Procrastination is an everyday phenomenon that affects 20% of the population and has quadrupled in the last 30 years, according to BrandonGaille. Procrastination is exceptionally high in the students’ community with 90% reported having the problem. 40% of people have experienced financial losses, and 20% of procrastinators have jeopardized their jobs, relationships, and health as a result. 20% of chronic illness procrastinators have delayed their treatment that resulted in their condition deteriorating.
Procrastination seems like a dark force that keeps procrastinators from taking and completing the urgent tasks on hard. The result of procrastination often ended up with higher stress and anxiety levels, lies, guilt, financial losses, and more remedy actions. So, knowing the absolute consequences, why do people still procrastinate?
What are the possible reasons why people procrastinate?
There are many types of research done to list the possible ways why people procrastinate. According to solvingprocrastination.com, The possible reasons include: –
- Meaningless goals – Working toward empty goals that are not going to bring real value to study or work purposes
- No immediate rewards – The rewards are not immediate and only to appear in the distant future
- Overwhelming work and effort – Too much work that brings too little reward and unable to accomplish within the time allocated
- The work objective is not required for the future – Effort and action are not in line with future goals
- Anxiety – Unsure of effort could bring the desired result
- Dislike task – A little interest to do the tasks on hard
- Perfectionist mindset – Don’t have the confidence to perfect the piece of work to be completed
- Fear of criticism – Fear of not delivering a good piece of work and would draw complaints or negative feedback
- Worry of failure – Worry about the quality of work would not meet expectations or standard
- Lack of control – Has no control over the progress and outcome of the assessment of work
- Attention deficit – Unable to focus or the time span of focus is too short of completing the piece of work
- Depression – Depressive emotion during work
- Lack of motivation – Couldn’t find the source of inspiration to start and complete the piece of work
- Lack of energy – Unable to find the strength to follow through the work and complete it
- Thrill-seeking – Looking for more exciting work or tasks such as gaming or enjoyment
Additionally, PsychologyToday.com shared 9 unique reasons: –
- Not having self-compassion – Researchers found that people not having self-compassion tends to get more stressful in their work and increase the chances of procrastination
- Other people procrastinate too – Learn from close friends and family members that they procrastinated too
- Not believing to be effective on the task at hand – Not having full confidence to be able to work and complete the task of up to a standard
- Not your expertise on the task – Don’t have that full confidence to do well on that piece of work
- Overestimate the work challenge – Unable to allocate or manage the time taken on the piece of work. Time estimates are way off
- Unrealistic gain on present task – Don’t think that the short-term gain justifies the effort on the piece of work
- Perfectionism mindset – Wouldn’t want to deliver a sub-par piece of work at low quality
- Depression & anxiety taking control – The anxious and depressive mindset gets in the way of delivering or working on the piece of work
- Getting uncomfortable during work – Uncomfortable feelings should be avoided at all costs, that result in discarding the effort to complete the piece of work
How to overcome procrastination?
Procrastination is a significant issue that strikes me at heart. A simple problem that seems so easy for ordinary people, but challenging to procrastinators. It was never a problem that would occur to me, but now the pain is so close. Therefore, I hope these recommendations or suggestions are appropriate and suitable for those people struggling with procrastination
According to solvingprocrastination.com, the ways to resolve or minimize procrastination include: –
- Prioritize tasks – Work on tasks according to priority or importance. In other words, essential tasks go first.
- Break the task into small pieces – Work gets easier when individual steps or tasks are smaller and achievable.
- Work on smaller tasks a few minutes at a time – Task might seem more comfortable if they are so small and manageable. The challenge of achieving smaller tasks will not overwhelm you.
- Remove all distractions – It is vital to remove all distractions such as phone, TV, chores, etc. Focus on the task on hard and try to complete it with all the energy you have.
- Know your productive schedules – Take note of the times where you are most and least productive, and the circumstances that surround them. Try to schedule and make a habit around the productive hours.
- Step by step – Make a few milestones to every sub-task and set intermediate datelines for each of them. Reward yourself for achieving every milestone and the final goals
- Create a tracking journal – Note the days and schedule where you achieve the most and least milestones and goals. Review the journal by the end of every week to better understand the challenges facing the procrastinations
- Focus on the journey, not the destination – It is essential to note the effort on every task before achieving the final goal. It’s the effort that counts
- Visualize the future fruit of the current task – Imagine your future self, that’s reaping the reward of the achieved tasks.
- Breathe – While you are procrastinating, counting the breaths you are taking before your mind switches to a productive mode. Note the number of breaths taken to switch into productive gear
- Forget about perfectionism – Yes, perfection never exists. Just focus on your effort and give in your best.
- Believe in yourself – Always believe in yourself that you can achieve your goals. No matter how small the steps you are taking, the journey is a lot shorter than you think.
How to change the procrastinator’s mindset and psychology?
The mind of a procrastinator can be, at times, complicated and challenging. Unfortunately, many organizations and academic institutions could not visualize and empathize with procrastination. Often, procrastinators are termed as “Lazy” and dealt with through punishments. These punishments are, however, counterproductive in dealing with procrastination.
Changing the procrastinators’ mindset and psychology involves the procrastinator as well as friends or colleagues. Some of the recommendations by Psychology Today include: –
- Don’t penalize procrastination – I know this is easier said than done. People do judge procrastinators, but it’s the procrastinator that needs to be kinder to himself or herself. Play an optimistic role for encouragement yourself rather than a negative self-critic.
- Look for positive role models – Now, this tactic might backfire. It is essential to search for a positive role model to mimic, but at the same time, admit that you are only human. Try your best to do as much as you possibly can.
- Learn as you go – It’s perfectly ok to learn as you go, and not being too worried to navigate uncharted waters. Try, and error is ok till you get some progress. Don’t be too concerned about not getting the task right. It’s the effort that counts.
- Don’t be biased against your ability – Don’t create that impression or mindset that you are bad at specific tasks. It’s important to stay positive to encourage yourself that you can do more than you think.
- Be early to start and end – Allocate some time to buffer for your procrastination. Start earlier if you can afford the time and try your best to complete it before the schedule. It’s a good habit to nurture.
- Future rewards and less present pain – The mindset of future reward and a lot of present pain must change. Psychologically, it is the present pain that is hindering many procrastinators from working. There is NO one solution to change that present pain mindset. But be creative to cheat your mind about the pain. It is, after all, not a pain, but a learning experience.
- Focus on the time, not perfection – Some experts have long argued that restricting yourself to the amount of time to complete the task can help to overcome the perfectionist mindset. For example, allocate 2 hours for the task and stick to it. When the time is up, consider the task as complete, and move on.
- Get treatments – If you have anxiety or depression that is hindering you, then it’s better to seek treatment than to delay or ignore the problem. Psychotherapists might have some better ideas to help you to overcome procrastination.
- Nurture pain tolerance – Never underestimate your ability to take on more pain. It’s perfectly fine to feel pain, but at times, push yourself a little more. To the surprises of many procrastinators, they can take more pain than they can imagine.
Understanding the nature of your procrastination will help you to overcome the challenge. It’s never easy, and don’t be shy to share the problem with your friends or family members. Depending on the severity of the problem, it might be useful to seek professional help if you have to.
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