Why Procrastinate? Overcoming Procrastination is an ideal goal. I find myself always asking this question, “Is it possible to overcome procrastination?” I ask because I know that sometimes postponing a task can be inevitable (like being unable to meet a certain deadline because there are factors that are beyond your control). Procrastination is putting off something intentionally and habitually. There is an intent and a habit, but when does it become unpleasant?
A certain Professor studied the problem of procrastination for 5 years and reported that 95 percent of people put off doing one thing or the other. That’s as simple as saying out of 10 people, at least 9 would procrastinate. Really?!
Habitually putting off doing things that could be achieved “today till tomorrow” is considered negative behaviour. And unfortunately, tomorrow remains just what it is – a day we continuously chase after and rarely catch up with. So why procrastinate?
Why Do People Procrastinate?
Someone can put off a task because to prevent risky outcomes or if that was the only option available to them. Another can dawdle as a voluntary avoidance tactic. Procrastination is a condition of the mind that can negatively impact behaviour if unchecked. So why do people procrastinate?
- Fear of failure – The what-if phase. What if I don’t make it? What if they say no? What if I fail? I would rather stall than fail. I will wait till I’m more equipped and ready. Fear is a good excuse to do nothing.
- Second-guessing the relevance – The doubting phase. Why exactly do I need to do this? Maybe it’s just not for me. Perhaps you are weighing your outcome by someone else’s inability to succeed at the same thing you want to do, and this is impacting your decision to move forward. Remember that situations may be similar but self-determination is not – consider the ‘self’ factor.
- Setting unrealistic goals – The dream phase. Do not set goals that are not practical. An example can be wanting to go from a size 16 to a size 8 in the next 6 months. When in reality, a sustainable healthy weight loss will require a longer time for this goal to be achieved (considering all the internal and external factors that could impact this goal). Set short achievable goals.
- Perfect Timing – The timing won’t always be right for anyone to do anything. Most people are constantly waiting for the perfect time. Always keep this in mind – there is no better time than the present. So get going.
- Laziness – Mental and physical laziness can contribute to procrastination. At a time when I was preparing for an exam, settling down to study was always my last task of the day. When I was already exhausted and all my brain and body want to do wass shut down and refuel. For me, this was a perfect excuse to keep postponing my study time. Prioritize your most important task when you can give your optimal performance.
The more we look at it, there is no right/perfect/correct time to get things done; the best time to do anything is to do it now.
The only thing that stops you from moving forward with a task or goal is your lack of resolve and determination regardless of any setbacks.
Types of People Who Procrastinate.
Call it justification or excuses, reasons come up all the time. Whether they are made-up or genuine, at one time or another, you may have been any of these types of people… But it’s never too late to make a change.
- The “I have a lot to do” people. Always busy doing so many things except the one thing that needs to be done and never making out time to get it done. Wow that’s a mouthfull isn’t it? Amid a busy schedule, you can always make out time for what’s important. Prioritize.
- The “I am too tired” people. Always too exhausted to get to do the one thing that requires commitment. And hoping that tomorrow will be a better day to get things done. The only thing is, tomorrow is always be unreachable. Make today your tomorrow.
- The “overcharged” people. Always starting but not finishing. As soon as they get into the rhythm, they are fired up to go, go, go until they are burned out. With no set goal, the enthusiasm will fade out. You need to set a sustainable and realistic plan for finishing what you start.
- The “I have a new strategy” people. This was so me! Always committed to starting something new that is similar to the previous. Once they start, they come up with another idea to get the task done. Abandoning the old for the new, thus making them start all over again. Follow through on one plan before jumping to another.
It’s time to start doing today what we are hoping to do tomorrow.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic (and all its variants), it was easy to make excuses for not following through on tasks and goals. Everyone had a busy schedule and it was just difficult to do so much at the same time. Now, the pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate; there is time on our hands, even more flexibility. Maybe now we can create time to make things happen and do things we have always been putting off.
Perhaps now we can break the cycle of building defences and start taking action by making an effort to get things done.
So how exactly does one truly overcome procrastination? Read about the consequences and steps in the upcoming post.
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