Procrastination: How to understand and deal with it

You need to prepare for an important exam at the university, but instead of writing an article, you find yourself lying on the sofa with the smartphone and, or the “Game of Thrones”, drinking coffee with cookies. There are many ways to procrastinate from going out to web surfing. Low motivation and protest reactions lead to procrastination. In other words, procrastination is the tendency to put off important things later in favor of less important things, which leads to problems in life and is accompanied by unpleasant feelings of guilt and shame. It is a coping mechanism that helps us avoid unpleasant feelings and emotions, such as fear, guilt, and shame over unfulfilled work or poor decisions. 

It is because of the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. One of them craves quick pleasures, and the second structure strives for big goals that require effort. Fortunately, procrastination is not a mental disorder, it is simply the habit of putting off unfinished tasks until the last moment. However, if you are serious about getting rid of this habit once and for all, you may follow the following rules

Reflect on the reasons for putting off tasks

Reasons for such behavior can be anxiety, fear of the future, perfectionism, fear of failure, lack of decision-making skills, and stress. It is important to understand what activities make you procrastinate. After identifying the reasons, it is important to investigate the consequences of such procrastination – in the family, at work, or at school, in the form of unpleasant emotions, and the impact on self-esteem. 

In addition, procrastination has an important feature – the time you put off for it cannot be considered a rest, even if at that moment you are doing what you do during the rest. This is because guilt, shame, and anxiety cloud that time, cause tension, and prevent you from relaxing.

Work outside the home (if possible) 

The warm and cozy atmosphere of your home will keep you from focusing on a complicated project. With all the charms of a home environment, such as a soft couch, a midday nap, and playing PlayStation, you’ll never finish the job you started. Try to find a better place to work, like a coffee shop or library.

Set penalties for procrastination

Find someone who is unwavering in giving you a catch-up every time you procrastinate. This could be your supervisor or colleague, or friend. Better yet, you should be fined for not completing tasks on time and for taking the time to look at your Facebook page or YouTube videos. I bet every five bucks in fines will eventually negate your procrastination.

Avoid all the distractions

The obvious thought is that to get your head to think better, you need to free it up. When you’re holding onto information in your working memory, your intellectual capacity is severely diminished. To prevent this from happening, write everything out. In a paper notebook or the same notes on your phone. Then these notes can be turned into tasks, but for now, just unload the brain. 

Divide bigger tasks into smaller ones

Before you start working on a big project, divide it into small tasks and do the easiest ones first. For example, if you need to write an article, you may first come up with a title for it and write an introduction. Or, for example, you were tasked to prepare a multimedia presentation. First, think about the story and structure of the presentation and choose the technology you will use to create it.

Determine your goals and prioritize your goals

Set short-, medium-, and long-term goals (daily/weekly/monthly/yearly/five-yearly). It is desirable to write them in one place, in the form of a mind map. Identify the priority areas of your life (health, family, sports, education, etc.). Analyze your list of tasks, maybe there is something unnecessary in it. Don’t be afraid to give up what you don’t need and won’t do shortly.

Dealing with procrastination is not easy. Many spend a lifetime in this struggle. However, it will make the quality of your life better. So, don’t blame yourself for postponing tasks, and go on! 


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