Procrastination is a very common practice affecting most of the human population. The practice is associated with both negative and positive consequences. For example, constant procrastination can lead to poor performance, increased stress, anxiety, and missed deadlines. This is common in students as they tend to postpone studying for exams and completing assignments in favor of doing something else. Procrastination can become a permanent problem if not addressed at its onset.
In contrast, procrastination can have positive outcomes, such as increased creativity due to the extra time taken to think by the brain. Additionally, when you procrastinate, you have more time to acquire the resources needed to complete a project. For original thinkers, inventors and entrepreneurs, procrastination can be harnessed as a tool toward success.
In this article we talk about:
- What Is Procrastination?
- Why Do I Procrastinate So Much?
- What Causes Procrastination?
- How To stop Procrastinating?
What Is Procrastination?
Procrastination refers to voluntarily putting off completing a specific activity despite the knowledge that such an act could result in some negative consequences. Due to its highly negative nature, procrastination is often associated with feelings of inadequacy, depression, guilt, and low self-esteem. However, procrastination is not similar to laziness. Laziness describes the person’s lack of interest in doing anything, while procrastination involves a person choosing to do another activity that they find more interesting or less stressful. Moreover, procrastination can either have negative or positive effects depending on the person’s intent, while laziness leads only to negative consequences.
Why Do I Procrastinate So Much?
To help you answer why can’t i stop procrastinating, you need to discover what type of procrastinator you are. There are various types of procrastinators, depending on the procrastination motivation. Here, we will look at the four main types of procrastinators. Foremost, there’s the worrier, who puts off doing activities due to their fear of failure. The fear of failure often leads to anxiety and can cause you not even to attempt the activity at all. Like the worrier, we have the perfectionists, who wait until the time is right and acquire everything they require before taking on an activity. However, waiting too long can make you miss project completion deadlines altogether.
Next, we have the over bookers, people who commit to numerous activities they cannot handle, thus, are forced to procrastinate. Finally, there are the novelty seekers. These people are always on the lookout for something exciting, thus, tend to get bored with mundane activities, procrastinating them in favor of something new, fun, and exciting. You can find out what type of procrastinator you are from the types of procrastinators listed above to discover the underlying cause of your behavior.
What Causes Procrastination?
what is the main cause of procrastination
There are a variety of causes for procrastination. The main cause of the behavior is the fear of failing the task, especially important tasks. This fear increases our anxiety levels and causes us to procrastinate to eliminate the fear and negativity. However, procrastination only postpones the inevitable because you have to face the situation at a later time. In worst cases, procrastination can make you not attempt the task, which is a failure. Other causes of procrastination include:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of criticism
- Low self-esteem
- A tendency to self-defeat
- Trouble focusing
- Waiting until the last minute
- Task aversion
- Resisting challenges
- Decision fatigue
- Difficulty defining goals
- A disconnect with the future self
- Lack of energy
Finding out what causes you to procrastinate can help you learn and apply the best procrastination management strategy. For example, suppose you have trouble focusing which causes you to procrastinate. In that case, you can eliminate the distractions in your surroundings, such as turning off the television and your phone, enabling you to concentrate on important tasks.
How To stop Procrastinating
There are various ways that you can adopt to stop the procrastination habit. The method you choose for how to avoid procrastination depends on the causes of procrastination and personal preference. Moreover, these methods’ effectiveness depends on the person’s willingness to commit to the changes. These methods can be used individually or in combination to produce desired results. The methods to stop procrastination include:
Create and Complete a Daily Plan
A daily plan allows you to schedule your activities throughout the day. You can list all the activities you need to complete and allocate the best time to complete them. A daily plan is important as it helps guide your actions and motivates you to complete all the activities listed to achieve a sense of fulfillment.
Prioritise Whats Important
What you deem most important is a matter of personal preference and circumstances. For example, studying for examinations is important to students as it determines their academic performance. Therefore, just like how students need to prioritize studying for examinations, you should also prioritize your life with what’s important to you, as this will stop procrastination.
Eat The Frog First
Eat the frog first means complete the harder tasks first, then complete the easier tasks. We tend to postpone the hard tasks requiring more effort and time input. By tackling the hard tasks first, you will have an easier time completing the remaining tasks, and you will not be tempted to procrastinate.
Practice Positive Affirmations
Procrastination has been linked to depression, self-esteem, and guilt, issues that affect our mental health. We can improve our mental health by regularly and constantly practicing positive affirmations. These include words like “I can do this,” “This task is very easy,” and “I will succeed if I start now.” These positive words can build our self-confidence and motivate us to get started.
Create a Just Do It Attitude
A just-do-it attitude encourages us to start and complete a task without overthinking it. Without overthinking, we eliminate unnecessary worries about whether we will succeed in completing the task or if we will fail. Essentially, the just-do-it attitude enables us to take the first step in completing the tasks.
Having numerous distractions in your surroundings can cause you to have trouble focusing, leading to procrastination. By reducing the distractions from our immediate surroundings, we can focus on the tasks we need to accomplish. If you cannot eliminate distractions from your surroundings, you can find a quiet place to attempt your tasks.
Break Down Into Smaller Tasks
When large tasks seem overwhelming, they can cause us to procrastinate. However, we can combat this issue by breaking tasks into smaller ones to make them more manageable and less stressful. For example, suppose you have four days to complete a project. In that case, you can allocate each day of the week to complete a certain portion of the project, such as day 1 (research), day 2 (interviews), day 3 (rough draft compilation), and day 4 (final presentation).In turn this helps you overcome overwhelm.
Set A Realistic Timeframe To Complete
To reduce stress and anxiety about certain tasks, we need to set a realistic time frame to complete the tasks comfortably. Allocating too much time to a task can tempt us to procrastinate, and allocating too little time can cause us unnecessary pressure and stress, which can also cause us to procrastinate. Finding the right balance of times will help you deal with uncertainty and is key to reducing procrastination.
And That’s How To Stop Procastination
Procrastination is a prevalent problem in our society, whose causes range from fear of the unknown to task aversion. Identifying the causes of procrastination in your life is recommended to determine the best way to resolve them. We can reduce procrastination by creating a daily plan, breaking down tasks, allocating adequate time, and prioritizing the hard and important tasks.