Procrastination offers an illusion of freedom. It makes us believe that we have countless hours at our disposal but in the end it steals them from us. We are fascinated by the promise of a carefree game but all it offers us is a “Dark Playground”. This playground has the same fun activities as a real playground but since you should not be there, the experience is loaded with guilt and anxiety.
The procrastinator has a false sense of security. He feels optimistic that everything is under control, so there is plenty of time for laziness. It often underestimates the time it takes to complete an obligation, e.g. estimates it will take 30 minutes and takes 2 hours to complete.
This is why procrastination is like a credit card: it is easy to use and fun to use at first but then the bill comes with interest and the payment is made with feelings of fear, anxiety, and disgust for ourselves.
However, it is difficult to break the habit of inaction because it is self-sustaining. A good grade (or sometimes just a grade above the base) is proof that the system we are following is working and that performance under pressure is necessary and effective. Unfortunately, the cost of procrastination is not only the time we waste, but also the strengthening of the misconception that the work we have to do can only be unpleasant.
Also, the procrastinator while becoming experienced in avoidance fails to develop important skills such as planning, organization, thought development, and attention to detail.
The cure for this problem is difficult because procrastination is an attempt to address deeper problems that we may not have realized, such as anger, perfectionism, and self-doubt. Although procrastination temporarily relieves the stress associated with these problems, the deeper causes remain.
Why do we postpone things and situations despite their importance to us?
According to Vanden Heuvel, the Pleasure Principle may be responsible for procrastination. One may prefer to avoid negative emotions and delay tasks that cause stress. The idea that one works better under pressure is an additional incentive to postpone work.
Some psychologists see this behavior as a way to deal with stress, which is associated with starting or completing any task or decision. Other psychologists suggest that stress is just as likely to lead to an early start to work, so the focus should be on impulsivity. That is, stress will cause a person to delay, only if he is impulsive.
CAUSES OF PROCRASTINATION
What are the main reasons why we postpone an action?
- We do not want to do things that we do not like or that upset us in any way. For example, we postpone a visit to the doctor, because we do not want to deal with a potentially negative situation, but we want to continue to feel good.
- Often our intentions and/or our goal are unclear or not strong enough to motivate us. This diet, which always starts on Monday, is a classic example of procrastination.
- Our attention is easily distracted. We will write, for example, the letter we need, after first responding to the friend’s message, reading an email, checking Facebook, seeing what the weather will be like tomorrow… and suddenly the day has passed and the letter has not been written yet.
- We postpone things out of fear because, for example, we think we do not have the strengths and skills needed or we are worried about the results of possible action or initiative. In general, fear – the anxiety of failure – is a factor that holds us back.
- Of course, self-deception also plays an important role. That is, the little lies we tell ourselves not to start a job, not to tidy up our space, to avoid a meeting with a friend or acquaintance, not even to deal with simple everyday things that if accumulated we know the stress that will cause us.
HOW TO OVERCOME PROCRASTINATION
Procrastination is what we all do. We usually do this to avoid a job that is unpleasant or difficult for us.
Some things we need to do require a lot of time and effort and may be related to changing long-term behaviors or beliefs.
Other things are very specific that require our action only once. When procrastination begins to affect our quality of life and causes us anxiety, fear, laziness, or irresponsibility, then it is time to overcome it.
Here are 5 steps you can take to begin the process of overcoming procrastination
1. Recognize the challenge
Start by writing down the specific task you have postponed. It could be a difficult conversation with a family member, dealing with a bad habit, or planning that date that you have avoided. Writing down what you have to do will help you focus on completing it.
2. Locate and deal with your emotions
What prevents you from doing this job? Behind obstacles are usually hidden one or more of the three basic emotions. You may be afraid of the time it takes and the sacrifice you have to make (fear). Or you are indignant because you have to do this when you think it is not necessary ( anger ).
Or you bother blaming yourself so much for not being motivated (sadness). But instead of being trapped, look at the act of procrastination for what it really is: an emotional reaction.
It is helpful to know that these three emotions – sadness, anger, and fear – are related to your energy. . Take some time with yourself to express your feelings constructively.
Sadness is expressed through crying, anger through punches or voices on a pillow, and fear through touring to channel it to allow yourself to express emotion. The energy is diffused and you will not feel stuck afterward. It is like letting the steam escape from a pressure cooker.
3. Clear your mind
There are two steps in this process. First, make your goal clear in what you want to do. Good planning is the foundation of success for most of our goals. It is useful to write it down so that you have a direct reference. For example, I want to end with this . . I feel lighter when I exercise regularly. If you have a clear and precise idea of your goal, then it will keep you focused and help you stay motivated.
Second, identify the thoughts that are sabotaging you and are ready to attack you suddenly in a weak moment. Next, come up with a couple of truths that contradict these thoughts. For example, if you keep saying to yourself, ‘ I will never be able to learn all this,’ you could say to yourself, ‘ I can do it,’ or if others could and did learn it, I can. This is a simple truth. To overcome the frustration you feel about doing this project, you could say: I do it for myself.
4. Plan: break your goal into a series of small, achievable steps
You have envisioned the project, you have dealt with what is holding you back and you have corrected your destructive thinking. Completing the task requires calculating a logical step-by-step plan and deciding when to start. Write your plan.
Once you have a project structure, take a step back and imagine the obstacles that may arise during the project. For each scenario, have a tactic ready that will help you support your plan. You may also want to find someone to help you with your efforts and with whom you can monitor your progress on a regular basis.
5. Just do it
After all this preparation, it is time to do the work that you have postponed. Before you do, acknowledge your feelings, whether they are anger, fear, or sadness. Just take a minute or two and release the accumulated emotion in a natural and constructive way. Without the emotional energy stopping you, you will feel ready to make the leap and you will be amazed at how easy it is, as you will focus only on one step at a time.
As you take action, you are likely to encounter resistance, in the form of excuses, bad moods, and discouragement. Face resistance with perseverance and stubbornness and continue to deal with any emotions that come to the surface.
At this point in the process, it is important to repeat your truths and remember your purpose. Repeat them until they are ready in your mind: I can do it. I will feel better when I’m done with it. Each time you are tempted to postpone the project, focus on the goal.
Cheers to productivity