Procrastination is a common problem found everywhere. It is perhaps present inside almost every one of us. Often we want to get rid of or overcome it but we find ourselves at a loss. There is no easy solution and you have to remember that human mind is not a science or mathematic equation that you can find an exact solution to any of its problems. In this post, I am going to talk about the problem and I will also try to give some tips. I hope that you find the post useful.
What is procrastination?
Before moving further, I want to give you a definition of procrastination from Dictionary.com:
the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention: She was smart, but her constant procrastination led her to be late with almost every assignment.
So, the definition is very clear and I perhaps do not need to analyze it a lot. The basic thing related to procrastination is that you have to do something now or today or in a fixed period of time (deadline) but you don’t. You either don’t do anything at all during that time (which is rare) or you do something else (which is common) which has no value or irrelevant to your educational life, career, health or happiness. It is surely a bad habit.
Why it is bad?
It is bad because it seriously hurts our educational life, personal life (health and happiness) and career both in the short and long term. If you run away from your assignments and projects then they won’t just simply disappear. There is 90% possibility that they will pile up and make your life miserable and you will achieve a grand failure. At the same time, procrastination ensures that you will suffer from stress and guilt. So, in short, you will just lose every way. If you avoid your important works today then tomorrow they will just become double.
Analyze your problem:
Before anything, first talk to yourself. Do you suffer from procrastination? Is it a major problem in your life?
It is wrong to assume that all of us would have common ways of avoiding work. May be some of us, waste a lot of time or have the habit of checking emails, social networks after every two hours. Some of us may become too much addicted to sports, TV or movie and we neglect our real works and education.
Make a daily routine:
Yes, after suffering from years of procrastination and indiscipline life, I know realize the value of a daily routine. Just sit with a pen and paper and make a plan for the next 5-6 hours. If possible then plan for today or tomorrow. It is not that you will be able to complete the tasks that you are planning but just writing the plan is a good start in your fight against procrastination. If you are suffering a lot from this problem then you will notice that even making a daily plan will become some tough. You may get busy with watching TV or making tea or coffee.
Don’t make very ambitious goals:
Alright, I have listened to my own advice and made a plan for the next 8 hours. Well, making the plan was some difficult at first because I had the strong urge to check the latest news in BBC or CNN instead of making the plan. The actual process took just 10 minutes. Anyway, I have noticed that my plan it too ambitious and I have only 10% possibility of achieving it. If I just decrease 20% work in the plan then I have 70% possibility that I would become successful in doing all the things that I have planned.
Don’t feel guilty as you are not lazy:
Whatever you do, just don’t mix up procrastination with laziness. So, don’t feel guilty for it. If you feel guilty then you will just suffer for the wrong reason and it will not bring any good for you. Instead, you will suffer more emotionally and it will become difficult for you overcome procrastination. When you suffer from procrastination, sometimes you work even harder but for the wrong and less important tasks. Laziness means that by nature you do not like hard work. You just want to avoid working and do nothing.
It is a common problem:
To make you feel better, I just want to state that procrastination is a common problem for people all over the world. I am quoiting from Psychology Today:
You should know that everyone in their lives procrastinates sometimes. However, 20 percent of people simply or chronically tries to avoid difficult tasks. Furthermore, they deliberately look for distractions—which, unfortunately, are increasingly available. Procrastination in a large sense reflects our perennial struggle with our self-control along with our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day.
So, it is a common problem and if you suffer from it then there is no reason to panic. Of course, if you have chronic problem then you should get professional help.
Address any health issue or external Factor:
For many months, I felt that I was suffering from procrastination. Now, I understand that it was not really procrastination. As my health was weak, I could not focus on anything difficult and I wanted to run away from work. I just could not even write a single blog post. I realized that I need to rest totally and I needed to try for not doing anything. You may suffer from depression or you may have too much pressure in life. So, address any external factor first if you want to overcome procrastination.
Nobody is perfect:
When we get too much obsessed with perfection and end up getting frustrated then there is a good possibility that we will procrastinate. We may develop a fear of failure and this may keep us from trying. Just remember that nobody is perfect. Even a gymnast who scores perfect 10 in Olympics have to practice for years and had many failures. What the gymnast has done is that s/he has kept on trying and then achieved this perfect score of 10. There is no guarantee that he would get this perfect score in the event. However, s/he will not quit.
Forget everything and take a real break:
I am not asking to run from an emergency situation but sometimes, when your life is really messed up, taking a break from everything may really help you. You see procrastination means that you do the unimportant or trivial things instead of doing your real job or studies. If you just take a real break from even the unimportant and trivial things then you may find your has become empty and fresh and you are back to business. Even if it does not work, you have nothing to lose as you already have not cleaned your room for one month or have not worked on your novel for one year.
Move slowly but solidly:
You see, if I really try hard then I can write this entry within 60-90 minutes. However, I said to myself that I will finish it in 4 hours. This post will have around 17-1800 words. I have excellent typing skill but if I tried to finish it within 90 minutes then I would suffer pressure and stress and most probably, I would not have finished it. However, by doing it 4 hours, I will not get tired or stressed and I will be able to write something tomorrow. Because of spending 4 hours, I could read a lot of content in different websites about this topic.
You cannot compete against the whole world:
From my own personal experience, I have noticed that competition is good as long as it is healthy. However, when you get obsessed with it then sooner or later you will break down. You cannot compete against the whole world. When you break down then you become afraid to try. So, don’t get obsessed with competition. Try to accept defeat as a natural part of the game or life.
Procrastination in Student Life:
This is a deadly issue for students everywhere. Often they find that they have time for everything else except studying. Hating homework is a common trait everywhere. I feel that there should be more counseling facilities especially for university students. Getting distracted is very easy and just giving lessons about the importance of discipline normally does not work most of the time. In fact, procrastination in student life is such a big problem it really deserves another post which I hope to write in future.
Procrastination in Career:
When you are doing a job then procrastination is a fatal quality that only brings you misery. Just imagine yourself in the position of your boss. Will you be happy with a sub-ordinate who procrastinates a lot? If you skip important tasks then others suffer along with you and the company suffers. The modern production system is based on division of labor. So, if you do not do your part properly then others will suffer.
Finally, I just want to say that procrastination is a very bad thing and if you feel that you are suffering from it and it is hurting your education or career then you really should seek support either from your family or friends or from a professionally qualified person in this field. There is no magic solution to this problem. There is no short cut in life either. You have to do what you have to do.