Procrastination is the decision of delaying or avoiding the task that you need to complete until the last minute, and instead doing something else that is less important. Do you struggle to finish a task? Do you feel like you have to drag yourself to start a task? Are you often overdue with deadlines or constantly asking for an extension? Do you have a lot of different excuses for not being able to meet deadlines? Do you like doing the easy job first and leaving the hard one for later? Are you easily distracted? If so, you are most likely a procrastinator. The question here is how to stop procrastinating.
THE REASONS BEHIND PROCRASTINATION
Every one of us will occasionally put things off until the last minute with small things. However, some people have a problem with procrastination in big tasks, despite the consequences that they have to face. There are some contributing factors to why some struggle with procrastination, such as (but are not limited to):
1. Lack of self-discipline
Procrastinating people don’t like to follow a timetable and have poor time management. It can stem from their upbringing, where their parents did not teach them clear boundaries and consequences if they do not follow through. Self-discipline is about keeping going with what you need to do.
2. Lack of self-control or lack of delayed gratitude
Lack of self-control is different from a lack of self-discipline. Lack of self-control is more about not saying “No” or “Stop” to yourself. Procrastinators want everything right away, even though it will impact your life and others. These people typically want to enjoy life or the reward first, then work hard later.
3. Lack of perseverance
This means you give up easily when facing difficulties. You tend to look more on the negative than on the positive side. Hence, you put the challenging task off or give it up altogether, rather than being perserverance.
4. Fear of failure
Some may have high expectations of themselves, or they are under high expectations from other people. These high expectations make them feel overwhelmed — their fear of not fulfilling it or being seen as failing impacts them and causes them to procrastinate.
Procrantinating people tend to blame others or their surroundings for making them unable to do the tasks. They don’t take responsibility but defer it to others.
HOW TO STOP PROCRASTINATING
No matter what factors cause you to procrastinate, it is possible to stop procrastinating. However, you need to be willing to work on it and follow through with it, because stopping it will not happen overnight as it is a work in progress.
Here are some of the processes and practical steps that you can do to stop procrastinating:
1. Changing your belief system
Most people do not seem aware that their actions are usually supported by their intentions – what they want to achieve by doing those actions, and their intentions, are supported by their belief system. Unless you change your belief, it is tough to change your procrastination. If you believe that procrastination is equal to enjoying life now, then you will continue procrastinating. When you change your belief to procrastinating leading to more problems that I need to deal with later, then you will be able to stop procrastinating.
2. Dividing your task into smaller chunks and putting them into a timetable
Dividing your job into smaller pieces will help you to not feel overwhelmed by it, but will also help you to be able to focus on one thing at a time, which is more achievable. Once you have finished one part, then you can move on to the next one. In doing so, you will be able to meet your deadlines. Putting tasks into a timetable will help you to make sure that you finish your job on time. This will help you to stop procrastinating.
3. Have little breaks
It would be best if you had little breaks between your tasks. Once you finish one part of your job, take a 5 minute break. However, you need to stick with your timetable, meaning you need to go back and do the following task and not get distracted. Therefore, take a short break like getting up from your chair, drinking some water or taking a little snack; rather than playing a game, will help you not procrastinating.
4. Start working on the difficult task first
The reason to start with the harder task first is so that you get the hard part over and done with, and you can enjoy doing the easy ones after. As you need more energy to do the challenging task, it is wiser to do it while you are still fresh, and when you feel tired, you can still do the easy ones easily. If you do the easy ones first, most likely you will procrastinate the tough ones.
5. Choosing your best time of the day to work on the most challenging task
Some are more of a morning person, while others are more of an afternoon or night person. Choosing your best time of the day means you have the best energy to concentrate on doing the difficult job rather than doing the hard one during the lowest part of your day.
6. Clear all distractions
Knowing what your temptations are and moving them away from your desk can help you to stay focused on finishing your tasks.
7. Ask for help
Do not let your pride get in the way of you seeking some guidance or help from other people who know how to help you. Asking for help is not a weakness, instead, it shows how much courage you have to draw wisdom from others.
8. Having a person to keep you accountable
If you find yourself not being able to keep up with your timetable, having someone else whom you trust to keep you accountable will help. Asking someone to check on you will require you to be open to being vulnerable. This will help you start the process of stopping your procrastination.
9. Reward yourself
Often people reward themselves with something that is not healthy, such as eating junk food or with alcohol, etc. Remember, finishing your task on time is the reward in itself.
Sometimes there are deeper issues, such as depression, anxiety, self-confidence, abuse, trauma, the substance of abuse, etc., that can cause someone to procrastinate. If you are in one of these situations, you most likely need professional help to deal with the root of your procrastination.
If you have any concerns or questions, whether you need professional help or not, you can use this column below or call us, and we are happy to assist you.