By procrastination we mean the deliberate and unnecessary delay of a planned action, beyond the time required to produce the desired performance or successful completion. Simply put, procrastination is a person’s tendency to delay the start or completion of an important task to a point where it can lead to discomfort.
The truth is that procrastination is a common problem that occurs to most of us from time to time. Statistical studies have shown that 95% of people have occasional procrastination, while 20% show chronic procrastination.
What causes it
Procrastination is almost always based on dysfunctional convictions and beliefs. At the same time, short-term relief and temporary pleasure quite often seem better than the effort required for long-term rewards. In any case, procrastination means that we are protecting ourselves from something much more difficult that we are called upon to deal with, when in fact it can lead to additional stress, guilt and crisis, severe loss of productivity, and social disapproval for failing to fulfill duties or meet commitments.
Some of the reasons that lead us to procrastination are:
- Fear of failure
- Low tolerance for frustration
- Lack of ambition
- Low pressure tolerance
- Lack of time management skills
- Low self-esteem
- Perception of difficulty
- Poor control skills
- Arrogance – pride
- Family problems
- Feeling lonely
What are the consequences?
Some of the problems that procrastination can cause are:
- Lost chances
- Irresponsibility towards others
- Poor performance
- Career problems
- Unnecessary expenses
- Financial difficulties
- Medical problems
- Decreased quality of life
Identification of the reasons for the postponement
People usually postpone selectively. As you read the following cases, consider which ones are most likely to be postponed for you: Jobs and Duties at Work? Educational assignments and course attendance? Personal care and exercise? Social relationships; Housework? Settling financial issues? Other?
Once you have an initial picture of the cases you are mainly postponing, ask yourself if they are causing you serious negative consequences and try to identify as many as possible.
What activities do you tend to do instead of the one you should do? Instead of doing something that is unpleasant at the same time, do you do something else, more pleasant, that gives you the excuse you need? Do you postpone an activity that you find difficult because of the fear of failure?
Observing the conditions of your procrastination will help you understand what you are postponing, for what reasons and in what ways
Ways to manage procrastination
- 1. Try to break an activity into smaller ones so that it is easier to manage.
- 2. Schedule and, starting at the deadline, plan smaller tasks on intermediate dates. Write down on a piece of paper each small activity and the date you will have completed it. Once you have broken down the big goal into smaller ones, devote time from each day to achieving them.
- 3. Create a “What do I have to do” list in order of priority. Do what you can every day, avoiding judging yourself for what you have not yet done. The important thing is to do what matters most and prioritize first.
- 4. Understand the fears that lead to procrastination. Try to evaluate how realistic these fears are or how big the consequences of a possible failure will be. If you feel unable to deal with your fears, take the initiative and talk about your concerns to a specialist.
- 5. If you postpone unpleasant tasks – other than difficult ones – try to do the most unpleasant on the first day of the week. Complete the first, instead of living with the constant anxiety that may be causing you.
- 6. Promise yourself a reward for completing the activity. Something you really like and want, such as an outing, a trip or anything else you enjoy.
It is important to realize that by choosing the easiest path and postponing difficult or unpleasant tasks, you finally manage to undermine your ability to achieve your goals for your survival and happiness.