What is procrastination?
The action of postponing or an escapist attitude is called procrastination. We all have at least dallied with dallying, but some have made it a way of life. Not surprisingly, 80-95% of college students procrastinate, 75% consider themselves procrastinators and approximately 50% procrastinate consistently.
It is as plain as day that procrastination involves the voluntary choice of task over other options. Hence, the nature of procrastination is not irrational at all, but it is the direct result of the nature of the task itself, which affects our decisions in one way or another.
How does procrastination affect our life?
Procrastination covers different dangers and negative consequences, including lower academic achievements, lower financial status, worse mental and physical health, and reduced welfare.
Many of these concerns tend to occur together, and some of them can cause or intensify others. For instance, procrastination can lead to stress or even a higher level of anxiety, resulting in rotten academic and job performance or, even worse, mental and physical health issues.
Moreover, procrastination can entail interpersonal relationship issues. For example, if you continually fail to complete your part of shared assignments on time, it is a serious matter. Or, if you always postpone taking care of chores around the house, it can become frustrating for your family and friends.
In a nutshell, procrastination can affect our lives in many different negative ways. It can cause people to miss out on essential opportunities, can delay personal growth, or can increase chaos and regret.
Reasons for procrastinating
Many predictable environmental factors lead to procrastination. But some of the most prevalent reasons for what causes procrastination comprise:
Predictably, the further away an event is temporal, the less impact it has upon people’s decisions. The last-minute syndrome persists because procrastinators often claim to perform better under pressure. It scarcely works out as planned. People who wait until the eleventh hour are likely to mishaps, and unnecessary errors can compromise the quality of their work.
The actions that one finds unpleasant hint at task aversiveness. One seeks to avoid aversive stimuli. Thus the more aversive the situation, the more likely one will prevent it. However, research has shown that if people find something bothersome, they are expected to put it off. In a few words, task aversiveness predicts only task avoidance, not task delay.
Neuroticism refers to trait anxiety, worrying, or negative affect. It has been argued that some people procrastinate on tasks because they are stressful or aversive. They can find some assignments inadequate or consider them too complex and demanding. Consequently, they procrastinate due to these beliefs that generate either fear of failure, perfectionism, or self-consciousness.
How can you overcome procrastination?
The best possible manner to overcome procrastination is to use appropriate anti-procrastination techniques. But the first step that has to be taken is to identify the causes of your procrastination and select the anti-procrastination strategies that will be most effective in a particular situation.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
It is a time management system that encourages people to work with their time. You break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals refer to Pomodoros. After about four Pomodoros, you can take a more extended break of about 15-20 minutes.
You can easily download a Pomodoro timer on your phone to make things more manageable. This technique aims to infuse a sense of urgency into the tasks on the to-do list.
Be realistic about your goals
Setting your goals is a critical step, but you have to make sure that they are clear, precise, and realistic. It is more presumed to procrastinate when it comes to ambiguous goals than those clearly defined.
Maybe you’ve heard or maybe not about OKRs strategy. OKR runs for Objectives and Key Results, and it is a planning and goal-setting technique used by Google and Intel. The primary purpose is to define the measurable steps you will take toward achieving your established goals. OKRs focus on big-picture goals, and you can have multiple OKRs, but no more than five objectives with four key results each.
OKRs must be ambitious, measurable, and graded. If your set goal doesn’t stretch you, you have to change it. The primary purpose of it is to push yourself to excel. Undoubtedly, OKRs determine you to be disciplined, developing your focus thinking. It indicates whether you should keep pursuing your objectives or need to redirect your efforts.
A peculiar strategy but a rewarding one is the Ulysses Pact. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? The name springs from the clever hero of the Trojan War, and the whole idea behind the Ulysses Pact is to hold yourself liable to stick with a goal even when it’s not a piece of cake.
Let’s presume that you want to stick to a plan of going to the gym three days a week with a friend. You could give your friend €10 as an assurance that you will persevere with going to the gym. Otherwise, your friend can cash the money and use it if you miss a workout with them.
To put it briefly, the Ulysses Pact helps you keep up with high motivation even when things get complicated.
All of us tend to avoid unpleasant or stressful critical tasks and replace them with less important ones. Indeed, procrastination limits our productivity. Even if it’s closely linked to the mood, it can be overcome using some effective strategies like those mentioned above.
Identifying why we procrastinate and replacing self-defeating thoughts with more flourishing ones helps us cope with procrastination. Moreover, learning new behavioral strategies will give us a boost in hitting the jackpot.