Do We Procrastinate?, Have you ever sat down to complete an important task then found yourself scrolling through miles of your favourite blogger’s Instagram feed and it’s the end of the day already?
If you’re in the habit of putting things off until the last minute, you’re perhaps not the only one. Besides tampering with your productivity, procrastination has measurable effects on your mental & physical wellness too. Putting things off can contribute to low life satisfaction, depression, stress, anxiety, and even chronic illnesses, such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease, as per the New York Times.
Procrastination decelerates your goals and aspirations. It’s also a prospectively baleful vehemence, causing victims to get low grades at school and perform poorly at work.
But, why do people self-sabotage on this end? Here are 5 major reasons behind people dilly-dallying their responsibilities.
- Prioritization: The Need Of The Hour
Do you find yourself spending a major chunk of your time in deciding what to do or switching persistently from one task to another?
If the answer is ‘yes’ then, either you have too many things on your plate or you fail to truly acknowledge the differing importance of each undertaking.
Instead of spending your valuable time dabbling between multiple chores, sit down and list all your tasks in the order their urgency. Then, go about your day working through your ‘to-do’ list.
- A Lackluster Chore
The sheer overwhelm and ramification of a daunting task is probably one of the most common reasons behind procrastination. It creates a plunge in your motivation, compelling you to hunt for a more enjoyable task within your comfort zone.
But, what happens to the task you just put off? It’s avoided & causes further dread & stress as it inches towards the deadline.
The way out of this dark, dwindling passage is relatively simple: Dissect the challenge into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually. Tread on Mark Twain’s heels & adhere to his advice: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Your frog is the chore that’s been haunting you, and should probably be doing it first thing in the morning.
- Are You Motivated Enough?
There are instances when people feel a lack of purpose in their tasks or fail to gauge any importance let alone any favourable outcomes and end up putting them away.
To avoid this, one simply needs to find the motivation they need to get done with their work. According to Petr Ludwig, author of The End of Procrastination, the motivation can be extrinsic or intrinsic. “Extrinsic is someone pushing you to do something, while intrinsic is that you want to do something,”
However, extrinsic motivation creates pressure that can backfire later and add to procrastination. Intrinsic reasons can be especially powerful. “The main ingredient of intrinsic motivation is autonomy, being able to take full responsibility for our own lives,” says Ludwig. “The outcome of that analysis in terms of procrastination is that intrinsic meaning is much better.”
- Where’s Your Focus?
Another reason behind your procrastination could be distraction.
Our brains aren’t programmed to focus for hours at stretch. The outcome? They start looking for something else. However, this form of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to put off your task. It’s simply a result of your work setup.
Be conscious of your workspace and potential distractions. Depending on what your task is, plan out short breaks of 5-10 minutes every hour or 30-minute-long long breaks every 2-4 hours.
People are often anxious about the important task that awaits them. Simply put, often it’s the subconscious fear of failure.
If you put off a task for long, then you can’t face up to the negative results that are to follow. Those negative feelings might as well become yet another reason to put the task off, thus morphing into a vicious, self-defeating cycle.
If you’re punctilious & lookout for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to dawdle the completion of the task.
Positive visualization is key. Try envisioning the completion of your work in an optimistic way. Set aside all your fears & self-doubt and get to it.
Things take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Get off that random website you’ve been scrolling through for hours now and get back to what you’ve been running away from. Take each opportunity as it comes & make the best out of it.