• Nandini Goel


According to Cambridge Dictionary, procrastinate means, “to keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring”.

Everyone here in this world tends to procrastinate or put things off which means that procrastinators unapologetically avoid the tasks that are difficult or tiresome or simply boring and further on, deliberately look for distractions to justify themselves with some excuses. Procrastination is that state of mind where a person has exhausted his quality of self control and convinces himself to do a particular work the next day and the delay never has an end.

Procrastination is a challenge that as humans we all have to face it at one point or other. We always have been struggling with the problems of delaying things, avoiding necessary tasks, and postponing the issues that somehow matters and affects us. So, to increase your productivity, get hold upon your self control and manage to accomplish your task on time, but how? Here is a complete guide which will help you with the same:

Understanding Procrastination:

Procrastination is an act of delaying or postponing a particular work that is required to be done at ‘this’ point of time. It is a mental feeling that prevents you to follow a routine of doing certain set of tasks on the pre-decided time.

Is procrastination the same as laziness? Laziness is often used in place of procrastination, but they are entirely different. Procrastination is basically an active process where you choose to do something else instead of the task that you should be presently doing whereas, laziness is a state of inactiveness which portrays more of being lethargic, inactivity and an unwillingness to do a job.

In simpler language, procrastination is ignoring an unpleasant and undesirable but an important task and rather does a task which is more enjoyable and easier to do.

But why do we procrastinate? What is in our brain that causes us to procrastinate the things that we should be doing right now?

Causes of Procrastination:

Here is a list of causes that might fit in with your state of mind:

  1. When you lose the track of time, you might mismanage the schedule of your day. To avoid this, you should keep a watch by your side; it might be a table clock or a wrist watch, or simply your phone. Through any gadget, keep a check on your time regularly.

  2. When you are too judgmental about the tasks you have to do, you might procrastinate your work by simply remarking it as a tough or tiresome or boring job. For this, try to repose the thoughts running in your mind. You always can’t be impulsive and henceforth, avoid every task that has been assigned to you just on the basis of your personal thought process.

  3. You are a perfectionist and want to do accomplish every task without a mistake. Due to this, you might find your task long and tiresome. In other words, a good quality is working against you. In this case, you should simply start with some of the work and accomplish the whole in bits and remember the saying, “Something is better than nothing.”

  4. When you are handling difficult tasks, you tend to procrastinate. You are unwilling to pick up a task which will tire you physically, mentally or consciously. For this, you might opt the process of delegating. A person who is superior to you in handling the same task, you can ask him/her to help you with some part of it.

  5. On the contrary, you are handling the tasks which are too easy and needs to be done repetitively then you might be bored. These tasks can be generally outsourced at minimal prices. So, practice buying these services or doing it by your own in free time.

  6. When you are emotionally so weak that you can’t handle a failure or rejection. Even successful people fail, but they don’t allow themselves to be affected. Instead, they face and accept the rejection and learn the required lessons from the same. Therefore, motivate yourself by always reminding, that one chance is worthy enough and is deserved by your career.

  7. None of the Above. It’s simply a habit that has developed over time. In this case, you need to practise of changing your habit.

Overcoming Procrastination:

1. Recognize that when you are procrastinating: If for a genuine reason, you're delaying an important task, then you aren't necessarily procrastinating. However, if you putting off that important task indefinitely, or deviating your focus because you simply want to avoid doing so, then you are actually procrastinating your work. Some of the symptoms that you are procrastinating your work is:

  • Fill your entire day with less priority tasks.

  • Leave an item in your to-do list for and never bring it to action even if you know that it’s important.

  • Reading a particular email several times but you are incapable to make a decision on what to do about it.

  • Start a high-priority task and then distract yourselves by doing other tasks simultaneously.

  • Fill your time with unimportant tasks that are asked by other people and get off from doing important tasks that is your everyday requirement.

  • Wait to be in "right mood," or wait for the "right time" to accomplish a task but that “right time or mood” never comes to place.

2. Analyze the Reasons behind your procrastination: You need to comprehend the reasons behind your procrastination before you can adopt some strategies to overcome it. One of the major reasons behind your procrastination could be the poor organization of your workload. Organized people successfully accomplish their prioritized tasks that are mentioned in their to-do lists and effectively follow their pre-planned schedules.

Another reason could be your negative vibes about that particular job. You might feel that the task is boring, tiresome, difficult or maybe all at once. You would prefer to rest yourself in comfort rather than doing a tedious task.

You may have the fear of facing a failure and above that, some people are afraid of success wherein they believe that they will always be overloaded with plenty of jobs. Other than that, perfectionists are also procrastinators as they believe they need to do each job perfectly and if they aren’t able to do so, after a particular time they tend to procrastinate.

3. Adopt Anti Procrastination Strategies: Procrastination is a habit which has been developed after a particular span of time. This means that once you have thought of breaking down this habit, you won’t be able to do it at one go. Habits won’t be a part of your customary lives only then when you are able to curb your strong choice towards it and avoid practicing them. So, go through the anti procrastination strategies listed below so as to give yourself the best possible chances of accomplishing the tasks effectively:

  • Firstly, forgive your procrastination in the past. Studies tell that self forgiveness can help you to feel more optimistic about yourself and believe in your capability of doing your tasks on time. It will also help you to reduce the likelihood of procrastination in the future.

  • Avoid Catastrophizing. It’s basically the judgement that you lay about a particular task that you have to do. It may be related to how tough, how boring, or how painful you feel to accomplish the designated task. Therefore, built a subtle frame of mind which accepts every form of work and is capable of doing the same without any judgements.

  • Focus on doing a task and not on avoiding it. List down your tasks as per the levels of priority and specify a particular time that you will be giving to accomplish them. This is basically preparing a schedule for your work.

  • After you are successful in preparing your schedule, set yourself up for accomplishing the tasks. The jobs you are performing may take longer than you have expected or planned, so always keep an option of extra time in your schedule. Try to be easy with yourself and plan your schedule realistically.

  • Divide your big task. Sometimes, your task may seem as overbearing which takes a lot of time and therefore, you tend to procrastinate. The best way to manage it is to break down into pieces, basically into smaller tasks. This will give mental peace of easiness. You could accomplish smaller tasks rather than a bigger one maintaining your comfort level. This process will help you to avoid procrastination.

  • Avoid making excuses. Be true to yourself and avoid the phrases like, “It’s not the right time to do it” or “I am not in the mood to do it” or “I need this/that which will make my work comparatively easier”. The day on which you will realise that there’s no right time, place or mood designed to do a particular work, right then you will find each parameter perfect to go with.

  • Ask someone to have a check upon you. This will help you to have a desirable pressure to accomplish your tasks on time.

  • Reduce your distractions. Switch off your mobile and social networking sites. Stay away from movies and stuff like that.

  • Drop the idea of perfectionism. It’s just a mentality that is provoking you to not to accomplish the tasks on time. You may believe that a certain task done is to be either perfect and if it’s not then it is incomplete or a complete failure. This philosophy can’t be adopted in every sphere of life as it has high possibilities of working against you.

  • Promise yourself a reward for accomplishing a task. After you have managed to accomplish a difficult task, don’t hesitate to take yourself on a treat.

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