Ray-Zee

Procrastination is a problem so timeless that humans have been battling it for centuries. But how amazing it is to see that even after all this time, more than twenty percent of the population is under the spell of habitual procrastination. Meaning they are aware of their negative patterns, still, they choose to put off the task just because they don’t feel like doing it. 

Procrastination – What It Is & How To Move Past It

Procrastination is a problem so timeless that humans have been battling it for centuries. But how amazing it is to see that even after all this time, more than twenty percent of the population is under the spell of habitual procrastination. Meaning they are aware of their negative patterns, still, they choose to put off the task just because they don’t feel like doing it. 

procrastination

A downward spiral that makes you your own worst enemy is all set to destroy your life. It makes you miss out on the opportunities you might have at your fingertips, creates obstacles to your success, puts you in a self-destructive mode, and blankets your competence with hesitation and failures. Therefore, buckle up before it’s too late. Let’s find out every possible detail about procrastination and how we can overcome it to do better in life. 

What is Procrastination? 

When you can’t persuade yourself to focus on the “important tasks”, instead you find ways to keep yourself distracted in other trivial activities is a classic example of procrastination. In other words, it is an act of putting off or delaying tasks until the very last minute or sometimes even past the deadline. 

Often mistaken as laziness, procrastination can be self-sabotaging, as it has a very high potential to ruin your progress with just a few thoughts and mood changes. If you are planning to organize your cabinets just to distract yourself from working out, then you cannot call it laziness. However, it is possible for people to just sleep, watch Netflix, scroll through their social media for hours, or do nothing at all when they should be focusing on the actual tasks at hand. I can see why procrastination can be perceived as laziness. But did you notice how procrastination can make you waste your valuable time for absolutely no valid reason?

And the bonus is that you will also regret the lost time. Recent studies have proved that people genuinely regret not choosing to do the right task at the right time. These feelings of failure and regret tend to also stick longer than any feelings of achievement or accomplishment. Either way, procrastination causes more loss and no good at all. 

Why Do We Feel So Bad After Procrastinating? 

Procrastination has a distinct ability to make us feel rotten about ourselves.  

There is much more to procrastination than voluntarily delaying. It is about doing something against our better judgment – as suggested by the ancient Greek work akrasia. People who find themselves in this spiral are inflicting self-harm. Doing what we shouldn’t be doing is the reason we feel so bad. They begin to engage in self-blame more frequently. Disengaging from anyone and anything that may propose otherwise becomes a common habit. Plus, over time, procrastinators destroy their self-compassion and self-esteem by failing to commit to healthy habits. 

Acknowledging the task in question, knowing how important it is, yet, deciding to avoid it against your best judgment leaves a negative imprint on your life. You willingly decide to let the opportunity slip away just to enjoy a short-term mood fix. That short-term mood fix turns into regret and a sense of failure later on. You feel angry at yourself for not completing the task when it was due. You have no one to blame but yourself for your failures. Now, because of your senseless choice or temporary mood fix, you are facing problems and losses. 

What Causes Procrastination?

An emotional regulation issue that is induced by negative emotions. People procrastinate because they do not have a proper way to channel their feelings and emotions. They find it would be best to delay tasks that may cause further boredom, frustration, insecurities, self-doubt, resentment, failures, and beyond. 

A few essential factors that add up to procrastination may include:

Fleeting motivation

In most cases, procrastination comes across as a common behavioral pattern that people give in to at some point in their life. I doubt that there is a person who did everything they had to do at the right time. People assume that a lack of willpower causes procrastination. But one of the biggest factors that contribute to procrastination is motivation. 

The thing about waiting for the right time to complete a certain task—is a scam. We know it well enough that “that” time never comes. Think about it, the task you said you will do on Monday, did you? Probably Not. That may have been because you weren’t motivated enough to tackle the task at hand. So, you thought it would be best to set it to a time when you feel like doing it rather than doing it now. 

Overthinking your choices

The lack of ability to decide what needs your attention first can also lead to procrastination. In today’s life, we are presented with multiple choices. In other words, we have the autonomy to choose what we want to do. This was considered to be a happier style of living as it handed the control back into the hand of the people. 

But it ended up being one of the biggest contributors to procrastination. People find it difficult to compare all the choices, with a fear of picking the wrong option. Instead, they become overwhelmed and find themselves not being able to decide any option fully. Hence, they end up doing nothing at all. 

Underestimating the time

We have limited time on the earth. And the people who have a lot to do should make the most of the available time. The amazing thing about our life on earth is that we don’t know when it can end. Although this is a cold fact, we seem to ignore it most of the time. 

Knowing that time is the most valuable, the ones who fail to understand its importance end up procrastinating. The inability to manage your time efficiently often results in unfinished and untouched tasks that just mountain upon you, making your condition even worse than before. 

Lack of personal vision

When you have no idea about what you are supposed to do with your life short-term or long-term, chances are that you will turn towards procrastination. This last point sums up the causes I mentioned above. 

A lack of personal vision – not knowing your strengths, and weaknesses, and not being able to steer through your life with a clear goal can make you feel lost. No matter the kind of life you have, without a proper vision in place, you will not be able to make the most of the day. instead, you will end up feeling angry and frustrated most of the time for not understanding what you are meant to do. 

How To Overcome Procrastination For A Better Life?

Overcoming the challenge called procrastination is not a one-day battle. It requires time and commitment for long-term success. A unique thing about procrastinators is that they are great at storing the information they received without processing it. 

procrastination

You can get a million-dollar therapy, read stellar books, or watch a thousand videos about how not to procrastinate. But all will go in vain if you fail to incorporate the important stuff you learned about, in your life. Understanding that you need to work to get where you want to be is the first thing you should be focusing on. 

Success doesn’t come to people who don’t work towards their goals.

1. Scratch the long-term goals!

Having a never-ending things-to-do list for the next 10, 5, or even 1 year is nothing but a haunting sight for your procrastinating self. Instead, try daily to-do lists. Jotting down the tasks that seem urgent today will streamline your focus. It will save your energy, schedule your day, save time, and you will be able to achieve much more in a day with less stress and anxiety. 

Get your Free Goal Worksheet Here: Free Resources

2. Have a meeting with yourself!

Understanding yourself is perhaps one of the most important things, regardless of being a procrastinator. It helps to highlight your cracks and fill them with gold. I understand that it is hard to come face to face with your weaknesses and accept them. However, it is significant if you want to take control of your life. Learn about your strengths and weaknesses so that you know where to employ your abilities and how to overcome your flaws. 

3. Learn a new skill:

Sometimes, when you lack a skill required to complete a particular job, it is easier to just put the task on hold until you learn that skill. And when will you do that? Probably nowhere in the near future. Hence, it all boils down to procrastination once again. Therefore, try to learn new skill sets required to fulfill the task at hand. It will not only solve your current problems but will also help in the future. 

4. Bigger Better Offer.

Breaking the addiction to procrastination is a journey that can lead to the worst impacts when done wrong. The bigger better offer suggests that you need to convince your brain that there are better options than procrastinating. It’s all an internal matter. Focusing on the goods that “not-procrastinating” will bring might help bring you closer to the path of success. Think about all the great stuff that getting the job done will bring, and all the not-so-great stuff that not doing the job shall have. Once you do that, there should be a clear idea in your mind. Do not stall and get on working right away.  

5. Know the enemy.

Procrastination is self-sabotaging. Procrastinator is well-aware of what they are doing with their choices. It doesn’t long for thoughts like self-hate, disgust, and accepting oneself as a failure to creep in. So, what do you do? You accept your lacking. Research has shown that people who accepted their procrastinating behaviors in the past did well in the next tasks. Probably because they understood the losses that came with procrastinating. 

6. Break the habits!

Using procrastination to your advantage is a very smart move. You already know what your patterns of procrastination are. Therefore, it should be easier for you to avoid those. For example, if you check your social media every 10 minutes to deviate from the task at hand, then try keeping your phone away (on silent) while you are working on something important. Or, if you feel like falling asleep every time you start working on a project, then try working at a place where you can’t sleep. All in all, your aim should be to create obstacles in the way of procrastinating. 

Great and Free Printables to break the cycle of Procrastination: Get them all on our Facebook page. 

Building A Clear System Against Procrastination

Having a simple, yet effective system in place prevents you from slithering back to procrastination time and time again. The goals are not as critical as building a system that works against your will to procrastinate.

The system that worked for me to overcome procrastination is the Ivy Lee Method. It is a 100-year-old strategy that can help to decide what should be your priorities to make the most of your day. 

  1. At the end of each day, write six of the most significant tasks that you have to accomplish tomorrow. The trick here is to think and write about only six tasks and not more than that.
  2. Once you are done writing the tasks, take the time to prioritize them based on their importance.
  3. When you start the next day, focus only on the top task first. Do not let yourself wander on the list looking and overthinking about other tasks. 
  4. Follow the list according to the ranking strictly. 
  5. At the end of the day, allow yourself to feel happy about the task accomplished and move the unfinished tasks to the next day. 
  6. Repeat the same every day. 

The Ivy Lee method works great because it reduces decision fatigue. It is low maintenance, removes the friction of starting a task, saves you time, and forces you to focus only on the top priority tasks. 

Take Away

Procrastination is a common human behavior. The problem begins when it becomes a part of your lifestyle. Given all the facts, procrastination is existential and internal. It all depends on your life choices about how you would like to spend your time. 

Training your brain in your favor is the best thing you can do. You see, your brain is a very powerful machine. Powerful enough to control you instead and destroy everything at hand. Procrastination is exactly that!

Learn your patterns and work through them to cultivate a life that makes you happy. It’s not always about work and money. Just make sure that you are satisfied and content with the choices you made.  

Now, after 2099 words in this article, go and finish the work you were thinking about doing before you ended up here. I don’t want to deviate you from the “important tasks at hand” any further. 

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