Procrastination !!! sounds technical?
Let me simplify it for you.
Think about the last time when you thought you have enough time to complete a task and then suddenly you found the deadline approaching you, then somehow you just managed to finish it.
Yes! This state of deferring the things is known as procrastination.
Let me explain it through a graph considering a common practice as an example, which we all have gone through once during our childhood.
The school homework!!
in this graph, you can see that we all used to procrastinate on our homework which at sometimes led us to something serious.
Penn States University categorized this phenomenon as the lack of self-control. But I will say that this is a natural phenomenon which originates because of the pressure we face in our day to day lives, be it corporate or personal.
Sometimes, it can be good when you are clear of the objectives beforehand, and you have a plan ready to work upon, but if we make it a habit of delaying the things to the other day, then we are in need to review our work strategies.
Jorge Cham, the creator of Ph.D. Comics, describes this phenomenon through a mathematical equation.
If you see the graph, it is self-explanatory that there are some ideal conditions where procrastination will not cost you much, but in other instances, it can lead to terrible consequences.We procrastinate the things as they pile up more. That’s why we never able to put the same creativity in it as we thought during the start of the project.
We procrastinate on the things. As a result, they pile up more. That’s why we are never able to put that same creativity in our tasks as we had thought of during the commencement of the project.
In my previous blog-post “Boosting your self-confidence”; I had introduced you to this term “procrastination,” its advantages and its disadvantages.
Now, in this post, we will be discussing the procrastination definition and every factor of procrastination and also the solutions you can opt.
By far, we all know that procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing something to the next day.
While performing something trivial, we know that this particular time was supposed to be devoted to the other task which out of its complexity or our disinterest, we have postponed to the next day. But is this correct behavior?
But is this a right attitude? Let’s understand…
What Makes People Procrastinate?
Let’s take up an example; we all love to receive compliments. We all want to look beautiful, fit and fabulous like all our beloved celebrities, but do we know how much effort they daily put in to be in shape? Are we doing even a bit of it?
Of course, we daily plan and pledge to start a healthy life, but a plan retains its value only if we implement it “today” rather than creating a perfect plan which we will implement”never.”
So, coming back to the question, do we work as per our plans?
No….because we delay that task to the next day, then on its next day, and this cycle continues like this until we face a do-or-die situation.
Why we procrastinate?
Working full-time in the office and then at home, I used to get tired and couldn’t devote much towards my blog. However, I always used to think that I should at least take out some time to write but I wasn’t able to do that. Do you know why? It’s just because “procrastination” distracted me from writing my blog posts.
But yes, by regaining my self-confidence and keeping procrastination aside, I started devoting time to my blog again, and this compelled me to write about “blogging and procrastination.”
So, in this blog post of mine, I will tell you some important factors which promote procrastination and how to overcome them. Let’s begin.
How Procrastination Originates?
“According to a psychological study on procrastination, procrastination affects more than 20% of the total worldwide population. It has more than quadrupled in the last 30 years.”
- Negative thoughts + Emotional connect = Procrastination
- Resistance + Anxiety = Procrastination
- Avoidance + Fatigue = Procrastination
- Dislike + Irritation = Procrastination
- Non-confidence + Dread = Procrastination
Identify which among the above combination makes you procrastinate the most.
Reasons for procrastination:
Sometimes, procrastination is at your own will, while at some other time, you may be compelled by various circumstantial forces to procrastinate. These may be:
- Too worried to even begin working on a task
- Feeling that you won’t be able to make it
- Difficulty in concentrating (noises, disturbances)
- Focussing more on personal problems
- You don’t like a task
- Want to be an achiever every time (perfectionism)
- lacking in self-confidence
- Inability to prioritize/poor time management
- Unhealthy lifestyle & state of mind
- Unclear of the process & understanding of the task
The effects of Procrastination:
Once you realize the importance of a piece of work, you tend to regret your past deeds:
- I should not have kept postponing this task (Being guilty)
- Why did I not finish it when I had time to do that? (Avoider)
- Now, how I will be able to do it in such less time? (Self-doubter)
- Is this going to affect my productivity? (Future dreader)
- Next time, I should plan for time and avoid procrastinating. (Decision maker)
And what you get in return?
- Distrust in you
A Point to Ponder: are we here to live such a worthless life?
So plan your future and create a rational world around you. Get inspired and inspire others in return.
So, whenever you procrastinate (be it at your disposal or because of any other governing factor) just think, is this act of yours leading you towards the path where you always wanted to be?
If not, then repeat this statement twice or maybe thrice until you recognize the real reason behind “procrastination” of your tasks and the possible solution to overcome it.
How to manage Procrastination?
1. Make and Follow Some Ground Rules
- Avoid tasks which are not so important
- Associate a reward with each task you complete
- Flush out all the fears and believe in yourself
- Monitor your progress as & when you finish a task
- Don’t avoid but celebrate your mistakes
- Be confident & remind yourself of your abilities
- Be organized & avoid distractions
- Create a personal timetable to track the progress of your tasks
According to a recent survey conducted on the employees of a particular department in a private company, they found that because of procrastination, they tend to lose around 55 days of work every year.
2. Follow the Eisenhower’s Decision Making Urgent/Important Matrix
First of all, classify your task as per the following criterion and ask yourself, “Am I doing this because it is important or because it is urgent?
To differentiate between an important and an urgent task, read the following:
Urgent: An urgent task requires immediate attention. It has a “NOW” associated with it.
Important: An important task is something which will contribute to long-term missions. Sometimes, they can be urgent, but mostly they are not.
How this matrix works:
As Jamesclear explained the time-saving activities through this box.
- Important & Urgent: Need to be done right away ( crisis)
- Important but Not Urgent: Require a proper planning, no pressing deadline attached (critical goals & activities)
- Urgent but Not Important: Require attention now, but can be completed later (interruptions)
- Not Urgent & Not Important: Which has no goal or mission associated with them, can be taken care of at leisure (distractions)
3. Set SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
S – Specific & clear
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
To be self-sustained, always set SMART goals which motivate you to achieve what you have always wanted.
4. Be Self-motivated
Self-motivation is an important concept, be it in your personal life or professional one.
You need to identify what motivates you the most. Like, I motivate myself by reading about people. Likewise, you may also inspire yourself by some different sources. Once identified, follow it regularly and try to incorporate their motivating factors in your life.
However, if you can motivate yourself, no book or inspirational speech is required for you anymore.
To do this:
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Admit to your mistakes
- Do not limit yourself (sky is the only limit)
- Be happy, whatever be around
- Focus on your self-development
- Dream big & never give up
- Live in the present, plan for tomorrow
5. Instant Reward System
In manufacturing industries, workers get an immediate reward for their good work.
It can be in the form of a pen, a watch or some thing that could give them a sense of satisfaction for their work.
This practice has strengthened the communication channel between the management and the workers, which has resulted in an increased productivity of the employees and reduced the defects that generated earlier.
Thus, a small act of motivation can lead to a significant rate of success in an organization.
So you can also apply the same strategy and get benefited.
On successful completion of a task within an estimated time frame, you can reward yourself with any thing that makes you happy.
It can be an outing with friends or family, shopping or a movie on the weekend.
6. Identify the Purpose of Your Life
Average human lifespan is around 79 years.
In which the first 25 years (childhood to adolescence) we spend in fighting the destiny to get the dream job which is practically a myth.
65-80: Last 15 years we spend in thinking about our mistakes that we have committed in the past.
25-65: The most important ones, the most influential and the ones which we utilize to design our future.
We work, we make money, get married and then have children and this represents the life cycle of a typical human being.
Ask yourself, if you:
- Wanted a typical life?
- Have achieved what you dreamt of?
- Tried doing the things which you loved the most?
Because you always waited for the weekends to pursue your passion, you always waited for the day to end.
You always procrastinated the things, your dreams.
Your habit of procrastinating the things now brings you distrust, guilt & dissatisfaction.
But it’s never too late. You still have life, a life to pursue your passion, a life to live your dreams.
Start doing what you always wanted to do.
Exercise, write, read, speak, play, shout, run, do anything but do it right away.
Life is a precious gift to us which has an expiry date.
One life, One shot. Give it a chance.
7. Calculate the Cost of Procrastination
Do you know that 0.8 billion people are between 16-30 years of age, and they spend 8 hours of their day on social media?
Yes, the phone, TV, iPad and other electronic mediums are responsible for this distraction.
If we calculate and categorize hours spent by an average human, it will be:
Sleeping: 6.5 hours
Daily Hygiene & Eating: 1 hour
Work: 8.6 hours
Traveling: 1.5 hours
Family & Household: 1 hour
Free Time: 5 hours
But how normal people spend their free time?
They spend around 1.5 hours on watching TV
They spend around 3.3 hours on mobile phone
These are the average stats. If you spend more time on mobile and TV, definitely you will cut off the time from the fixed daily routine. Which might lead to sleep disorders, hygiene issues or reaching late to the workplace/home.
If you want to live a typical life with no excitement and joy, then you can probably follow this kind of a routine life.
But if you have some goals or vision in your life, you are simply wasting your time on these things.
Suppose, if you can spend your time by working online just to utilize these free hours.
The average cost of work online per hour is 10$.
If you work for 5 hours, you add 50$ per day in your earnings, and if you continue to work, you will make 18000$ in a year.
That is the real cost of procrastination which you are losing, by spending your time on social networking sites.
8. Maintain a Work Flow
In a research conducted by an organization, it was found that when you start working on something, you need at least 15 minutes to track the FLOW of that task.
These first 15 minutes are crucial for you to gain an understanding of the task.
If you happen to lose the concentration in these 15 minutes, you will not be able to get the complete flow.
For this, you need to follow some rules. For example –
- Keep your phone away or in other room (avoid distractions).
- If you are working on a laptop, push off all the notifications.
- Sit in a comfortable position, on the chair with a small cushion for support.
- Keep a water bottle beside you.
- Keep all the necessary stationeries on your study table.
9. Make a Calendar
People often wonder when they are asked to make a daily routine chart/calendar.
They often debate that why is a schedule required for daily routine work.
I don’t say that these people are always wrong, this feeling might be yours or sometimes mine too.
But when you get involved in more things you tend to skip some of them which invite procrastination.
So it is fine to prepare a daily routine calendar. You don’t need to write details in it.
But you can mention a significant action which you will be doing all day long.
Here’s an example of a daily routine calendar.
10. Detox Your Mind
For a healthy body, you require a good and healthy routine, which includes; food, exercise, etc.
Similarly, for a peaceful mind, you need some hygienic and useful information.
For example, fat containing food reduce your body’s digestive power and tend to accumulate inside the body-tissues which are no more than garbage, which eventually leads to some diseases and finally reducing your life span.
That is why it is suggested to exercise daily to improve your body’s digestive power, increase metabolism and to keep you healthy.
In the same way, our mind also requires some practices like meditation and mindful activities to dispose of the accumulated junk.
To learn these exercises, you can download some apps which are available on the app store. For apps detail, please read this link.
11. Take the Help of Technology:
A survey says ” Once in every 4 minutes people go online to check updates on social networking websites.”
Don’t you think it is a complete wastage of time?
Another study says ” People check their phone at least 50 times per 5 hours.”
So what do you think?
Is it a habit or necessity?
The fact is we cannot avoid technology. It helps us in many ways.
But we must understand the difference between necessity and addiction.
It is hard to remind yourself every time to stop using Facebook or Whatsapp because they have created a space in your muscle memory and your unconscious memory too.
But you can use the same technology against this addiction.
There are many apps available on the app store which when turned ON can remind you to stop using the phone in the middle of your work.
Some of them are-
- Study Break (free)
- End Procrastination (free)
- Procrastination – Overcome
- Time- Beat Procrastination (Paid)
- Procraster (Paid)
- Productivity Challenge timer & etc.
12. Set an Environment:
What should be the requirement of a perfect environment to study/write or create something?
- A proper study table
- A chair
- A lamp
- A computer or laptop
- A plant
- Light source (window)
All these things create a perfect study environment. As per the requirement, things might be different.
But the purpose is to create an environment which lets you work undistracted.
I have given a reference image below which displays a perfect study environment.
This is just an example. You can create your environment as per your needs.
13. Procrastination & Perfectionism: Stop Trying to be a Perfectionist:
No one is perfect in this world, and there is no reason to be a perfectionist.
You can be imperfect but what task you have in hand should be delivered to the best of your ability.
Whenever you try to be a perfectionist, you expect things to be error-free and in perfect order.
But this can not be possible. Every time. It results in two ways: either you fail, or you stop trying.
To overcome this sense of perfectionism you need to surrender to yourself.
Adapt yourself according to the situations, don’t try to be rigid.
When you surrender yourself to change, you open a new opportunity for learning.