I’ve struggled with procrastination a lot. Be it completing projects, assignments or even while studying for my boards, I had always found myself pushing everything to the very last minute. I always tried to justify my actions by believing that I did better under pressure whereas, in reality, I was not giving out my best. I never had time to review my work and ponder over whether there was some other way that I could’ve made it even more appealing. What made it worse is that I knew that I could not continue this forever that sometime my procrastination would have a big repercussion that would be irrevocably harmful to me, but I couldn’t get out of its clutches.
It was sometime back that I stumbled upon this Ted Talk video by Tim Urban, a blogger who is known for his innovative ways of describing simplistic matter. Everything in that video represented what I do myself: the daily procrastination, the inherent anxiety and the inexplicable pressure. But what really stood out to me from his video was- You are able to procrastinate and do it eventually because you have a deadline but what about things that do not have it? Like buying a house, starting a family? What about you procrastinating ‘leaving your job’ and going for something better? None of these things has a deadline and procrastinating them would only bring you down in life.
This really struck me. Till now I’ve been procrastinating and somehow getting by because I had some deadline to adhere to but what about once I’m making some decisions that do not have a deadline? Would I just wake up one day and realise that I can no longer do it. Will I always be plagued by regret but know that there was nothing that I could possibly to about it. So that’s when I decided that enough was enough. I couldn’t let myself possibly ruin my life just because I couldn’t be bothered to finish something.
The first step towards solving any problem is identifying its root. Where it originates from and how could we possibly remove it forever. And with procrastinating the procedure is the same. We need to find what actually causes procrastination.
CAUSES OF PROCRASTINATION
One of the major causes of procrastination is definitely overconfidence. Believing that you are so good at the subject or activity that you won’t require the given time and could easily finish it at the very last minute. But eventually, you realise that maybe you weren’t that well versed in the subject and you could’ve used that time to do it better. This only leads to panic and hastiness.
There are times that the assignment that you have to do isn’t of your favourite subject or the exam that you’re supposed to be studying for is especially boring, but you need to understand that sometimes you just need to push yourself. One thing that I’ve learned through the years of experience is that playing that game that you keep playing while procrastinating is much more fun when there’s no deadline looming on you.
Cannot find a start- It has happened to me a lot of times. I get in the entire mood to finally finish something and I find that I’ve no idea where to start from and this made me keep it aside in the hope that some genius idea would suddenly flash through my brain and I would finish it. But it obviously never happened and I had to brainstorm some really lame start that would leave me unsatisfied with my work.
Choosing between completing your assignment or watching the latest episode of Attack On Titan? Obviously, the new episode (Priorities!). Distractions are one of the most basic but biggest reasons that procrastination is still persistent. When you do not have a proper focus on your job then even the smallest thing like that annoying blob on your desk or even the flickering lights are enough to grab your attention.
Not being organized
Not being properly organized about the amount of work I’ve and the number of hours I need to devote to each has always been my downfall. If the work included my favourite subject then I would pay more attention to it than the subject that actually required more time and effort. Hence, lack of time management can be an issue too.
I’ve seen some people either procrastinate or even give up on tasks as they fear the reaction and response of their peers. They believe that any work that they do won’t be up to the mark and that they would be ridiculed. This makes them go back into a shell and never take up jobs owing to the fear.
Lack of self-belief
There are people who refuse to start doing a project early because they already hold this belief that they are not capable of doing it. They’ll procrastinate as they think that giving it more time won’t bring a difference as they already know what the end result might be. This is a serious problem because in the future they’ll be afraid of even taking up jobs in the fear that they would qualify and this would sabotage their life.
This problem mainly stems from the need of people to act differently or make someone either angry, get a rise out of them or try to prove a point. Teenagers are mostly seen using this as an excuse to procrastinate. They’ll deliberately either leave the work for the last-minute or even leave it incomplete. This often than not causes a conflict between the students and parents or teachers.
We’ve finally identified all the problems that could be hindering your progress and causing you to procrastinate. Some are easily solvable while some are not. But it is your will that will determine if you’re ready to overcome all these challenges and shine! So now we have ways and methods that you can use to leave this problem behind.
WAYS TO OVERCOME PROCRASTINATION
Set your goals
It is one of the most essential steps that you need to take towards overcoming procrastination. You need to identify small goals that will lead you to achieve your ultimate goal. You can even do it for jobs that do not have a deadline, like buying a house. Set small monetary goals like you will save this much amount of money by a particular day. And then your final goal. All these small goals need to culminate into the bigger goal.
Also, remember to keep the goals achievable and not fictitious. You already know the amount of income flowing into your household and the amount of income that could be disposed of for saving. Exceeding that amount would only cause you pressure and anxiety, which would only hinder your progress.
Priority, priority and priority
We always have a bunch of tasks to do but what is important is firstly organizing them according to their requirements, allotting each task with a suitable time and then finishing it. Every task needs to be prioritised according to its weight in your life rather than your personal preference. It’ll only lead you to create further burden which is nothing but an added problem.
Figure out the exact cause of procrastination- rooting the exact cause of your problem can prove to be a boon to you. You need to find the exact source of your problem and try to throw it out. When you are aware of what is really holding you back you can consciously pull yourself back when you feel like procrastinating and one day you’ll eventually realise that you’ve been doing it subconsciously and now it is no longer a problem!
Imagine the outcomes
One of the best methods of stopping procrastination is imaging the possible outcomes. Imagine the outcome if you finally finished that assignment that you’ve been sitting on or that job that you’ve been wanting to apply for, for so long. Imagine the awe and satisfaction you’ll feel when you get positive feedback from your teachers and parents. Imagine the breath of fresh air and comfort you’ll feel after leaving a job that you never really liked. Maybe the consequences won’t be too big or mighty but it is definitely worth the lack of pressure and satisfaction.
There’s a beauty to imperfection
If the results of doing something is holding you back then just remember that you’re a human being. A person who is not perfect. Someone who is capable of making mistakes. It can happen that the work you do wasn’t up to your satisfaction but as long as you gave it your everything (without procrastinating!), then it is the best thing ever!
Rewarding myself is one of the most effective ways through which I’ve been evading procrastination and tricking myself. Be it a little candy or the last piece of cake that I’ve been saving for a special occasion are all a fair game to reward myself with and get my things done! If you have bigger goals then you have the opportunity of getting a new job that makes you happy and that definitely calls for a treat!
So, here we are. From panicking about finishing assignments to knowing why you get panicked and how can you not panic anymore. Honestly, overcoming procrastinating can be quite a job but once you set your mind on it, there is nothing that can possibly stop you. So, get going! Grab that notebook and get writing!
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