When it comes to being more productive, there’s nothing that gets as much as procrastination. Nobody likes having to pushing things to tomorrow, next week, next month, and then ultimately never, but there’s a good chance that even you have done it yourself.
When this does happen, knowing the real reasons why it happens to you will help you to get started and be productive throughout the day. Here’s what you need to know to get you started:
It’s difficult to stop
When you’re stuck with a to-do list as long as your arm, five minutes of not doing anything “productive” is a welcome break.
This short break then extends to ten minutes, then thirty, and then an hour. Repeat ad infinitum. Repeat until it gets pushed to a vague “later”, or “tomorrow”. When you’re really good at this, you can waste several hours doing this.
Even though many people see it as nothing more than laziness or a sheer lack of self-discipline, it can really bring a person down in a lot of ways.
So why do we procrastinate?
There are a lot of triggers
As much as there are different types of procrastinators, there are different reasons why people end up procrastinating instead of crashing out items on their “to-do” list.
Many psychologists se procrastination as an extreme coping mechanism that takes over when a person views a task with anxiety and dread. To avoid negative feelings, attention is instead focused on something that brings more immediate pleasure.
Another reason for procrastinating is how we see our present and future selves as different people, and this lack of empathy towards our future selves is what makes us leave tasks for our future selves to handle.
You can control it
Whether you like it or not, procrastination exists, and there can be a lot of reasons why that happens or why you do it.
Now that you know what it is and why it happens, here’s how you can stop procrastinating:
• Embrace laziness. You’re not built to be productive all the time. It sounds counter-intuitive, but there are simply times that you need to listen to your body and mind. Think of this as “re-booting” before going back to the task at hand.
• Be lazy in a productive way. To do this, first find out how the task makes you feel. If the task is too huge, break it down into smaller parts. If it’s boring, make it interesting. If it’s confusing or it’s scary, ask for clarification or support.
• Start prioritizing. Find out which tasks are truly urgent from the ones that can wait, separate the former from the latter. Do the most difficult one first to make succeeding tasks feel much easier.
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to get rid of procrastination for good. But being able to deal with it when it happens is what lets you perform better.