Procrastination comes as no surprise to us anymore, especially considering the year we left behind and the one we’re living in.
We were overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety, stress, depression and uncertainty, and if that wasn’t enough – people, co-workers and bosses were expecting us to be productive.
Most of us patted ourselves in the back, saying that it’s a pandemic, and that we shouldn’t force productivity.
However, were we really passing through rough times, or was the pandemic just a yearlong excuse to help us justify our procrastination.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, hell, ever since the industrial revolution, the idea of productivity pounds above our heads and it leaves us struggling and anticipating, until we get the job(s) done.
So why do we procrastinate?
Even if it does make us feel even worse, procrastinating at that moment we decide to do so feels like a relief. As human beings, we tend to be attracted by momentary, faster rewards rather than long term ones.
In the case of procrastination, the momentary relief is our short-term reward, whereas we set aside the long term one – which is our task that is supposed to be completed.
As stated in the NY Times, A 2013 study of Dr. Pychyl and Dr. Sirois found that procrastination can be understood as “the primacy of short-term mood repair … over the longer-term pursuit of intended actions.”
Put simply, procrastination is about being more focused on “the immediate urgency of managing negative moods” than getting on with the task, Dr. Sirois said.
This means that more often than we think, procrastination is not merely an avoidance from a task, but a mixture of deeper feelings related to the task, such as self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety or insecurity.
The Best Tips To Fight Procrastination
You know how there are these memes on the internet, which make procrastination look like a very cool thing, giving it a hilarious perspective that fools us into believing that this isn’t much of a big deal after all. Ignore them.
The first step to fighting procrastination (it’s not a disease, it’s a state of mind, but it’s still preferable to use stronger language) is acknowledging that you do it, that it’s stopping you from being successful and that it’s stealing your peace of mind.
The next step after you have acknowledged that you are a master procrastinator, is to observe your feelings when your gut is telling you to procrastinate.
Analyse those feelings, and see what they are trying to tell you. Are you insecure about performing this task? Are you bored?
Or are you anxious and don’t know where to start? At the same time, watch what you spend your time with while you procrastinate.
Be aware of the minutes and hours you’re letting pass by, to know and understand why delaying your tasks is not worth it.
Usually, when we plan ahead for tasks that we must complete, we plan without considering the amount of time we procrastinate.
We estimate the task as easy, or as difficult, and we give it a week, a month, or three months, this without calculating the hours and days we will be totally off and away from being productive.
When you set the time for completing your task, make sure to set time also for procrastinating, and use the days planned for procrastination to completely wander off of work.
Then you get back to it, well-rested and knowing that you’re not running out of time.
As difficult as it may seem, considering that our phone and social media have become the main causes of our procrastination, it is highly recommended that we try to remove these distractions when we’re working.
Leave your phone in another room, turn off the wifi, leave your phone at home and go work at a library, or simply turn off all devices and use only your laptop to work offline (if possible). And then treat yourself with a cup of coffee or food after every 45 minutes spent with no distractions. It worked for me!
In a 2012 study examining the relationship between stress, self-compassion and procrastination, Dr. Sirois found that procrastinators tend to have high stress and low self-compassion, suggesting that self-compassion provides “a buffer against negative reactions to self-relevant events.”
Several other studies show that self-compassion supports motivation and personal growth, decreases psychological distress and boosts motivation.
Self-compassion and forgiving yourself is the antidote of procrastination, so make sure to go easy on yourself during the improvement process, and soften the inner voice which you often use to punish yourself for being the procrastinator you are.
After all, becoming better versions of ourselves is a lifelong process, not something that happens overnight!
Next week, Youth Time is hosting a week-long event about corporate responsibility. Come and join us!
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