March 31 2023
Procrastination – what is it, really?
Procrastination is the habit of postponing tasks. It is related to difficulties with starting tasks, and results in doing them at the last possible moment. What causes it and how to get rid of it?
– “One of the benefits of working in coworking spaces in the lack of additional distractions. When we can see how other teams are focused, it enhances our concentration on tasks. The situation at home is completely different – roommates, smartphone or TV may not be conducive to work”, says Marta Kamińska from Solutions.Rent.
Procrastination = laziness
There is a popular belief that people who procrastinate are lazy. They don’t want to do their chores and that is why they prefer to occupy themselves something different. However, that is not the real cause. Moreover, procrastination does not equal relaxation and rest. It is related to the belief that a task should be completed, but avoiding it nonetheless. Excuses (e.g. “I still have a lot of time”, “no one has started yet”, “I have something more important to do”) only work for so long. Guilt, stress, anxiety and fear usually accompany them.
Causes of procrastination
There are a lot of reasons for postponing what needs to be done. Some of them are anxiety-based. It might be a good idea to reflect on it to figure out which one is about you. When you do, you will be able to take effective steps to change your attitude and reach your goals in a timely manner.
One of the reasons is perfectionism. Those to whom it applies want to complete their tasks at 150%, have high expectations towards themselves and feel unnerved at the thought of failure. Everything needs to be impeccable and flawless. If a project is demanding and important, they get overwhelmed by the fear of failure, which prevents them from even trying.
Some people are only able to do anything at the eleventh hour. The thought of consequences (e.g. a reprimand from their boss, dismissal from work) motivates them to complete their tasks, but they leave them for the last possible moment, close to the deadline. External motivation is at play here.
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How to deal with procrastination?
First, you need to identify the problem and its cause. If you know what you are dealing with, it is easier to find a solution. Working on your perfectionism can be slow going, but is effective. It may help you to try psychotherapy, read books on personal development and acknowledge that your work may still be great, even with some shortcomings. If you are one of those motivated by negative consequences, you should look closely at the patterns. Is the promise to yourself (“I will start the project today”) less important and valuable than the promise made to your boss?
Moreover, it is good practice to divide projects into smaller tasks, set and stick to specific working hours, make your environment conducive to work and get rid of distractions, pick a convenient hourly system (e.g. Pomodoro technique) and adjust it to your biological clock (early morning or late evening).
When you limit procrastination, your life will be calmer and easier. You will be able to have quality rest and relaxation, your guilt trip will become a thing of the past and your work will be done on time.
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