You may have encountered this situation at school or work: you have something important to do, but you don’t get it done right away. Instead of finishing a project, you do something else like watching videos on TikTok, or instead of cleaning the house, the bed is calling you to lie down. What happens next? One task to be done is piled up after the other. Cramming happens because you don’t have enough time.
Procrastination is about instant gratification — where putting off important tasks seems to make you happy. Procrastination is a trap that anyone may easily fall into. Do you procrastinate? You’re not alone.
If you think this terrible habit is hindering you from becoming the successful person you should be, stop making excuses and stop procrastinating. In this article, learn more about procrastinating and how to get things done now!
What Is Procrastination?
Procrastination is the habit of delaying important tasks to do less important but enjoyable things. Procrastination and laziness may be used interchangeably, but they’re different. If you’re procrastinating, you just delayed the task. With laziness, you don’t have the willingness to do the act. If you come to think of it, laziness is worse.
If you procrastinate, you restrict yourself from reaching your highest potential. It can hinder you from being a great student or be successful in your career. Procrastinating every day may also annoy the people around you. Who wants to be around someone who spends most of their time goofing around? No one!
It can affect your performance at work and may lead to poor performance evaluation and may lead to job loss. That’s why it’s crucial to take steps to prevent procrastination. And the first step to overcome procrastination is to know the reason behind your actions. As you identify the reason behind it, you can come up with measures and how to deal with them.
Why Do You Procrastinate?
Have you asked yourself this question? Why do you procrastinate? There are many reasons why a person procrastinates; it can be shame, fear, guilt, or vulnerability. What do you think is the reason why you procrastinate?
Here are some reasons why:
The task may not be challenging: If you have mastered a task or project, it does not challenge you anymore; that’s why you put off the task. You tend to tell yourself, “It’s an easy task. I can finish it fast later.” Then you end up cramming at the last minute and affect the quality of your work.
You’re looking for instant gratification: Who doesn’t like to be instantly gratified? Watching funny cat videos on YouTube, scrolling through social media feeds, and playing a video game is more fun than doing a dreaded task. Everyone loves to get entertained.
You may fear change: Procrastination hinders you from reaching success, and success means change. Procrastinators fear change because they are afraid to get out of their comfort zones. Are you afraid to change? Is this the reason why you’re not taking action?
The fear of failure: Others fear failure, which may stop them from achieving their goals. The fear of failure is also one of the leading causes of poor academic performance. This may come from childhood experiences or traumatic situations from the past. Are you afraid to be humiliated if you didn’t do good in a task? Are you afraid to take the risk?
Depression or mental health decline: Putting off tasks, low energy, or poor concentration may be a sign of depression, and that’s why you’re procrastinating. Have you checked in with a mental health professional about that? Depression may be the reason why you’re procrastinating.
There are too many distractions: Are there too many distractions on your workstation? Or is it too noisy at work that you can’t concentrate? Maybe working at home with many distractions causes you to procrastinate? Identify what distracts you and get rid of it so you can achieve the tasks at hand.
Ways To Stop Procrastinating Right Now
As soon as you figure out why you’re slacking off important tasks, it’s time to do something about it. Here are some steps you can do right now to overcome procrastination.
Get Rid Of Distractions
Get rid of all potential distractions so you can concentrate well on your work. Do you spend too much time on Instagram or Facebook? Then put your phone away. You can’t work well because of your kids making too much noise? Set boundaries and designate a workspace at home.
Can’t you study well at home? Perhaps you need a change of environment or personal space. As you free yourself of distractions, then you can start on your projects right away. All problems have solutions; you just have to take the right step to be free of distractions.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
In the exercise industry, there’s High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). There’s a period of high-intensity exercises for a period of time and rest in between. You can do this as well when trying to get done with a project, it is called the Promodoro Technique. It is a time management method developed to break down work into time intervals.
You can set a timer for 25 minutes, work with full focus, no distractions, and no slacking off. Reward yourself and take a break for 10 minutes in between (also track your break with a timer), then repeat the cycle again. Some people found this technique to be productive when studying or working. Plus, you won’t easily get burnt out or drained.
Change Your Environment
Different working environments may have a different impact on your productivity. Look at your chair, table, any clutter, work PC, or the room you work in. Is it a conducive work environment? Maybe you’re having back pains because of your chair? Can’t you extend your feet very well? These may be the reasons why you’re procrastinating your work.
Then you should consider changing your work environment. Create an organized work environment that makes you want to work hard, improve your mood, and make you comfortable even when working for long hours. Make sure your workspace is well-lit, free of clutter, and clean so you can focus well on your projects.
Create A Schedule Of Your Important Tasks
An important piece of advice to follow to avoid procrastination is to organize your schedule. Plan out your to-do list for the month, week, and daily. Map out your deadlines, things to do, and prioritize the tasks that need urgency.
Here’s what to remember when creating a schedule:
Schedule Your Time Properly
To avoid procrastinating, schedule your time properly. Make sure it’s realistic, and it won’t tire you out. For example, you know you can’t finish the project for one day, then map out your plan on a realistic time to finish it so that you could plan out other tasks accordingly. For instance, you know you can’t work in the morning because you can’t focus well, then start planning out your day at the time you’re most comfortable.
Set Deadlines For Important Tasks
Write down your deadlines for important tasks. For example, you have a project due tomorrow. Of course, you have to prioritize that as compared to a project due next week. Do not spend your time on a task that is not due soon; complete what needs to be prioritized first.
Write a List
Writing a list and posting it on your desk can make you highly effective at work. For instance, write down in your personal journal or planner what you should do in the morning, after lunch, or afternoon with specific hours.
- 7 – 8 AM | Prepare breakfast and eat
- 8 – 9 AM | Take kids to school
- 9 – 10 AM | Clean the house
- 10 – 11 AM | Do Task #1
- 11 – 12 AM | Prepare Lunch and eat
- So on and so forth….
Writing down a list of your schedule avoids procrastination and could help you be more organized.
Get A Buddy To Keep You Honest
Yes, it’s hard to stay away from distractions, especially when you’re working alone. If you think that partnering up with a friend or co-worker would help you be more focused, then do it. Ask your friends or family members to keep track of your work so you won’t waste your time procrastinating.
You can even have a reward-punishment type of work habit to keep you challenged so you can reach your goals. Having someone else watching your back can you become more conscious of your actions.
Have you tried the mentioned tips above and still find yourself procrastinating? Perhaps you’re too tired to work? Or emotionally exhausted? There must be other reasons why you’re feeling that way. The best you can do is talk to a mental health professional. If you need help to get things sorted out, talk to a counselor at Kentucky Counseling Center.
Stopping procrastination does not happen overnight. It takes commitment and lifestyle change to hop aboard the productivity train. Be courageous, and don’t let your fears be your weakness. Do not hold yourself back from being the best version of yourself.