How often modern people use the word “procrastination” and derivatives form of it? One can assume that there is no need to explain its meaning. However, for the sake of accuracy, it is worth noting that procrastination is the postponement of the execution of important work for later while choosing to devote attention to less important or not very important things. Procrastination the art of postponing work that needs to be done.
Everyone does this; it is like a bad habit and people are semi-sarcastically joking and complaining about it on their tweets and Facebook. Someone struggles with it as a fierce enemy; someone claims to be stealthily intentional because the proximity of the deadlines helps to mobilize intellectual and physical forces. Many argumentative essays are written, and different stories are told about them. So let’s try to understand how to prevent procrastination.
What procrastination leads to?
Here is the classification of the procrastination consequences:
- Delaying of work deadlines
One of the obvious consequences of procrastination is the delay in the deadlines and the timely performance of work. There may be different causes for it. Postponing work is a risk that the time lag will not be enough and people will have to delay work. By delaying work, students take pressure on themselves. This is a fairly common case at the University, but there the price of the delay is not very high: a lowered score or morale from the teacher. However, delays in working tasks and agreements with customers can be much more expensive and lead to more issues. Of course, not everyone’s procrastination ends with delays. Some people are even very capable of executing a large amount of work at the fastest pace as soon as possible, and often have to pay their price in the form of stress.
- Stress and psychological pressure
Work in pursuit of close deadlines is always stressful. However, stress is sometimes stimulating and useful. Short and not too frequent stress mobilizes the physical and intellectual resources of the procrastinator and gives the ability to better focus on the task. In a state of mild stress because of the close deadline, all the unresolved problems associated with the task become seemingly transparent, the inability to write the first sentence of the factual article easily change with unbridled inspiration, etc. But these can only be obtained if they cause stress not very often.
In most cases, procrastinators live in chronic stress and attempt to catch up with numerous deadlines. Of course, sometimes it leads to failure. And chronic stress, on the contrary, reduces the people’s capacity to cope with difficult tasks, control emotions, concentrate attention, etc. Often, driving yourself in a situation of the critical closeness of the deadlines with the work that had to be performed earlier means to nourish the feeling of exhaustion, anxiety, excitement, which can hardly be characterized as useful or enjoyable and can cause more issues in the future.
- The task could be done better
Some work can be done simply, and some are desirable to perform well and qualitatively. Both can be done at the last moment before the deadline, but in the case of tasks that need to be performed well, a little time to perform can significantly degrade the quality. Thus, in one study of academic procrastination, the surveyed college students confirmed the thesis and showed that delaying a certain task “to the last moment” led to not very good results. Students-procrastinators had done their assignments worse than they could if they would have more time. Thus, by procrastinating, we often deprive ourselves of the possibility of doing something better and do our assignments just “to make it done,” even if the best version is spinning in our minds.
- Lost opportunities
In addition to the missed chance of doing something better by procrastinating, we are also losing the potential of self-development because of the fear of failure.
- A sense of guilt and shame
The psychological aspects result that the feeling of shame and guilt is marked by the vast majority of procrastinators. Such experiences, although not critical, they are subjectively unpleasant and tend to form the general mood and emotional background and effects other spheres of human life. And those feelings are only an introduction to person self-estimate.
How to overcome procrastination?
- Do only things you like. You may have no problem with procrastination, but you’re your work. Perhaps it is time to change the profession if it continues for too long. And of course, it just might be a task for which you need to find a lot of power to overcome. But, please, don’t take pressure on yourself.
- First half an hour of a new day spend on a work you need to do. Are you familiar with the situation when you go to FB / Twitter for 5 minutes, and these 5 minutes turn into 5 hours? The first 30 minutes of each day should be occupied. Start checking and writing your mail/ message later. If there are problems with 30 minutes, then start and hold for 10 minutes — this should be enough for you to concentrate.
- Convince yourself. There are two reasons for procrastination: difficulty and distraction. They both have the same voice that says to start in 5 minutes. Such miscarriage reduces stress, but this is what is called procrastination. Next time try to assure you that other things can wait. You will see, this is just an impulse decision of the brain. It is a natural process.
- Block provocative external things. Even if you know that distracting on social networks / TV is not worth it, you still will have a chance of breaking, and it will lead to a production loss time. In order not to interfere with Internet factors, use RescueTime, StayFocusd or Freedom to restrict your access to some web pages or to the Web in general.
- Do not concentrate on perfection. One of the reasons for procrastination is the difficulty in carrying out a task. To do that task later is like a hook for all people. It is considered to be common and can badly affect on the task we need to do. Often, we so deeply want to do everything perfectly, that we have no desire to do such work at all. Instead of concentrating on the perfect performance, just start doing things.
- Set date and time. If you cannot force yourself to go somewhere, start writing in your diary any important meeting, or walk, and go, without looking at anything. Do not miss a meeting with a friend even if you are a bit tired. Live here and now and don’t be a procrastinator.
As a conclusion, I would like to recommend you to start, finally, do what you dreamed about, start to run, start reading books, build a new friendship, improve romantic relationships, change your unlucky work, start to master a new sphere—these are things that in fact have neither deadlines nor clear performance indicators, but which affects on the quality of our lives and our chance of happiness. Don’t try to find any excuses and causes. This is not just a work that we often postpone for later; it is something that matters to us as well as what we would like to be and what kind of life we would like to live. It is not just “another motivational speech.” If you think about it with all seriousness and responsibility for your own future, this can be a strong motivation to try to change something and live your life to the full.