Preye Raymond is a leading content writer, who enjoys discussing topics relating to self-improvement, self-education and social issues.
We are all creatures of habit. Oftentimes not the good kind, and procrastination is one of them.
Sometimes, I can’t help but think that these words: ‘I would do it later’ or ‘I would do it tomorrow’ are naturally imprinted in our tongues. Sounds ridiculous? Perhaps, but the way we often use them says otherwise.
Joseph Ferrari, author of “Still Procrastinating?: The No Regret Guide to Getting It Done” discovered that over 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators.
According to him:
“That’s higher than depression, higher than phobia, higher than panic attacks and alcoholism. And yet all of those are considered legitimate...”
Chronic procrastination doesn’t respect anyone. It doesn’t regard race, status, gender, or age. We are all susceptible.
The Psychology Behind Why We Procrastinate
Aside the mundane distractions, short attention span and multitasking, there are deeper issues and complications that causes procrastination, and some of these issues are:
a) Being Emotionally Imbalanced while Working
We often procrastinate because of the inability to regulate or control our moods and emotions when working on important and daunting tasks.
There is always pressure associated with working on such tasks, that we are quick to shove them off when faced with challenges, until we are in the right frame of mind or energy to continue.
In most cases, we put them off for a long time or we just abandon them altogether.
It is part of human nature to always engage in comfortable, exciting, and fun-filled activities than partake in boring or difficult ones.
For these reasons, our minds are quick to give up on things that don’t spike or retain our dopamine.
b)The Initial Thrill of Taking on a Task
At first, it seems motivating to start a task or activity with our hands in the air, chiming “I can do it” but as we get in-depth, we begin to notice that the task is far from what we initially bargained for.
This realization begins to slow down enthusiasm and productivity rate towards engaging in that activity, which makes procrastinating an easy option.
c) Self-esteem Issues
People with low self-esteem are chronic procrastinators. They always harbor feelings like; “I can’t do this, I don’t have the strength or ability”.
Insecurities contributes to lack of self-esteem or confidence, but a more damaging effect is that it hinders us from achieving or accomplishing a task, goals, etc, because of a mindset ruined by scarcity.
Let’s discuss the six viable ways to stop procrastinating and increase productivity rate.
I) Acknowledge that Procrastinating is a Problem that Requires Solution.
Most people find it difficult to admit that they are procrastinators. Some don’t even see it as a big deal, besides; ‘everyone procrastinates’.
If you have read this solution on other content platforms, and you are reading it here, then it is high time you do some serious soul-searching, because this is a very important step you need to take to break free from procrastination or any other problem in general.
Like all chronic issues, the act of procrastinating tends to get worse when it is trivialized.
If you find yourself in such a situation, humbly acknowledge the issue and reflect on how it has affected you, then seek to remedy the situation.
II) Prevent Yourself from Information Overload
Information overload is real, and can be overwhelming. With constant technological advancements and social trends, information overload is something we have to deal with everyday of our lives.
Having access to too much information disperses our focus and make us indecisive to take important actions.
Decision-making ,focusing on a particular task and finishing it before the deadline becomes stressful and difficult, because we are ruminating over several choices instigated by the amount of information we are exposed to.
Problems are not solved by the amount of information you consume. As a matter of fact, when you always chase after information, you rarely take action and you can easily procrastinate whatever you already have going.
Less is more, and making good use of the information you already know will: strengthen your focus, cut-down distractions, improve workflow, and stop you from always procrastinating.
According to the analytic philosopher Wittgenstein:
“The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have known since long”.
III) ‘Shred that Task to Pieces’
All tasks are not created equal, and not all can fit into a schedule, hence it is important to weigh the difficulty level of each task with a scale, figuratively speaking.
Break down those that are more difficult, yet important, into pieces and tackle each piece gradually.
Some self-help experts and influencers usually suggest - leaving the difficult tasks for last. I don’t know the extent of how that works, but doing that still sounds like procrastination (which is doing something later, or leaving it for last).
For instance, If you are writing a book , write a minimum of 3 pages and a maximum of 5 pages daily, especially if you are just starting.
Let’s assume you go for a minimum of 3 pages daily, in a week you have 21 pages, which is good enough for a chapter.
The same goes for those who are content writers. Writing quality contents that can be featured on online platforms and publications requires consistent effort and skill.
I came up with a 4-day writing plan that can help you improve your consistency and focus without having to relapse or procrastinate, see the table below:
Gather your research and thoughts on the subject-matter, and create an outline.
Writing and organizing your content.
Selecting the visuals or photos you want to use for your content (although this should not take much time, except you are designing the pictures yourself).
Edit, Proofread and Publish.
This plan can be applied to any project or task, for example; creating a website, developing a software, designing a course, creating a YouTube video or podcast, creating a webinar, etc..
It is all about taking it one step at a time. It may still feel uncomfortable and stressful, but at least it is simple knowing that - ‘I just have 3 pages to write in my book daily’ or ‘I just have 30 minutes or 1 hour to write a new code for my software’.
A quick side note; It is also important to break down your goals into bits.
Like I mentioned earlier, there is always pressure associated with taking on a task and setting goals, that if not controlled diligently, can cause you to burnout.
Therefore, you need to be weary of this, and learn to categorize your goals into stages.
IV) Manage Your Excitement & Expectations when Starting a Task
While discussing reasons why people procrastinate earlier, we established that starting a new task or activity can be thrilling and exciting until the actual process begins.
Therefore, It is significant to have a calming and observant sense when picking up a new challenge or task.
You stand a better chance of analyzing the task better, shredding it down to workable sizes, and set a reasonable deadline to accomplish it.
During your analysis, if it is a task that may not be feasible to finish within the stipulated deadline or a task beyond your capacity, then you can either hire a professional on the job, or get extra support from a friend or co-worker.
Don’t allow excitement and thrill lead you into a task or project that becomes burdensome along the line. It can make you abandon it for good.
Take enough time to weigh your options and chances before starting the task.
V) Improving Self-Confidence
You really can’t leave this out of the equation. Confidence is the key to achieving, and unlocking discipline.
Suppress the thoughts that say-“I am not good enough to finish this” , see yourself beyond and above every task.
Confidence is all the motivation you need to stop procrastinating.
Nobody was born confident, but with experience and constant self-reflection it becomes possible.
Let’s go over some quick self-reflection tips that can help boost your confidence:
- Always reflect back on where you are coming from and where you are going.
- Remember that If you don’t get the job done, no one would get it done for you.
- If you don’t have confidence in yourself, don’t expect others to have confidence in you.
- Because things are hard and difficult doesn’t make them impossible.
- Your insecurities are all in your head. Any insecurity that is not in your head can be fixed.
VI) Relax when You Should,Work when You Should
It is all about maintaining a balance. A proper ‘work and play’ ethics. Working long hours or at a stretch can make you procrastinate some task, especially when you are not getting enough rest inbetween.
Sadly, being a workaholic doesn't necessarily make you productive or successful. Some people always claim to be busy but never get any concrete thing done.
I digress, but am sure I got my point across. However, taking breaks shouldn’t be an excuse to procrastinate, you have to be cautious of the thin-line between relaxing and procrastinating.
Don’t procrastinate because you want to relax. Relax because it is included in your daily routine or plan.
In conclusion, these are 6 practical ways for dealing with procrastination. In addition, It is also important to visit a licensed therapist once in a while for proper counseling to help you reduce the rate at which you procrastinate if the situation becomes uncontrollable and intensely chronic.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Preye Raymond
Preye Raymond (author) from Nigeria on October 17, 2021:
@ChineyereOkoye Yes indeed, that is one major reason people don’t get things done when they are supposed to.
Some of them have the ability but the confidence is lacking.
Thanks for engaging.
Chinyere Okoye from Anambra ,Awka on October 17, 2021:
If you don’t have confidence in yourself, don’t expect others to have confidence in you.
You are making a point here. I believe some people do not believe in what they can offer.