All about Procrastination

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Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado,

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably struggled with procrastination before. This doesn’t mean you’re a procrastinator. Most people faced this dreaded feeling at least a few times in their lives. Even the most successful person has probably dealt with procrastination on some occasion. With all of that in mind, here’s some facts about procrastination that you probably didn’t know about.

“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Procrastination is not the same as bad organization.

When people are faced with procrastination, they often complain. When they complain, they often get advice. This is advice is often to simply manage their tasks better. This advice is often worthless to them. A procrastinator may be a person who’s bad at organization, but they may also be an absolute min-maxing genius. Even the procrastinator may believe that lack of time or a poor schedule is to blame, but it is never the case. This is usually evident when other tasks you’ve accounted for go smoothly, only for your whole plan to fall apart when it’s time to do what you’re procrastinating over. Guess what – it’s not because the plan was bad, it’s because you never really planned for that final task. When you procrastinate, you will often take measures (almost subconsciously) to not do that one dreaded task. If this means making a schedule you know it won’t fit in, or otherwise disguising that you won’t budge with good intensions, then so be it – says the brain.

Procrastination can cause physical sensations.

This fact’s rather simple but knowing what’s going on may help you beat procrastination easier. When a procrastinator thinks about the task they’re putting off, they feel unwell. This can range from the more emotional – guilt, despair, fear…to very real pain. That’s right, sometimes the procrastinator is so disgusted, conflicted or terrified of what they need to do that it will literally hurt them to think about it. Suffice to say, the brain is once again responsible. This is a defense mechanism that tries to make you avoid bad decisions. Thing is, for the brain, an activity that you suffered doing (or that it knows you’ll suffer doing) is a bad decision! Therefore it does its best to convince you that avoiding it is, in fact, very wise.

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie

Procrastination is tied with physical symptoms.

Procrastinators are known to suffer from insomnia and tend to catch diseases more often than most. Their immune systems are in a worse state during the period of procrastination than during other times. A chronic procrastinator may find themselves being rather weak physically.

Procrastination influences your personality.

It feels terrible to procrastinate. You’ll probably be quite mad at yourself for succumbing to procrastination. You’ll also most likely feel helpless about the whole thing. When people feel helpless, they act more erratic than usual. From anger, to sadness, to panic – procrastinating can completely change the impressions that you give and thus affect people around you as well. It has ruined relationships, ended jobs and started a thousand bad habits.

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand—and melting like a snowflake.” – Francis Bacon

There’re several types of procrastination.

Procrastination comes in many flavors. It may cause you to only start working right before the deadline – this usually means that you simply hate the type of work with a passion. It may cause you to avoid the task at all times and try not to think of it – this means you fear failure or believe you aren’t qualified for the task. There’re also more situational types of procrastination, often tied with avoiding guilt or interaction with others. Either way, it’s important to properly identify what exactly it is that you’re feeling, instead of simply giving in.

Procrastination makes you lie to yourself.

What is a lie? Surely you can’t lie to yourself – that’s just a myth! Well, procrastination disagrees. As we’ve mentioned above, the feeling is awful – so awful that it can invoke physical pain. To counteract this, the procrastinator almost subconsciously avoids whatever they’ve linked to the feeling. The reason lying to yourself works is that you won’t ever tell yourself facts set-in-stone. If you suddenly have a thought about the moon really being cheese, you’ll immediately know that’s false, but if you tell yourself that this assignment should be delayed for tomorrow, that’s not hard to believe, is it now… Even if you know for sure that you should do your task immediately, procrastination makes it incredibly easy to tell yourself otherwise. The fact that no one else is there to disagree, and that there’s often no evidence other than your own thoughts that it’s false, often means that you won’t even classify it as a lie.

It makes you distract yourself, too.

When you don’t have procrastination behind your back, you might even struggle with finding things to do. When it creeps up on you, however, you’ll most-likely find that there’s a thousand little activities just waiting for your attention. Listen to a song, take a walk, get some food, play a game, check your mail, call a friend – it never ends. Most of these activities are short and more often than not – won’t accomplish anything. It’s this kind of activity that serves as the perfect distraction from whatever is causing your procrastination. The procrastinator finds themselves chaining together dozens of these tiny activities until time runs out, making their situation worse.

We hope that you’ve learned something from these procrastination facts. The first step of beating procrastination is knowing exactly what’s happening to you. Perhaps you’re closer to that after reading this, or maybe you were simply interested in learning more about the phenomenon. Either way, hope you enjoyed reading.

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