Have you ever woken up energized, confident and happy about the activities you’re going to carry out in a day, then after sometime you just don’t feel like completing those tasks anymore?
Or do you find yourself stalling, spending more time than on things like scrolling through social media, coffee breaks, and tasks that could easily be done at a later time? (unimportant stuff)
If this sounds a little like you..
Then, you’re probably procrastinating.
the action of delaying or postponing something.
Procrastination is one thing most of us have battled with at a time in our life. A researcher even found that 95 percent of us procrastinate to some degree. It may feel nice to know that you’re not the only one procrastinating but there’s a lot we can all achieve if we found a simple way to deal with procrastination.
Photo by magnet.me on Unsplash
Procrastination and Laziness
Often, people confuse procrastinating with laziness because they have similar connotations. In reality, they are two very different terms.
Laziness is not wanting to do something at all. You’re inactive, unwilling and display some level of apathy. Procrastination on the other hand is an ongoing process where you do something else instead of the task to be completed at a certain time.
When you procrastinate, you tend to ignore an important task that you probably find unpleasant or tedious in favour of a task that is easier and probably more exciting.
Procrastination is not without its consequences though. Because when you procrastinate, you end up rushing the ignored task, feeling guilty and turning in shabby work. You may miss your goals too because you didn’t do the right thing at the right time.
Procrastination can then give way to laziness and cost you much more than your job or position at work.
How to Beat Procrastination
Procrastination is not a permanent condition and can be overcome with intentional action. I’ve outlined a few steps to help you conquer procrastination going forward.
- Recognize that you’re Procrastinating
The first step in overcoming procrastination is knowing when you’re procrastinating. You can’t solve a problem you’re unaware of. If you decide to put something off indefinitely or start another task just to avoid completing one, you’re procrastinating. But if you leave a task to carry out one that is more pressing, you probably aren’t.
There are other ways you could procrastinate. A few examples are:
- Leaving an important item on your to-do for a long time without the intention of starting it soon
- Reading emails several times without doing anything about them
- Waiting for the perfect time to complete a task (there is no perfect time)
- Filling your schedule with unimportant tasks when there are more urgent ones to be carried out.
- Helping other people with tasks less important than yours often.
Photo by Brett Jordan
2. Find out why you’re Procrastinating.
For you to solve a problem, you need to understand what’s causing the problem in the first instance. There are so many reasons why you could be procrastinating.
If you find a task boring and tiring, you may end up putting off the task in favour of ones you find exciting and fun.
If you’re unsure of your ability to do something well, it’s likely that you’d put it off for other things you’re familiar with and confident about your abilities in them.
Also, perfectionists tend to procrastinate as well because they’d rather do things they’re capable of executing expertly than the ones they’re not very skilled at.
At the same time, there are people who put off tasks they’re very good at because of the fear that it would attract more work for them to do. Some people fear failure just as much as success.
Also, poor decision making can cause one to procrastinate. When you don’t know what your high priority tasks are and when to focus on them, you’re likely to push them till the very last minute.
I believe that poor organization is another common cause of procrastination. If you do not have an effective schedule and a prioritized to-do list, there are chances that you would forget important tasks that need to be carried out and more importantly, push the ones you don’t like to the end of your list.
If you think you may be procrastinating, why not try to finish the unpleasant task first so you have the rest of your time to do the things you love.
3. Overcome Procrastination with Proven Strategies
Just like any other habit, procrastination can be overcome over time. Habits can be broken by intentionally refraining from doing them. Procrastination for example, is a habit that becomes deeply rooted in one’s character over time. Breaking the habit is an ongoing process that one has to commit to. And this can be done by implementing lots of proven strategies and sticking with the one that suits you best. Consider the three listed below to help you with this.
Reward yourself. I believe strongly in incentivizing yourself with rewards to get things done. If you’ve been looking forward to getting something but haven’t had the budget for it, rewarding yourself with such things when you complete very unpleasant tasks is a strong motivation to get the task completed.
Forgive yourself for past procrastination. Beating yourself up over opportunities lost because of procrastination would just put you in a sour mood for a long time. If you choose to forgive yourself, you will feel more positive and reduce the likelihood of procrastinating again.
Have an accountability buddy. Having someone who can check up on you and your activities can be a great way to get you going on a certain task. This is why online and physical co-working spaces are on the rise. When you know someone is checking in on you, you’re likely to improve because you want to have a progress report to share the next time they come calling. You can also monitor yourself with online tools like Procraster.
I’m going to put a stop here because I don’t want to bombard you with too much information. In the next post, ( Titled: Beating procrastination 102) I’m going to discuss a few more proven strategies that would help you overcome procrastination.