How to Stop Your Procrastination Problem
Procrastination Problems have many sources and many consequences, but many people are unaware they’re doing it. These pages will give you an insight into the reasons as well as strategies for dealing with them. Here you may identify the cause of your Procrastination Problem.
” Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday!
Procrastination (or putting things off) is a way of sabotaging ourselves. We put things off for a number of reasons:
- fear of failure
- fear of the unknown
- feeling that the task is irrelevant because someone else gave it to us
- lack of the skills or abilities needed to undertake the task (or believing there is a lack)
- should we be doing this task?
- is this task taking us to where we want to go?
- some may boil down to our inability or unwillingness to exercise control over ourselves.
Like many other behaviours, a Procrastination Problem is learned behaviour rather than innate.
How many times have you:
- said to yourself “I’ll just do this first, then I’ll get down to that major task”?
- found lots of reasons for not doing something that’s urgent or important, but settled down to do something that’s trivial instead?
- looked at something and thought “That’s going to be difficult”, then ignored it until the very last minute when you finally felt yourself under extreme pressure?
I think most of us can admit to doing that at some of the time, and I think we may well have found that when we did settle down to the task, it was much easier than we anticipated, more enjoyable, quicker to resolve and not the problem we thought it would be! There’s also a sense of satisfaction when you’ve completed a task you dreaded.
There are consequences to a procrastination problem, including frustration when you know you’re doing it but you can’t stop yourself, stress, anxiety, depression and other health issues. These are internal consequences.
There can also be external, practical consequences if, for instance, you fail to deliver a piece of work to your boss or your college tutor within the time-scale agreed.
Sometimes delaying certain things isn’t so much wilful as poor judgement. We have so much on our plate that we think we can clear more things by doing the quick, easy ones first, but they may not be the most urgent or important tasks.
We may not be good at time management so we miscalculate, spend too much time on one task or part of a task and end up with little time to complete the task.
Some people are quite happy to put things off because they get a ‘rush’ of excitement by getting something done JUST before it’s about to have nasty consequences. (That’s called ‘flying by the seat of your pants!’)
This might apply to homework or a college project that’s handed in at the eleventh hour; it could be something at home, like sorting out the plumbing just before it floods the kitchen floor or before your partner threatens to leave home; it may be something to do with your work and the boss is on the warpath, but you steal his thunder by handing it in just as he’s about to vent his anger.
Some people thrive on leaving things until the last-minute and do this intentionally because it gives them the energy they need to get the job done.
But when the negative effects start to outweigh the benefits (when you start to suffer from ‘overwhelm or when the consequences are becoming serious, for example) then that’s the time to make a change in the way you tackle your tasks.
Of course, not all procrastination really matters. If you live on your own and procrastinate about the washing up piling up in the sink, as long as you don’t mind there’s no problem.
But have you ever noticed that the longer you look at something you should be doing, the more difficult it seems to appear? And the longer you put off the task, the more difficult it is to get started?
Like many other behaviours, this is learned rather than innate. Whatever its origin there are ways of overcoming procrastination – if you really want to!
Enlisting the services of a coach – if you can get around to it – would be a very positive start and a much quicker way of addressing the Procrastination problem! Meanwhile you may want to try some of my procrastination tips’.