(set c) Cutting back on procrastination

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Reflection from a community college student:

“I was procrastinating all the time, so I started writing a journal and a daily planner, and this has turned it around.”

View Tim Urban’s famous Ted Talk “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator”

Is a procrastinator lazy? A lazy person is unmotivated. However, motivated people are often branded “lazy” when factors other than motivation prevent them from starting or completing a project. 

Does a procrastinator feels that his or her efforts may not be good enough? This is a reason for delaying that has nothing to do with laziness. This feeling can have many sources, including being highly sensitive, seeing many sides of an issue, or having been shamed for being “slow,” which is actually a sign of the deep learner. 

Does a procrastinator feel unsure about how to begin a task? This also has nothing to do with being lazy, unmotivated or unreliable. Many students learn nothing about self-esteem or project management; these skills are often assumed.

Many students suffer from anxiety, depression and such issues as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). These issues sometimes are labeled as laziness, yet they may be the result of trauma, incurred in early childhood or later in life, and which can be disabling even for a highly motivated student.  

It’s well known that almost everyone procrastinates sometimes. Society presents us with many “important” things we “must” do that are only for the money or for the approval of others. If so, no wonder we procrastinate. We would rather do better things. 

What of the person who misses deadlines seemingly just because they’re deadlines? Such a person may be rebelling against constraints even though he or she has chosen them. This person needs to reevaluate their commitments. 

Yet what if we postpone things that are really important to us? What if we delay relating to people who are close to us, ending a bad relationship, doing our creative writing or painting or music? This kind of procrastination is much more destructive than missing a school deadline. We should consider counseling to get us past such issues. 

A chronic procrastinator can easily lose track of their potential and fail to fulfill their promise. Their children are not going to see an example of someone who tries hard. They’ll see an example of a person who says “It’s all too hard” and “I’m too tired.” Then the child figures it’s OK to be too tired to get things done, because the challenges of life are too hard.  

Do you want your child to believe that?  

If you’re not getting satisfaction and happiness from a job you’re doing,

you can always get a shot of ADRENALINE!

How? Just PROCRASTINATE and then try to get it done in the last minute!

Your Adrenaline Addiction will thrive.

“Adrenalin is the #1 addictive drug in the USA.”

Procrastination definition: The practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.

According to Freud, the pleasure principle may be responsible for procrastination; humans prefer to avoid negative emotions, and to delay stressful tasks.

The belief that humans work best under pressure provides an additional incentive to postponement of tasks. “Put it off, and you’ll do it better!” This is BUNK.

You may feel you work better under pressure because of the relief you feel after getting a job done that you’ve been avoiding. But have you really done “better” work under pressure? How could you know? What could you compare it to? At this point you don’t think about what it would have been like had you faced the task, planned it out and done it one part at a time.

The truth is, NO ONE works better under pressure. People say this to rationalize their laziness and lack of planning.

Here are some useful indicators that will help you know when you’re procrastinating:

–Filling your day with low priority tasks from your To Do List.

–Reading e-mails several times without starting work on them or deciding what you’re going to do with them.

–Sitting down to start a high-priority task, and almost immediately going off to make a cup of coffee.

–Leaving an item on your To Do list for a long time, even though you know it’s important.

–Regularly saying “Yes” to unimportant tasks that others ask you to do, and filling your time with these instead of getting on with the important tasks already on your list.

–Waiting for the “right mood” or the “right time” to tackle the important task at hand.

Putting off an unimportant task isn’t necessarily procrastination: it may just be good prioritization!

Putting off an important task for a short period because you’re feeling particularly tired isn’t necessarily procrastination either, so long as you don’t delay starting the task for more than a day or so, and this is only an occasional event.

If you have a genuine good reason for rescheduling something important, then you’re not necessarily procrastinating. But if you’re simply “making an excuse” because you really just don’t want to do it, then you are.

Procrastination is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. That means that you won’t just break it overnight. Habits only stop being habits when you have persistently stopped practicing them, so use as many approaches as possible to maximize your chances of beating procrastination.

It has often been shown that one can best eliminate a negative habit by REPLACING it with a positive pattern.

It’s also been demonstrated that THREE WEEKS is a functional time period to get rid of an old habit by ceasing to indulge it – and for establishing a NEW HABIT that feels better than the old one. Twenty-one days and nights can make a major change in your life.

REWARDS are vital to the demolition of procrastination. Make up your own rewards. For example, promise yourself a piece of tasty flapjack at lunchtime if you’ve completed a certain task.

Make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things on time or ahead of schedule! This is a much better reward than the sigh of relief one has from doing a job under pressure. Would you put on tight shoes and wear them all day just for the relief of taking them off? J

Ask someone else to check up on you. Peer pressure works! This is the principle behind slimming and other self-help groups, and it is widely recognized as a highly effective approach.

Also –bear in mind the unpleasant consequences of NOT doing the task. “Psych yourself down” from your procrastination habit, and “psych yourself up” for your new freedom of doing things on time.

If you’re putting off starting a project because you find it overwhelming, here are some tips:

Break the project into a set of smaller, more manageable tasks. You may find it helpful to create an action plan.

Start with some quick, small tasks if you can, even if these aren’t the logical first actions. You’ll feel that you’re achieving things, and so perhaps the whole project won’t be so overwhelming after all.

If you’re procrastinating because you find the task unpleasant:

Many procrastinators overestimate the unpleasantness of a task. So give it a try! You may find that it’s not as bad as you thought!

Hold the unpleasant consequences of not doing the work at the front of your mind.

Reward yourself for doing the task!

Some parts of the above are excerpted and edited from www.mindtools.com