Why Do We Procrastinate And How To Stop It
Whether it’s work, mowing the lawn, shaving your legs, grocery shopping, or even something as small as going to the restroom or eating lunch; We all do it.
You guessed it, P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N.
In Webster’s Online Dictionary, the definition of procrastinate is “to put off intentionally and habitually the doing of something that should be done.”
We tend to choose immediate satisfaction over the mundane or difficult things that we KNOW need to get done. There is a constant need for today’s society to have instant gratification, so much so, that we put off things that are of absolute importance.
However, do not fret reader, because you are not the only one.
This article took me around 8 hours to write and during those hours I looked at used cars(I need a new car, but am not going to buy it right now), I browsed noise canceling headphones, watched couple of cat videos, scrolled through 9gag for half an hour, so yeah, you’re not alone in this – the guy who’s writing about procrastination is procrastinating all the time. But hey, at least I know I have a problem.
95 percent of people in America admit to being guilty of procrastination, and within that 95 percent, about a quarter admit to it being a chronic issue greatly affecting their everyday lives.
Most of us can’t concentrate on a task for more than 20-25 minutes, say recent studies.
Social media is one of the most important factors when it comes to procrastination.
The Telegraph reported that 60 percent of people that go on social media sites or respond to emails in the middle of a work, completely forget what they were thinking about or doing.
On another note, a reduction in happiness was recorded for 62 percent of the procrastinators once they realized they were wasting their time browsing instead of doing what they were supposed to be doing.
Why do we procrastinate?
There are a few main reasons why most of us procrastinate, one of which is lacking the skill or confidence to execute a task. You need to get your final project done but, you are not all that confident in your writing skills. You need a book report turned in tomorrow, but you just can’t get yourself to read because you feel embarrassed about your reading level.
The key to solving skills problems is to first, identify what your problem is. What is preventing you from succeeding? Once you know what your problem is, your chances of improving increase tremendously.
You have trouble keeping focused.
If something is not your thing, or you just find it boring — then you will find yourself procrastinating more often than not. Some people love to draw, however for me, my art class was a nightmare. I could not get myself to sit down and put my idea on paper for the life of me.
A good way to overcome this is to just bang it out and move on. Set a time limit that you find reasonable and just do it. Get something on paper, so to speak.
Fear of success and fear of failure.
These things are often the culprits of procrastination. You may feel like you are afraid to fail at something and do not even want to attempt it. I find this to be a more general reason that most of us can relate to.
On the flip side, you may not want to do too well for the simple fact that you do not want to raise others expectations of you. This is selling yourself short and can have you missing bombshell opportunities.
Self-Worth is something that many of us need to nurture within ourselves. We need to make sure that when we attempt something that may be difficult at the time, we give it our all and build our self-confidence up by letting ourselves know our worth. As for fear of success, do not sell yourself short due to laziness or fear of expectations going to high. This is a quick way to miss out on life-changing opportunities.
You are your own worst critic.
Can We Fix It?
So you have figured out why you procrastinate – now you are procrastinating on doing something about it Let’s fix it.
Many of us procrastinate due to plain laziness. We just decide that the gain from the task is not as “fun” or “rewarding” as just hanging out watching our favorite TV shows. I took the liberty of rounding up a few helpful tips for you to use when you finally decide to tackle your issue.
To complete any task, difficult as it may be, you need some level of enthusiasm. The higher your enthusiasm for the task at hand, the higher probability you will finish it – and the higher probability you will produce quality work.
You can let go of the need to be the best and be O.K. with what you are. Forget about your worries and what people think or feel about you and just let it go. This will help you focus on what you need to do, not what they think of you or your work.
Good habits come from people with strong willpower. Having strong willpower comes from being conscious of your decisions and their outcomes. Be aware of what you’re doing and have some self-discipline when you get off track.
Break Things Down
People tend to get extremely overwhelmed with things in this day and age. Information, tasks, rules, technology, etc. A good way to keep things in line and not get overwhelmed is to break things down. If you can break things down to smaller, more do-able tasks, then your chances of success are greatly increased.
Make a Schedule
A favorite among many. You can get a piece of paper and divide your day into 24 segments of an hour each. Once you do this, choose what hours you will dedicate to work, play, watching tv, sleeping, hobbies, etc. Document the time you used and what you did – to keep track of where you need to improve your discipline and focus.
To sum it all up, procrastination is an issue all over the world. We need to realize it is a real problem in our lives in order to make room for change. Do not feel discouraged when you don’t want to finish your book, or can’t get yourself off of Facebook, because there is hope. We have all been there at one point in time, and I wish you luck coming out of it now, hope I can do the same.
Image: Benjamin Linh VU