.
Therefore, this blog is a call to action for us to put a pin in procrastination for good.
Do not wait for tomorrow, that is the worst thing that you can do! Constantly putting off important tasks can produce regret making every day feel like a drag. You know that there is something you ought to be doing, but you are trapped in that cliché mindset of “I still have more time.”
The best tactic to defeat procrastination is ultimately to learn about yourself. Learn what triggers you to put something off, why you procrastinate and when you do it most. In addition, I urge you to get your hands on a digital copy of Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now by Jane B Burka.
Procrastination has jeopardized my mental health, my academic life, my employment history, my writing capabilities, my relationships, my spirituality and my desire for growth. For years I have tried to rid myself of this toxic relationship I have with procrastination. Since I started my journey of self-development to rid myself of procrastination, a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
The first step to create change is to start now and not later! This is not the perfect fix; this is a quick guide to help you control procrastination. It is ultimately up to you to use these tips, perform your research, apply what you have learned to overcome this addictive habit.
“You may delay, but time will not.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Step 1 | Stop Procrastinating:
Halting procrastinating is not as simple as it seems. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and effort. For those who suffer with chronic procrastination this can sum up to be a difficult task.
Actions tend to speak louder than words. We can say we want change as often as we want, but unless we commit to making that change, nothing will.
It is critical to understand how this habit can hinder our everyday lives in a negative way. We must develop our mindsets to constantly desire change and not remain in the same loop procrastination has us trapped in.
Before we even get to any of the other steps, understand that procrastination starts and ends with you.
Step 2| Be Decisive:
I found that when someone requests something of me and I am indecisive about it, I can pretend to be interested. This leads me to three actions “I forgot”, “I can’t make it”, or “Maybe next time.”
This not only hinders us with possible opportunities, but it can destroy trust within relationships. Imagine being on the receiving end, where the person presents an activity and at first, we agree due to feeling pressured. Then, after time and time again we make up excuses to why we cannot attend, rather than saving that person the trouble in the first place by stating whether we are interested or not.
It is better to conclude requests with a yes or no. With a solidified response we can protect ourselves from possibly procrastination when it is time to show up. Do no try to look like the “good guy” when our intentions are to arrive late, cancel last minute or pretend as if we forgot to attend the event entirely.
Step 3 | Remove Distractions:
With the constant bombardment of tweets, Insta posts, Facebook lives, news, sport updates, TV shows, blockbuster movies and keeping up with the latest gossip; it is easy to become distracted with any and everything.
If we lack will power, distractions and procrastination will come like a 2 in 1 deal. To become more productive, and procrastinate less, we need to rid our work or study areas of unnecessary distractions. Place phones on mute, disconnect from the internet, or block certain websites when attempting to complete tasks in a timely frame.
Step 4 | Do Not Aim for Perfection:
Procrastinators can typically be perfectionist. Before we decide to do something, we must know the results will be perfect. When we anticipate that our performance will not meet our standards we procrastinate.
We must leave room for mistakes and not wait for the perfect moment or anticipate the perfect result. Start our projects, studies or tasks now and refrain from the hesitant mindset. Starting out with what we have now is better than attempting to place all the puzzle pieces together to get a masterpiece.
Step 5 | Do Not Avoid Success:
It’s easier to identify the desire for success than the fear of it.
Page 34 of Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now
As unimaginable as this sounds it could be true, we can fear success. In some way, shape or form we desire to be successful, however, for some of us we can knock the notion down.
We may feel inferior and believe we are destined to be support for a quote on quote “true” leader; we may procrastinate when we feel we are moving another level above our current peers. In addition, we may be afraid of success if we believe our lives will gradually become boring and all about work or tasks.
However, remain productive and continue to make efforts towards success. Despite these feelings we may have, they are only temporary. It is better to pursue our ideal of success rather than live a life full of regret.
Step 6 | Make Beneficial Trade Offs:
Everything in life requires us to make a trade off. We cannot have it both ways, a fork road does not go straight, we either choose what is given on the right or left path.
For University students who love to party, it is easy to debate whether to start an assignment that is due Monday or enjoy a weekend outing with friends. Why not, you have all Sunday evening to get the work done before Monday.
Then you remember, the assignment is actual a six-page essay and you didn’t do your class readings that Friday. You lost the advantage of the entire weekend to now suffer with the ending hours of Sunday to get the assignment done.
The trade-off may not seem important now, like debating whether to study for next week’s exam or watch a movie on Netflix. However, sometimes next week’s exam can become tomorrow’s exam and then Netflix could get in the way of you doing your best for that test. Immediate pleasure may seem like a great trade-off when we are focused on enjoying our lives but remember that enjoying tomorrow is better than just enjoying today.
Step 7 | Do Not Forget the Why:
There will always be a reason we choose to pursue a certain goal or study a certain subject. When you are tempted to procrastinate, pause and focus on your Why.
It is easy to be flustered with deadlines, pressure from family and friends. We can dismiss our efforts as inadequate when our minds are fixated on perfection. Furthermore, the race to success in today’s age provides us enough stress on its own.
With all that going on in our lives, we cannot forget our “Why.” Why do we want to pursue this career, this relationship, this scholarship, this friendship or this journey to self-development? It is because we know our Why will provide us with the fulfillment we seek.
When perfectionism becomes a problem, procrastination is likely to become a problem.
Page 24 of Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now
Step 8 | Do Not Fear of Failure:
One of the reasons we procrastinate is the feeling as if we will fail if we attempt to accomplish our goal. It can be an agonizing pain, especially if we start loathing ourselves for projects, we feel we will never be successful at.
For me fear of failure has caused me to procrastinate on numerous occasions. The feeling of my work not being good enough leads me to Netflix rather than my task. The solution to this sounds simple but was challenging as well. To avoid procrastinating when you are in fear of failure, just remember it does not matter what others think, and you haven’t failed until you have tried.
Step 9 | Do Not Assume:
Do not assume we have all the time in the world. Do not assume that someone is trying to control us. Do not assume that we will procrastinate just this one time. Do not assume that we must be a perfectionist to beat procrastination. Do not assume that this is the last time we will procrastinate.
Remember it is better to be the turtle than the rabbit in this race. We must take our time, apply ourselves, and do not let procrastination dictate when we can start our projects. Be decisive, acknowledge that it will take time to adapt a new habit. Do not give up before trying. We may slip up from time to time and fall, however, we are one step closer to having more control of our time.