“I don’t want to do it today”, “I’ll try tomorrow”. You may hear yourself and those around you utter these phrases commonly. This is simply what is termed as ‘procrastination’ and has become a common habit of our generation that is not beneficial for us.
As per the Oxford Dictionary, ‘Procrastination’ is defined as, “The action of delaying or postponing something, often because it is unpleasant or boring.” Some researchers define procrastination as a “form of self-regulation failure characterized by the irrational delay of tasks despite potentially negative consequences.”
In a layman’s words, it is that feeling or act when you postpone or simply don’t bother to do your pending assignments even though you know that tomorrow is the deadline, only because you don’t feel like it or you are bored.
To understand and develop the ways to overcome procrastination, we need to grasp its causes for every different individual. There are some verified causes of this phenomenon or feeling, whatever you’d like to call it.
We often assume that projects won’t take as long to finish as they really will, which can lead to a false sense of security when we believe that we still have plenty of time to complete these tasks.
- One of the biggest factors contributing to procrastination is the notion that we have to feel inspired or motivated to work on a task at a particular moment. No motivation to work = no work is done.
- A meta-analysis found that a whopping 80% to 95% of college students procrastinated regularly, particularly when it came to completing assignments and coursework. They tend to
• Overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks.
• Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future.
• Underestimate how long certain activities will take to complete.
• Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project.
(extract from verywellmind.com)
- Procrastination can also be a result of depression. Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and a lack of energy can make it difficult to start (and finish) the simplest task.
- People with OCD often have a propensity toward indecision, causing them to procrastinate rather than make a decision whereas you might think they are the most perfect lot. No, they aren’t.
- Many people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) struggle with procrastination. When you’re so distracted by outside stimuli, as well as internal thoughts, it can be hard to get started on a task, especially if that task is difficult or not interesting to you.
- In addition to the reasons why we procrastinate, we often come up with several excuses or rationalizations to justify our behavior. Not knowing how to do something, not wanting to do something, not caring if it gets done or not, not caring when something gets done, not feeling in the mood to do it, or being in the habit of waiting until the last minute is some of the common thoughts that lead to procrastination.
Furthermore, procrastination is not about time management. It comes down to emotion management. We have lots of time but still, put off doing our project only to scroll through the feed.
Emotional motivation is the key to solve this issue at the basic level. It is only in cases where procrastination becomes chronic and begins to have a serious impact on a person’s daily life that it becomes a more serious issue. In such instances, it’s not just a matter of having poor time management or self-motivational skills, it’s a major part of their lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this procrastination can have a serious impact on several life areas, including a person’s mental health and social, professional, and financial well-being and grows up to be a parasite of our happiness and success.
Here are some tips for overcoming/avoiding the procrastination plague and completing all your assignments on time.
- Make a to-do list (and strive to complete it)
- Eliminate distractions
- Take baby steps towards your bigger goals
- Pat yourself on the back and recite some positive affirmations
- When you feel like quitting, go and take a walk in the park
- Stay clear of negative people and thoughts
Even though it is pretty generic and basic advice, these habits will surely help you build a better version of yourself. And remember to be consistent!!