Procrastination, the act of delaying or postponing your duties, unnecessarily, without any valid reasoning. An irrational behavior, that most professional individuals, including students suffer from. But how do we overcome this conscious yet such uncontrollable desire to procrastinate.
To overcome this problem, or any problem in general it is necessary to understand it’s root. And eventually have a formulated and a well calculated plan to tackle it. Fortunately for you, this article provides you with all the necessary information needed to tackle this nasty, desperate, constant cycle of procrastination.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
An important question to consider for the reason that, taking action without identifying what factors contribute to the problem will result in misdirected efforts, and that wastes time and resources. Efficiency is the key to productivity! Procrastination has a lot to do with emotional self-regulation, particularly, the incompetency to control negative emotions around a particular task or a goal. The task may be unpleasant or an individual may feel insecure about handling the task, this may be due to low self-esteem, anxiety, fear, distress and guilt! All of this adds up to fear of failure, if you’re afraid of failing at your tasks, you will inevitably procrastinate.
We postpone our duties because we think that we have a lot of time. A situation where you are given a seemingly longer deadline than what was required. This lack of urgency doesn’t have that adrenaline-backed excitation and intensity as when you have less amount of time. This of course leads to you postponing tasks till you get to a point where it gets urgent, and eventually not having enough time to complete the tasks efficiently, hence leading to a low-quality outcome than what was desired initially.
Lack Of Self-respect
This factor is particularly applicable to your personal ambitions, where you won’t be held accountable for your lack of apathy, it’s just you and your aspirations. Let’s assume a situation. You are assigned an errand by your teacher or by someone who has authority over you, perhaps your parents, now you will, without question get the task done as expected. But this is not the case when you set a goal for yourself, something like working on a side project that you have been meaning to do. Now this lack of a higher authority leaves you no one to be held accountable by, but yourself which does not work since you don’t have that element of self-respect, which of course gives you an infinite room to slack.
How To Overcome Procrastination?
1) Awareness, Self-knowledge And Assessment.
This is probably the most impactful thing that you can do in order to deal with this stress and anxiety fueled issue. Take a step back and realize the reasons behind you procrastinating. Now this is a very subjective thing, what makes person ‘A’ procrastinate may or may not make you procrastinate. So, you need recognize these habits, thoughts and physical things that lead you to shirking your duties. This can be your phone, video games etc. After you have brought these things into light, work on how you can eradicate these distractions during your work time
In the case specific to students and the youth, mobile phones are the biggest factor that leads you to procrastinate. There are many things you can do to restrain yourself from getting distracted by your phones. For instance; don’t charge your phone fully, keep your phone switched off in another room or away from your reach, the extra effort of charging your phone or getting up to get your phone provides an ‘effort barrier’ between you and your distraction, your phone in this case. This method of ‘effort barrier’ can be applied to practically anything. Having a clean, distraction free surrounding should allow you to be more productive in your work
2) Organization And Punctuality
You are way more likely to procrastinate when you don’t have a set plan to go about your duties. So, take some time and make an organized and a balanced plan that works for you, experiment with different timetables to find out what works for you. Make sure you are tracking your work and constantly setting goals for the future. Importantly, goals that are realistic to your capacity, as having overwhelmingly far-fetched goals will only lead you to the cycle of negative emotions discussed prior. And a point to remember is that, perfectionism does not exist, nothing can be perfect and this constant endeavor to reach an abstract concept that is perfection, will only lead you to lowering your self-esteem. The point is to try to be real with yourself and have a balanced orderliness in your work, hence giving you a clear-cut path on how you should tackle your duties.
All of the things mentioned would mean absolutely nothing if you are not persistent with your approach. Persistence gives you vital experience. When you’re persistent, you learn that each failure gives you another opportunity to learn. With each failure, you’ll become more resilient. You’ll also learn how you can overcome any challenges. In the case of students, they can reinforce a view of intelligence as malleable, or changeable, provide frequent and specific feedback to students on their academic progress, and encourage students to reflect on their own experiences with overcoming challenges and succeeding. In summary, persistence leads you to be better at your craft which, in turn, makes you more productive
A powerful trait, self-respect is a feeling of confidence and pride in your own ability, knowing your worth, giving yourself the authority to be accountable to yourself. The first step to have this liberating trait is to be encouraging and kind to yourself. Be appreciative of yourself, have a healthy, calm mindset, as opposed to a harsh self-deprecating one. Focus of your positives, be optimistic no matter how bad the situation may be, have a healthy life-style and most importantly stop letting other people dictate your life! Having this sense of self respect, knowing that you can hold yourself accountable for the lack of competence will give you a reason to be more responsible and not procrastinate. Performance equates to your ability which is a product of your self-worth. Thus, having high sense of self-respect or self-worth allows us to trust our ability to complete our tasks and also authorizes us to be more truthful to ourselves.
To Sum Up....
With everything being said, there is no perfect set guidelines that one can follow to avoid procrastination and it is okay to sometimes give yourself some room to lean back to. It is not something that can be avoided by just sheer force of will. Because of the frailty of memory and our inability to know the future, procrastination is a natural human trait which rectifies these weaknesses. However, following the advices provided should give you an idea of how to be as efficient and productive as you can, and hopefully keep the procrastination to the minimum!