Procrastination is the act of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.”
Is this you?
- You put off studying for tomorrow’s exam till the last minute.
- You watch a TV series instead of doing the washing, while you have no clean clothes to wear.
- You tell yourself you will go to the gym tomorrow, while you promised to go today.
- You need help to finish assignments on time and are way behind the rest of the class.
Why do people procrastinate?
Doubt: They need more confidence to pass the exam or complete the course.
Motivation: They need more intrinsic motivation to start with a task.
Fear of failure: They feel overwhelmed by the amount of work, the difficulty of the work and the fact that they might not complete it in time.
Anxiety: They may have unrealistic expectations of themselves, which causes stress should they not meet those ideals.
Short-term gratification: People choose to get the instant reward of doing something they enjoy, for example, watching a movie, rather than doing something that requires effort.
Note: A person that procrastinates is not lazy. Being lazy means apathy, inactivity and an unwillingness to act. Procrastination, on the other hand, is an active process of choosing not to do what you are supposed to do.
What is the effect of procrastination on you?
- It can cause unnecessary feelings of anxiety and guilt.
- It can cause you to feel unproductive, lazy, and ineffectual.
- Procrastination can undermine your career and restrict your potential.
The 5-minute trick to stop procrastination:
“If you don’t want to do something, make a deal with yourself to do at least five minutes of it. After five minutes, you’ll end up doing the whole thing,”
How to stop procrastination:
Admit that you are procrastinating. Try and figure out what your reasons are.
Look at the bigger picture and break big tasks into smaller manageable chunks.
If you are a student – have a calendar on your wall for every month of the year with the dates of all assignments and tests for the year. It will help you plan better. Add all dates to start a project or study for a test. It helps curb feeling overwhelmed if you know you must only complete this little for the day to stay on track.
Have a to-do list for every day. Promise yourself you won’t sleep at night before the items on your to-do list are ticked off for the day.
Effectively plan and deal with distractions like your cell phone. The best is to leave a cell phone in another room while you work. You can reward yourself after every 25 minutes you work, take a break and check for messages in a 5-minute break.
Work on your motivation. The motivation to work and study comes from within. Intrinsic motivation. You need two main ingredients to build intrinsic motivation:
The first is self-determination (believing that you have the choice and the freedom to act however you want to),
And the second is a feeling of increased competence (believing that the task will teach you something new and make you a better, more performant person).
While intrinsic motivation can be hard to foster, there are 3 steps you can take to motivate yourself:
- MOOD. Work on being positive. Suppose you are in a negative mood, practice self-care and treat yourself with something to increase your self-motivation.
- MEASURE your progress – seeing you have increased ability, knowledge, or skills is motivating.
- MEDIA. Share your progress with others – through social media or tell a friend.
Remember, it takes 21 days to create a new habit – in this case, learning to complete work before you can play.
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