Understanding procrastination and tips on how to overcome it
Procrastination, n. – doing something more enjoyable or that you’re more comfortable with, instead of something you should be focusing on right now.
If you say that you have never procrastinated in your life, you are lying. There is a chance that you are reading my post instead of doing something more important to you. I had just about enough of the irony of battling with procrastination, while trying to write this text on it and how to beat it. It was sitting there for days saved as a draft, waiting for me to come around and finish it.
Why do procrastinators procrastinate, and how does it affect their productivity?
Procrastinators focus only on the present, ignoring lessons from the past and disregarding the future. They think only about maximizing the ease and pleasure of the current moment. For some people, it can be a minor problem while for others it is a source of permanent stress and anxiety. And not only does it stress the procrastinator, but also it can leave a significant impact on interpersonal relations with people who work with them, decreasing the overall productivity of the team.
The problem is that procrastinator is often remarkably optimistic about his ability to complete a task on a tight deadline, which is usually accompanied by expressions of reassurance that everything is under control. The main issue lies in the fact that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they just spend their time doing marginally useful things.
How can we beat procrastination?
When trying to beat procrastination, people often follow exactly the wrong tack. They tend to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have fewer things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them all done. This is contrary to the procrastinators nature, and it destroys their most important source of motivation.
Here are 3 things you must do in order to beat the annoying habit of procrastination:
1. Admit to yourself that you are procrastinating. A lot of people who procrastinate are not aware of it. I was the ignorant one until I started using our very own WorkPuls. The app showed me that every day, when I’d come to the office, the first thing I would do is read news, check my social media, read tons of emails, etc., despite the fact that I’d have much more important things to do. The moment I realized it, I started making an effort to minimize the procrastination in my life.
2. Figure out why are you doing it. People procrastinate for different reasons. Some of them find the task unpleasant, some are overwhelmed by it, some are just disorganized, while a significant amount of people believes that they work the best when facing a deadline. You will have to dig deep inside and see what’s making you procrastinate. Be honest with yourself, because only if you know the real source, you will be able to deal with it right.
3. Implement Anti-procrastination strategies. Procrastination is a habit, which means you won’t break it overnight. There is no such thing as a “single best way to beat procrastination”. You will have to figure your strategy yourself in order to break your own habit. Here are some activities your strategy might include:
- Make a “To-Do” list
- Create an action plan and stick to it
- Measure your productivity
- Face the difficult stuff first
- Set time goals
- Block out distractions
- Plan your breaks
- Don’t be a perfectionist
- Motivate yourself
- Reward yourself
- Get an accomplice
What are the benefits of overcoming procrastination?
If you ever manage to control yourself enough to fight this natural tendency of humankind, you are about to achieve peace of mind, a feeling of strength and purpose, and healthy feeling of being in charge of your life and work. While procrastination makes you feel weak, useless, and helpless, taking charge of your life will make you feel strong, competent, and capable. So stop reading articles about how to overcome procrastination and just get to work!