Procrastination is an active process of ignoring an uncomfortable, but more important task, in favor of one that is more enjoyable or easy, but since it’s an internal struggle how can you overcome procrastination easily?
While procrastinating is a common human tendency most of the time it’s confused with laziness, which in contrast, is a sign of low self-esteem, lack of discipline, low confidence, or simply a lack of belief and interest.
Almost everyone struggles with procrastination so you are not alone. People procrastinate from time to time to various degrees in their everyday life. It is said about 20 percent of adults have regular bouts of procrastination, and 50% of the student population suffer from it in a serious and chronic manner.
The 2 Types of Procrastination
1. Acute procrastination – Procrastinating from time to time
Acute procrastination is a behavioral response to something that’s bothering or affecting you.
Some reasons include:
- Low levels of energy
- Being in an irritated emotional state
- Getting burned out
- Office politics
- A monotonous and boring task
- The task is not as important
2. Chronic procrastination
Chronic procrastination is not a disorder, however, it can be associated with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Here are the most frequent reasons for chronic procrastination:
- Aversion to completing tasks
- Lack of assertiveness, fear, and self-sabotage
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Unreasonably high goals and expectations
- A lack of skills
- Increased stress
- Perfectionism and other cognitive distortions
Chronic procrastinators or Lazy people are those who have made it a habit of putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, delaying, and doing things at the last minute.
“Laziness is a secret ingredient that goes into failure. But it’s only kept a secret from the person who fails.” -Robert Half
The Key to Beating Procrastination is Focus
We are often overwhelmed when we stack our schedules with too many things to do. Whether your procrastination is a minor issue that simply hurts your productivity or a major issue that prevents you from achieving your goals. You have to understand the long-term benefits of doing what needs to be done at your allotted schedule.
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin.
11 Techniques to Overcome Procrastination
- Break large tasks into small, actionable steps
- Prioritize at least 3 major tasks for the day
- Set deadlines for yourself
- Eliminate distractions
- Give 100% at your peak performance time
- The 5-second rule- Mel Robins. (When you procrastinate count to five backward and when you reach one, get up and do it)
- Use the Pomodoro Technique- work in bouts of 20 min. then take a break
- Reward yourself for a job well done
- Leave room for mistakes
- Visualize your future self and your future life
- Think long term- Focus on your goals instead of on your tasks
Surprising Benefits of Procrastination
- Procrastination gives you space to think before you act, some delays can give you time to make better decisions, especially if you need more information.
- Time constraints force you to choose tasks to help you prioritize your work.
- What matters most in your life? Procrastination provides the time for you to think and reflect. You can narrow down your thoughts or clear your mind by taking the time to think things through – or think of nothing at all.
- Research by Chu and Choi in 2005 found that active procrastinators were not paralyzed by worry. They exhibited lower stress levels and less avoidant tendencies.
- There is a school of thought that the first ideas or solutions to problems are usually not the best ones. The best solutions are often the result of deliberating through different options over time. This means your most creative ideas may come through due to procrastination.
The End-Product of Procrastination
I know it’s easier said than done after all we are only human and it is a normal impulse to procrastinate from time to time but understanding you’re why, your long-term goals, discipline, and good habits shield you from procrastinating more often than you would like. A study of the costs and benefits of procrastination, performance, and stress found that procrastination is a self-defeating behavior pattern characterized by short-term benefits and long-term costs.
Here’s another great read: MANAGE YOUR LIFE BY MANAGING YOUR ATTENTION