An Easy to follow Guide on How to Overcome Procrastination
What is procrastination?
It is an act of cancelling or putting off a certain task or chores. Every person procrastinates sometimes, but some people deliberately seek distractions and/or habitually elude difficult tasks.
In an attempt to convince themselves that procrastination also does something good, a number of procrastinators may boldly declare that they can perform better under pressure.
No procrastinator will admit that such reasoning is one of their best methods to delay their task or not do it at all. However, no one can deny that procrastination can make you unproductive.
Instead of doing a lot in a matter of minutes, you end up being idle for a long time.
Procrastination is a kind of challenge or obstacle that anyone must overcome. You need to know what causes procrastination in order to properly address the problem.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to overcome procrastination. Treat it as enemy that you need to conquer and keep under control.
Understanding Your Procrastination?
To understand an enemy, you need to have an ample understanding about it first in order to devise a plan regarding the ways to defeat it.
You need to start with the basics and dig deeper as you go along. In this case, you need to know the meaning of procrastination, the reasons for its existence or emergence, its causes, and how to overcome it.
For centuries, humans have already been procrastinating. Such action has been carried to the modern time. It is considered a timeless problem that the ancient Greek philosophers like Aristotle and Socrates even came up with a word to describe such behavior – akrasia.
Akrasia occurs when you act contrary to your better judgment. It is when you know that you must do an important task, but still insisted on doing the other less important thing. In the modern time, akrasia can be loosely translated as lack of self-control or procrastination.
It is the act of delaying a work is considered procrastination. You can be more productive if you can finish a certain task ahead of time and start a new one.
You need to keep this in mind: procrastination must never rule over your life.
Don’t give in to it no matter what happens.
There are things that you can do to beat procrastination.
What Causes Procrastination?
Lets look more deeply into the causes of procrastination.
There are four main causes of procrastination, and you need to think long and hard to determine the main culprit in your case. It is recommended to have a pen and paper ready and take note if a particular cause applies in your case. The more you understand what causes procrastination, the easier it becomes to deal with it.
1. Fear of Failure
There are people whose fear of failing to correctly do a certain task ends up taking so much time figuring out a way to avoid such outcome. Although they have a clear plan on how to do that particular task, their fear of failure hinders them to proceed.
Procrastination can give comfort when you don’t want to face possible failure. It gives you a guarantee that you won’t experience failure since you do not attempt to complete the task. On the other hand, not doing anything when there’s a task that needs to get done can also be considered a failure.
To break free from such predicament, you need to understand and accept that failure is a natural occurrence and should not be regarded as something fatal.
Majority of the errors can be fixed, and you can always get another chance to correct any mistake. Realize that mistakes do happen and there is always a way to correct any error.
2. Perfectionist to the Core
Being a perfectionist is not really a bad thing, but it can pave way to procrastination.
The self-confessed perfectionist often finds it difficult to deliver or perform the action that must be applied or used on a particular task when she is not certain that the end result is satisfactory.
If you are a perfectionist, then this becomes troublesome when you need to try something new or different from your usual practice. Your perfectionist mindset can prevent you from taking the necessary action because you worry that you may never be able to reach the same output that warrants your approval. The delay may cause negative impact on the entire operation.
Your desire to achieve perfection may be noble, but failure to deliver on time can be considered negligence on your part.
You need to aim to do your best and find contentment with the output, which may not be the best form but still without any error. Learn to accept that a perfect result is practically non-existent.
3. Low Energy
If you lack the needed energy to perform a certain task, then you may end up procrastinating. Your unhealthy lifestyle may have something to do with your low energy levels.
Make a quick assessment of your activities, diet, and habits to see the things that contribute a lot in your depleting energy.
You must exert an effort in developing healthier lifestyle. You may need to experiment with your diet, exercise routines, and sleep habits.
You can also try to consult a professional to help you create a balanced lifestyle that can provide you with high energy throughout the day.
4. Lack of Concentration
Lack of focus or concentration can make you procrastinate.
It is difficult to carry on when you don’t know the direction or path that you must follow. You can never reach your end point when you can’t clearly see where to go.
You can gain your focus back by setting attainable and inspirational goals. It is important to set your bar at the height where you can be encouraged to take action without making you think about failing.
Set a good goal that will motivate you to take action and make you proud of your achievement.
The Phenomenon Called Time Inconsistency
Learning the definition of procrastination is not enough to get to know it better. You’ve just seen a glimpse of what procrastination is.
There are still a lot of things that you need to explore like what is going on in your brain that makes you evade the task that you need to accomplish first?
Behavioral psychology studies have uncovered the phenomenon known as time inconsistency.
It explains the mystery behind procrastination’s undeniable strength to pull a person and make him do things that are against his good intentions. Time inconsistency exists when a human brain finds immediate rewards as something that hold greater value than future rewards.
To illustrate, imagine that you have a clone that exists at the same time as you. In essence, you and your clone are the same person. For the purpose of establishing clear identification, one will be named Current Self (you at present) and the other is Future Self (you in the future).
When you set goals, like preventing the appearance of wrinkles or learning to trade, you are drafting plans for Future Self. You are envisioning the life that you want to have or should be like in the future.
The researchers have discovered that when you start making plans for your future self, it is rather easy for your brain to appreciate the beauty of doing the action with long-term benefits. Future Self puts more value to the long-term rewards than the short-term or immediate benefits.
While the Future Self has the ability to set the goals, only the Current Self can deliver the necessary action.
When the time to make a decision finally arrives, you are not making a choice for Future Self. Since you are in the present moment, you brain’s main focus of concern is your Current Self.
Researchers also discovered that the Present Self is fond of instantaneous gratification and it is not interested in long-term rewards.
The Current Self and the Future Self often clash. The Future Self wants to be fit and healthy, but the Current Self wants to eat different slices of cakes.
Everyone knows that eating healthy today can avoid being overweight in the future. However, the Current Self may not take the long-term benefit into consideration when it is earnest to try the different varieties of cakes today.
The Current Self may even argue that there would be no more cake sampling in the future.
Similarly, a lot of young people know how crucial it is to save for their retirement while they are still in their 20s and 30s. However, the rewards can only be reaped after several decades.
It is much easier for the Current Self to invest in a good pair of shoes than save money for the 70-year old Future Self.
This explains why you may go to bed feeling highly motivated about the plans for your Future Self and carry out the changes that you need to do, but wake up in the morning without any trace of last night’s motivations.
How To Overcome Time Inconsistency
There’s no way to motivate your Current Self with the long-term benefits and rewards – it will always look for the immediate gratification.
What you need to do is find a way to deliver the future benefits into the present. Turn the future consequences into current consequences.
The moment you have finally moved beyond procrastination and take the plunge, you are making the future consequences become your current ones. From being idle, you have crossed the action line and no longer procrastinating.
Steps To Overcome Procrastination
If you have been a procrastinator for as long as you know, then you are still lucky that there are things that you can do regarding how to overcome procrastination. It is not too late to stop procrastinating and start being productive.
1. Structure your time.
Creating a schedule for your daily activities can help a lot to motivate you to do the different activities according to schedule. You will also learn to become more responsible.
Following a schedule also helps your brain to follow a system that can help you achieve your mini goals. Time management is extremely important.
Make sure to put some allowances in your schedule in case an untoward incident occurs. That way, you can still proceed on schedule without the need to adjust everything just to accommodate the sudden change.
2. Keep yourself motivated.
Make sure to keep your initial enthusiasm so you can start and finish your work without trouble. Remind yourself about the goals that you have set.