There are many people who often fall into the trap of procrastination. Piers Steel, a researcher and speaker said, “95% of people procrastinate to some degree.”
It may sound comforting that you are not alone but at the same time, it can be sobering to understand that to what extent it can hold you back.
This article will make you familiar with why it happens and some ideas for overcoming procrastination by managing and prioritizing your work efficiently.
Is procrastination and laziness the same?
Most of the people take procrastination same as laziness, but both the terms are very different.
Procrastination is a process which is very active i.e., rather than doing the task that you know you should be doing, you engage yourself in something else. On the other hand, inactivity, not willing to act, and apathy are some terms related to laziness.
Procrastination refers to ignoring an unpleasant but an important activity that can have serious consequences. Procrastination reduces productivity and can cause you to miss out on attainment of your objectives.
Procrastinating your work for a long span of time leads to demotivation which further causes depression and in extreme cases job loss.
Ways to overcome procrastination
Below are some steps that can help in preventing procrastination:
- Make yourself familiar with procrastination
Sometimes, in order to re- prioritize your workload, you might be putting off a task. That means, if you are ignoring a task for a good reason then it is not procrastinating. But, if you are putting things off indefinitely as you want to avoid it then you probably are procrastinating.
You may be procrastinating if:
- You are filling your day with low- priority activities.
- You are reading your mails numerous times but are not able to decide what to do with them.
- You are leaving a task on your To-Do list for a longer period of time even when it is important.
- You are waiting for a right time or to be in right mood to complete a task.
- You are doing not so important tasks assigned to you by other people rather than completing your important tasks.
- Find out the reasons behind your procrastination
Before you can start with tackling procrastination, you need to find out the reasons behind it.
For example, if you are avoiding an assignment, you have to find the reason behind it. Is it boring or unpleasant?
After that take some steps to get out of it rapidly. This way you will be able to concentrate on the important parts of your task that you find enjoyable.
- Make use of anti-procrastination strategies
Procrastination is not merely a habit. It is an ingrained pattern of behavior. No one can break it overnight. In order to break it, you have to stop practicing it.
To get the best possible chance to succeed, below are some strategies that you can try:
- If you are procrastinating in the past, forgive yourself for it
You can feel more optimistic by way of self- forgiveness. This can help you in reducing procrastination in the future.
- Make a commitment for performing all the tasks
Do not concentrate on avoiding the tasks, instead focus on doing it. Jot down all the tasks that you need to perform and also mention the time to complete them. This way all you work can be handled proactively.
Reward yourself with a treat, if you are able to complete a task on time. You will notice that you feel very good by finishing things on time.
- Take someone’s help to check up on you
Peer pressure helps a lot. That is why, it is suggested to ask someone to keep a check on you.
- Finish the tasks as soon as you get them
Instead of letting the tasks build up over the next day, finish them as soon as they arise.
Don’t sit near a television while you work. Also, turn off your social media. Always remember, distractions don’t let you work.
If the reason behind procrastination is you find an assignment unpleasant then the solution is to focus on the long game.
People who are impulsive indulge in procrastination more than the others. The reason being, they concentrate on short- term gains. Therefore, find out the long- term gains of completing a task. Does the task have any effects on your annual performance or end-of-year bonus?
Finding out the unpleasant consequences of avoiding a particular task is yet another way of motivating yourself to complete a task. Ask yourself, what will be the consequences of not completing a task? Will it have any effects on your team, personal or organizational goals?
Simultaneously, by finding the meaning and significance of the task that you have been assigned, reframing the task can prove to be very useful. It will help in increasing the value of the task and you will be able to make your work valuable.
It is also imperative to admit that sometimes you overestimate the unlikableness of a task. It is always good to give it a try. Later on, you will come to know that it was not as bad as you thought.
If the reason behind procrastination is that you are disorganized, then below are some strategies that can help you to become organized:
Maintaining a To-Do list helps in recalling you about the tasks that you see as unpleasant or overwhelming.
- Scheduling and project planning
If you are assigned big and numerous projects and you are not able to find out from where to start, you can make a schedule and do some sort of project planning that can help in planning and managing your time. It will also help in reducing the stress levels.
- Finish the most difficult task at your peak times
Find out, if you are a morning person or an afternoon person? This way you will be able to understand when you are most effective. Complete your tasks at that time that you find yourself most effective.
- Give yourself time- bound goals
You can achieve your goals more effectively by setting specific deadlines. Also, you will have no time left for procrastination.
By breaking the tasks into manageable chunks, you can easily overcome the problem of procrastination. Start organizing all your tasks and divide them into smaller parts. After that instead of concentrating on finishing them, focus on starting them.
Jeffery Combs, in his book ‘The Procrastination Cure’ published in the year 2011 said, “You can create an action plan to organize your project. Start with quick and small tasks first. These small wins will give you a sense of achievement, and will make you feel more positive and less overwhelmed by the larger project or goal that you are working towards.”