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Practical Ways to Overcome Procrastination

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Practical ways to overcome procrastination


You have something important that you should be doing. However, instead of doing work, you're fiddling around with miscellaneous things like chatting with your friends, checking emails, social media, and surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you don't just feel like doing anything. We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon.
When we procrastinate, we squander away our leisure time and put off important tasks that we should be doing till it's too late. And when it is indeed late, we panic and wish we had started earlier. Procrastination is making a decision for no valid reason to delay or not complete a task or goal you've committed to, and instead doing something of lesser importance despite the negative consequences of not following through on the original task or goal. It is important to remember that everyone procrastinates. However, problematic procrastination can be distinguished from more general procrastination by how bad the negative consequences are of our not following through on things.

In most cases, procrastination is not a sign of serious problems. It is a common tendency that most people to give in at some point or another.

Why do we put things off?


We often come up with a number of excuses or rationalizations to justify our behavior. People procrastinate for different reasons. Sometimes it results from pressure in your social environment, from friends or pressure from family, maybe while growing up in a rigid household. For example, expectations for high performance from parents can make people put off projects out of fear of failure or criticism.
Some of the reasons why we procrastinate include:
I'm not in the mood to do it.
Perfectionism Uncertainty about what needs to be done; Fear of failure
Depression, inability to concentrate
Waiting until the last minute
•Decision fatigue; a lack of energy; the belief that you can finish it at the last possible moment
• a lack of initiative to start; forgetfulness; waiting for the right time or moment; and needing time to think about the task

5 Reasons for Procrastination and How to Overcome Them


Remember that time you thought you had a week left to finish a project that was really due the next day? What about the time you decide not to do your housework because a friend has invited you to a party? We often assume that projects won't take an as long time to finish as they really will, which can lead to a false sense of security when we believe that we still have plenty of time to complete these tasks.
One of the biggest factors contributing to procrastination is the notion that we have to feel inspired or motivated to work on a task at a particular moment.
The following are factors that cause procrastination and how we can deal with them.
1) The task's length, size, or complexity
A big, complex task can make you feel that you can't accomplish the task. Complex tasks can make you question your skills. Long projects are amorphous and need to be broken down into smaller chunks.
What you can do
BREAK IT DOWN INTO SMALL STEPS
A large project can feel like climbing a mountain or hill. However, when you chunk the project down into small steps, the mountain seems to shrink in size, helping you cope with it more efficiently and productively.
Ask a friend, sibling, or someone you trust to help you think through and organize the steps. Just be careful to avoid the trap of becoming so focused on the details that you don't make any progress.
2) Distraction
Distractions are everywhere, from your house to your school, workplace, or even your electronic devices. You can become tempted to postpone your work just because there is noise in your workplace or you find something interesting on your phone and you can't help but keep looking through your phone.
What you can do

MINIMIZE DISTRACTION BY SECLUDING YOURSELF


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You can separate yourself from other people by staying in a quiet place.

Disconnect from the Internet and power off your cell phone if you have to. Check e-mail and voicemail at a set interval instead of randomly checking them every few minutes. Find a quiet place where you can concentrate on your task. Also, be aware of internal distractions that can affect your ability to concentrate.
3) Depression
Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and lack of energy can make it difficult to start (and finish) the simplest task. Depression can also lead to self-doubt. When you can't figure out how to tackle a project or feel insecure about your abilities, you might find it easier to put it off.
What you can do
REPLACE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS

Thoughts and feelings are very powerful. When you talk to yourself positively and gently and remind yourself of your recent success, it can be easier to take action. In contrast, when you are stuck in a negative mode, it can be hard to break out of the avoidance cycle.
4) Absence of motivation
Sometimes we just feel like sitting down on the couch, chatting with friends, or watching TV. It's true, we may not have the passion or motivation to start a particular task at hand, so we decide to just play around.
Even with a task you enjoy, it is hard for a procrastinator to start. Part of this may be explained by our reptilian ancient brain. On a contemporary social level, we know that performing said task would be beneficial.
The caveman part of our brain, however, having been fed, watered, and sexed knows no reason to expend extra energy on tasks not necessary for its survival. Therefore, the thought of sitting in your pants watching TV is more appealing than sweating away in a gym.
What you can do

PRETEND TO BE MOTIVATED
You may be able to trick yourself into feeling motivated by changing your behavior. Act as if you feel motivated, and your actions may change your emotions.
For example, rather than sitting on the couch all day waiting for motivation to strike, get dressed and get moving. You might find that taking action will increase your motivation, which makes it easier to keep going.
5) A difficult assignment
You probably have some tasks that you don't enjoy or like doing because they're so tedious. Often, the thought of doing these tasks is far more off-putting than the reality.
What you can do
PAIR A DREADED TASK WITH SOMETHING YOU ENJOY DOING

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Your emotions play a major role in your motivation level. If you're bored, sad, lonely, or anxious, your desire to tackle a tough challenge or complete a tedious task will suffer.
Boost your mood by adding a little fun to something you're not motivated to do, like:
listening to your favorite music while you run; calling a friend and talking while you're cleaning the house; turning on your favorite show while you're folding laundry.
You'll feel happier, and you might even look forward to doing the task when it's regularly paired with something fun. Make sure that your fun doesn't impair your performance.

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