Have you ever found yourself procrastinating? Have you also considered it to be one of the most stressful activities you have experienced? You may be procrastinating for several reasons: lack of knowledge, fear, low self-esteem, fear of failure, or you may just find it hard to get started.
You’re on the verge of missing a deadline. Instead of performing your job, you spend your time doing things like checking email, social media, watching movies, and surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just can’t seem to get motivated.
We’ve all experienced the phenomena of procrastination. We spend our leisure time and put off critical chores until it’s too late when we procrastinate. We panic and wish we had begun sooner when it is actually too late.
The chronic procrastinators I know have been stuck in this pattern for years. My acquaintances who are habitual procrastinators have been caught in this cycle for years. Delaying, putting things off, slacking, avoiding work, only facing work when it is inevitable, and then repeating the cycle. It’s a terrible habit that saps our energy and stops us from accomplishing our goals.
If you’re thinking about procrastination, it’s important to understand how procrastination works in order to successfully find and change behaviours that are putting you in a stressful situation.
Allowing procrastination to rule your life is not a good idea. To defeat procrastination, follow these 11 steps:
1) Divide your work into small Task
We delay in part because the task is too daunting for us. Break it down into small chunks and concentrate on one at a time. If you’re still procrastinating after breaking the task down, break it down some more. Your work will soon seem so simple that you will say to yourself, “Hey, This is so simple, I might as well just do it now!”
2) Change your surroundings
Our productivity is affected differently by diverse settings. Examine your workspace and your living space. Do they make you want to work or snuggle up and sleep? If the latter is the case, you should consider shifting your workstation.
One thing to keep in mind is that a setting that previously inspired us may lose its power with time. If that’s the case, it’s time to make some changes.
3) Make a detailed schedule that includes specific deadlines
Having only one deadline for your job is a recipe for procrastination. That’s because we think we have plenty of time and keep putting things off until it’s too late.
Break down your project (see step #1), then make an overarching schedule with deadlines for each minor activity. This way, you’ll know when you have to do each assignment. Your timetables must also be solid — if you don’t accomplish this by today, everything else you have planned after that will be jeopardized. This produces a sense of urgency to act.
4) Get Rid of Your Procrastination Roadblocks
If you find yourself delaying excessively, it might be because you make it simple for yourself to do so. Identify the browser bookmarks that consume most of your time and move them to a less accessible folder. In your email client, turn off the automated notification option. Remove any distractions from your environment.
I’m sure some individuals will cancel or deactivate their Facebook accounts to get out of the way. I believe it’s a little dramatic and excessive because dealing with procrastination is more about being aware of our behaviours than using self-binding techniques to combat them, but if you think it’s necessary, go for it.
5) Spend time with people who motivate you to act
I’m confident that if you spend 10 minutes chatting to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more motivated to take action than if you do nothing. Our actions are influenced by the individuals we are around. Of course, spending every day with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates is unlikely, but the idea holds true – The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You.
Identify the individuals, friends, or coworkers who trigger you — they’re probably the go-getters and hard workers – and spend more time with them. You’ll soon pick up on their drive and passion as well.
6) Make a Friend
Having a friend along for the ride makes the whole thing a lot more enjoyable. Your companion should ideally have his or her own set of objectives. You’ll both keep each other accountable for your objectives and strategies. While it isn’t required that you both share the same goals, it will be much better if you do so so that you may learn from each other.
I have a close buddy with whom I chat on a daily basis, and we constantly question each other about our objectives and how far we’ve come toward attaining them. Needless to say, it motivates us to keep moving forward.
7) Inform Others About Your Objectives
On a broader scale, this accomplishes the same goal as #6. Inform all of your friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and family members about your plans. Whenever you meet them now, they’ll undoubtedly inquire about your progress on those initiatives.
8) Look for someone who has already achieved the desired result
What exactly do you aim to achieve here, and who are the folks who have already done so? Go out of your way to find them and engage with them. One of the most effective motivations for action is seeing live proof that your objectives are very much feasible if you take action.
9) Re-examine your objectives
If you’ve been procrastinating for a long time, it’s possible that there’s a disconnect between what you want and what you’re presently doing. We often outgrow our goals as we learn more about ourselves, but we don’t adjust our objectives to reflect this.
Take a break from work (a short trip is ideal, but a weekend getaway or staycation would suffice) and recharge your batteries. What precisely are you hoping to accomplish? What are your options for getting there? What are the next steps? Is what you’re doing now in line with that? What can you do if that isn’t the case?
10) Stop making things more complicated than they need to be
Are you putting it off till the ideal moment? That now might not be the greatest moment for X, Y, or Z reasons? Get rid of that notion since there is no such thing as a perfect time. You will never do anything if you keep waiting for one. One of the most common causes of procrastination is perfectionism.
11) Grab ahold of the situation and get to work
It all comes down to action in the end. You may strategize, plan, and hypothesize all you want, but nothing will happen unless you take action. I occasionally receive readers and clients who keep moaning about their problems but, at the end of the day, refuse to take action.
Is procrastination a mental illness?
To know whether procrastination is a mental illness, you need to look at both biological and psychological causes. When the brain is unable to complete tasks, it is often referred to as a “breakdown” or “failure to maintain attention.”
The word “breakdown” does not imply the illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. This is called functional disorder and is usually caused by one or more of the following: fatigue, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This could be considered a mental illness if it persists for a long time or continues to affect your ability to work, live or attend school.
Some people think of procrastination as being due to a lack of willpower and motivation. In reality, it is caused by an inability of the brain to complete tasks. So if you suffer from procrastination, you have likely experienced brain breakdown.
In simple terms, procrastination means delaying or putting off the thing you should do in order to attend to more important or enjoyable activities. To make matters worse, when you delay completing a task, you will probably have less time to complete it at a later date.
Procrastination is not a mental illness in and of itself. However, it can be a defining aspect of several mental health issues:
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Procrastination has been linked in research to poor mental health, greater levels of stress, and poorer levels of happiness. The following are some examples of how chronic procrastination can impact a person:
- Inadequate grades or performance in work or education
- Having financial issues as a result of deferring key tasks
- Anxiety, guilt, or humiliation are all common emotions.
- If you don’t exercise or eat well, you’ll have poor physical health.
Procrastinators are typically aware that their conduct is counterproductive, but eliminating procrastination isn’t always as simple as “just doing it.”