We all face procrastination at some point in our life. It is a human tendency to delay and postpone work. You procrastinate deliberately despite knowing the fact that it has negative consequences. It reduces your productivity and success level.
In this article, I will cover what procrastination means and how you can overcome it instantly.
What is Procrastination?
The word procrastination originated from the Latin word procrastinatus.
‘Pro’ means forward, and ‘crastinatus’ means tomorrow.
It can be defined as the habit of delaying things or upcoming events that need an immediate response or attention.
It is a battle between the two parts of a brain, one who wants to complete the task on time and the second who decides to cancel it by calling it an unpleasant activity.
As a procrastinator, you cancel important tasks for long periods and focus more on low priority activities. It lowers your success rate as you lose focus. Procrastinating for long periods can lead to demotivation, anxiety, stress, and depression.
Let us now discuss how to overcome procrastination using a simple three-step process.
Step #1: Are you a Procrastinator or not?
You are a procrastinator if you avoid things that require action. You do not plan and delay the task for some other time.
Here are a few dominating traits of procrastinators:
Pleasure seekers: You are not ready to work hard. You are lazy and give up early as you want to enjoy your present. You are more concerned about short term pleasures and neglect your future.
The perfectionist: You want to be a perfectionist. You repeatedly do the task till it becomes perfect. You waste your precious time. Your productivity level goes down. You are not able to accomplish your goal within the stipulated time.
The researcher: You want to gain enough knowledge before starting to work. You want to know everything before doing it. You read a lot about the task and never start working to gain practical experience. You do not apply the information you have gathered.
The multitasker: You try to perform many tasks at a time. You jump from one task to another. In this way, you get confused and are not able to finish any task that you started.
The self-degrader: You are not confident about your abilities. You always underestimate your strengths and, hence your level of achievement is low.
The disorganizer: You lack organizational skills. You cannot plan your daily, weekly, or monthly activities effectively.
If you have these traits in your personality, then you are a procrastinator.
Let us now discuss a few reasons that lead to procrastination.
Step #2: Reasons for Procrastination
If you want to overcome procrastination, then you must know the reason behind it. You will be able to evaluate yourself deeply.
Here are a few reasons behind procrastination:
Fear of failure: Fear is one of the most crucial excuses for not attempting the task. You doubt your abilities and are afraid to move forward. It does not mean you cannot accomplish a task. It means you have high self-esteem or ego and cannot face criticism if you fail.
Lack of Work Ethics: You are not disciplined and dedicated to your work. You are not ready to move out of your comfort zone to achieve your goals and fulfill your dreams.
Perfectionism: If you desire to do everything accurately, it will delay your project. It becomes boring and never ends.
Daydreaming: You dream to perform something but never do it in reality. You lose focus and waste your valuable working hours. You feel demotivated and sad when your imagination does not turn into reality.
Decision making: You cannot prioritize tasks according to their level of importance. You are confused, get distracted easily, and are not able to meet deadlines.
Low self-esteem: You lack self-confidence and are hypersensitive. You develop negative thoughts about yourself and for people around you. You compare yourself to others and do not have enough belief in your strengths.
Lack of work experience: If you have less work experience, then also you might procrastinate.
Distraction: You get distracted easily. For example, you check emails, social media accounts, and messages several times. You focus on easy-to-do tasks and take several breaks while doing work. It reduces your attention span.
Step #3: Techniques to Stop Procrastination
Plan your work: Create a to-do list. Prioritize tasks in the decreasing order of importance.
Hard tasks require more energy and concentration. So, complete them first when you are fresh. You won’t be able to do them when you are tired. Along with a to-do list, create a not-to-do list containing less important activities. Schedule them for later completion. Also, you can outsource a few of them. It will save you time, and you can focus on high priority tasks.
Simplify your work: Divide a lengthy task into small doable parts. Set a short deadline for each one. In this way, you will focus on doing and not avoid them. Also, complete the task that you start. Set a timer and do not leave it mid-way. Also, create a new to-do list every day.
Remove distractions: Find the place where you can concentrate on your work. Clean your surroundings and remove things that distract you, such as photo frames, awards, unused stationery, etc.
Also, keep your phone on silent mode or away from you. It is one of the biggest distractions these days.
Declutter: Whether it is your mind or to-do list, get rid of unnecessary stuff. Unsubscribe to useless YouTube channels, emails, uninstall apps that you no longer use.
Turn off app notifications that bother you while you are working. You will feel relaxed.
Accountability partner: Studies show that people who have an accountability partner do not give up easily. The person with whom you have a deep understanding can help you to complete your task. You cannot go back after committing. Once you commit to someone, you do not want to fail and work to prove yourself.
Work on yourself: Make a balance between your mental and physical health. Just like your body, your mind too needs rest. Whenever you feel demotivated or tired take a break. You can also take a break from your daily activities, such as cleaning, shopping, laundry, etc.
A few things you can do to rejuvenate yourself are:
- Go for a morning walk.
- Do yoga or meditation.
- Listen to motivational speech or spiritual music.
- Hang out with friends.
You can choose an activity according to your choice.
Reward Yourself: After completing small tasks, reward yourself. When you have a reward waiting at the end of action, you put in a lot of effort. Attach your action to an outcome to perform better. Rewards create a sense of pleasure, and you feel happy and energized. But rewards need not be lavish. You can reward yourself by buying yourself a snack or a gift, sleeping a little more, watching your favorite show, or by visiting a spa.
Procrastination can block your road to success. It can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, job loss, and reduce productivity.
It is essential to identify if you are procrastinating, analyze the reason behind it, and plan out a strategy to get rid of it.
Do you ever experience procrastination in your life?
Were you able to overcome it?
What measures did you take?
Share your views in the comments below.
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 Shubhra Sanag
Risha Khan from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh on January 25, 2021:
Great article, Shubra!! We procrastinate tasks on a daily basis. I can relate to a lot of points that you have mentioned in your article. I get distracted very easily and strive for perfectionism. I am learning to set prioritize them these days. You shared quite helpful insights. Keep writing and all the best!!!
Preeti Shah from Delhi on January 18, 2021:
Procrastination is a huge problem faced by the people.
You have explained how to overcome it in an easy to understand way.
Great work, Shubhra. Keep writing.
Amit Masih from Jaipur, India on January 18, 2021:
This is a great piece of writing, Shubhra! You’ve explained it very effectively.
Keep up the good work! I would love to read your articles in the future as well.