The year is gradually running to an end. Yes! Read that again. 2022 is gradually running to an end and if there’s anything we battle with, in times like this, it is Procrastination. I was going through the goals I had set for this year and discovered how little I have accomplished because of this plague. I even procrastinated several times before I had this post published. The same can be said for several others who get their precious time stolen by this thief I’ve termed Procrastination. We procrastinate and do not know why we do it. Studies have revealed the reason we procrastinate and possible ways to end it.
Procrastination, the habit of putting away things to a later time, is caused by negative emotions such as fear, guilt or even boredom. It is a form of stress relief. You procrastinate because you want to avoid these negative emotions and get a little stress relief. Does that make sense to you?
You are procrastinating getting that assignment done because it is boring, so you’d rather watch movies now than face that boredom.
You are procrastinating sorting out those files because you are stressed about something and sorting out those files doesn’t relieve that stress as gisting probably would.
You are procrastinating getting started on those goals because of your fear of failure.
It all makes sense right?
Our brain is wired to avoid negative emotions. It will do this at any cost, which is why we procrastinate.
It is wired to strive not thrive, therefore it tends to avoid anything that puts it in a place of discomfort. It doesn’t know however that activities that takes us out of our comfort zone are what will make us great. This is why good is the enemy of great. It is your job to continually reset your mind to develop a thriving mindset; a growth mindset.
There are three stages before a habit is formed. First, there is a trigger, then a pattern and finally the reward. In the case of procrastination, the trigger is stress. The pattern followed is to avoid that stress and you get a little stress relief as a reward.
Interrupt the habit of procrastination by changing your pattern from avoidance.
You may ask, how exactly do I do that?
Below are five steps that can be taken to end procrastination
Forgive yourself for everytime you procrastinate
It is common cycle to beat ourselves up for procrastinating, only to end up doing it again. You’re not the first person to procrastinate and you certainly won’t be the last. Forgive yourself every time you procrastinate and get to the task anyways.
Procrastinate about procrastinating
Sounds funny right, but whenever the thought to procrastinate comes, procrastinate that thought and get to work. I’ve done this several times and it has worked for me. Instead of dwelling on the thought of putting your work to a later time, forget about that thought and simply get to work.
I don’t know where to start from is the statement we usually make when we are just about to procrastinate. Start somewhere! Start anywhere. Many times, we don’t have to do things in a perfect manner like we always think. I can be referred to as a perfectionist so I know what I’m talking about. I would procrastinate simply because I want my work to be done in an overly organized manner, but now I’ve learnt to start anywhere, sometimes I even begin from the end. You will find out that the pieces will fit in together and then you can rearrange, but procrastinating is not going to get any work done.
Come up with a strong why
If you don’t have a reason for doing something, then you’re most likely not going to do it. Come up with reasons why you must do that project and visualize the benefits you will gain when you eventually get to finish that project on time. Having a strong why makes you attach meaning to the task, which in turn reduces procrastination.
Enjoy the process
Many times we procrastinate because we dread the process. How about you focused less on the destination and took time to enjoy the journey. Do things for the sake of doing it and not necessarily for the external reward; because when the external reward isn’t forthcoming, we tend to procrastinate.
Have you procrastinated a task in the past? What was your reason and how did you overcome? Share in the comments below.