People kept saying to stop procrastinating, but you do not hear many explaining how! Procrastination is a global epidemic. It is something almost everyone deals with at times, and it is a limiting force that keeps people from realizing their true potential. Even as you are reading this post, you are keeping yourself from doing something that you are uniquely qualified to do. Maybe it is starting your blog, or it could be as big as taking the steps necessary to start your own small business in the community where you live. The unknown can be scary, but procrastination is a tool for the ideal person.
In a paper released by The McGraw Center For Teaching and Learning, the authors speak of reasons why someone should overcome their procrastination. In the text, the author writes: “To overcome procrastination, it’s critical that you stay motivated for…productive reasons. I mean reasons for learning and achieving that lead to positive, productive, satisfying feelings and actions.“Of course, this is easier said than done for some serious procrastinators out there.
So the best way to break the habit is to understand it and employ some helpful tips to get you being more proactive in your life.
Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.Don Marquis
What Is Procrastination?
Procrastination is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as the action of delaying or postponing something. The irony of this statement is the use of the word action. To best understand procrastination and stop procrastinating, you have to understand that it’s done specifically to avoid the workload that exists before you, or at least in spite of it. Taking measures to keep you from having adequate time to complete a task without pressure is another way to define it. It is important to understand that people do not always procrastinate to avoid doing something entirely.
Often the workload is still accomplished, and is sufficient, but it causes a great deal of pressure and duress to get it done by a particular deadline.
In order to overcome this habit and stop procrastinating that you suffer from, you should first identify which type of procrastinator you are and why it benefits you to change this behavior.
Perhaps a more appropriate definition of procrastination can be found on its respective Wikipedia page. It is defined as: “the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.“
This better defines the term because it explains a bit of the psychology behind the decision to put off tasks. Whether it is easier to control smaller tasks in light of larger ones, or it is the active choice to do fun and enjoyable things over daunting work, the bottom line remains the same. So now you know procrastination as it has been defined in various places, but what does it mean for you and moving forward with a more productive life?
Why Do You Procrastinate?
Do you want to stop procrastinating? You have got to understand first why do you procrastinating? You should consider what it is that you are actually putting off. Some students are putting off writing their ten-page English essay they’ve known about for a week while professionals somewhere will put off their own workloads because it is time-consuming and tedious. You need to find what you’re putting off consistently and focus on the later listed ways that you can change this mindset. Part of the problem is focusing too much on the negative side of what you will have to do instead of realizing the positive feeling that completing a task before the deadline can provide. Here are some of the most common reasons that people procrastinate. To stop procrastinating, see if any of these apply to you personally.
You have got to understand first why do you procrastinating? You should consider what it is that you are actually putting off. Some students are putting off writing their ten-page English essay they’ve known about for a week while professionals somewhere will put off their own workloads because it is time-consuming and tedious. You need to find what you’re putting off consistently and focus on the later listed ways that you can change this mindset. Part of the problem is focusing too much on the negative side of what you will have to do instead of realizing the positive feeling that completing a task before the deadline can provide. Here are some of the most common reasons that people procrastinate. To stop procrastinating, see if any of these apply to you personally.
1 – The task feels overwhelming
There are lots of examples of this, from the aforementioned lengthy essay to the piles of paperwork on a desk at work. Sometimes it just feels like more than what you can accomplish on your own. Getting rooted in this mindset makes it easy to opt to do other things that you find more enjoyable in light of the heavy workload you have looming over your head that likely feels larger than it is.
2 – The task requires a lot of time
In a way this is an offshoot of an overwhelming task. It is a job that is before you that you simply know is going to take a long time to complete. The choice then becomes easy to push off to some set date prior to your deadline when you are able to devote however much time you feel the job requires all at once. This is a high-stress race against the clock at times and rarely produces the best possible product.
3 – The project is tedious and daunting
This is a big reason for procrastination because the job is well known and familiar to the person. They understand that doing the job or project is very boring, and it is a chore to complete. If this is coupled with a steady flow of these tasks, it doesn’t take long before the work has built up to be overwhelming.
4 – The project is risky or scary
This relates to people who are pushing off their own ideas and aspirations because they are scared of the outcome. An aspiring novelist might fall into this category because they are worried that their book will not be well received or overly critiqued. Similar to this, someone might push off their goals to start a blog online for fear that people won’t agree with what they have to say or believe that no one is going to subscribe to their posts.
5 – You could fail with what you try
This plays a significant role in keeping aspiring people from starting their creative projects or their business ideas. The fear of failure is a serious motivating factor in preventing actions from achieving any goal. Consider someone who has made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, exercise regularly and stop procrastinating. Once the pounds aren’t falling off as they had expected in the first couple of days, the discouragement leads to an idea that failure is inevitable, and the plan stops before the benefits had a chance to exist.
There are dozens of other reasons why people put important things off and cannot stop procrastinating, but it tends to fall into one of those general subheadings. No matter what the reason for it is occurring, the threat of the ramifications remains the same. A study put on by psychologist William J. Knaus determined that roughly only ten percent of college students do not procrastinate. Of the ninety percent that do, about a third of these are deemed chronic cases.
These generally make up the bulk of students who drop out each semester from school. So while it might seem harmless, habitual procrastination can have lasting effects on an individual. In order to combat each of these reasons for procrastination, the following will break down each of these reasons and ways that you can overcome the urge to put your work off.
Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.Christopher Parker
Overwhelming Doesn’t Mean Impossible
An important thing to remember when you are feeling overwhelmed by a task and cannot stop procrastinating that is set before you is that whoever or whatever put the job onto your shoulders felt that you were capable of doing it. Not only that, but they felt as though you were able to do it well. As with anything that is overwhelming, the important approach is to break it up into smaller jobs in order to get it done bit by bit.
Take it like you are composing a song. No one is going alone into a studio and recording all the instrumentation and tracking vocals all at the same time. It is a step by step process. When it is done this way, even an average musician is able to take each part and make a whole that can sound appealing to someone. Now consider this approach when you are facing a mountain of work at school or your job. If you can break it up into pieces and parts, suddenly the whole is easier to manage.
Another important thing to remember is that you are not alone. When you feel as though the work might be too much for just you to do alone, perhaps asking for some assistance is a two part solution. On one hand you can get some welcomed relief from the full weight of what you are asked to do. On the other hand, organizing time for your family or co-workers to aid you will require you to take definitive action towards getting the job done on their schedule.
It can curb the procrastinating while simultaneously easing your workload. Erika Anderson writes on Forbes.com, in her article “7 Things To Do If You’re Feeling Overwhelmed,” when approaching co-workers or friends to “…ask them for any insights or advice that they might have about what’s worked for them. Involving others in resolving your overload will ultimately be more satisfying for both of you — and far more useful.”
Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.Napoleon Hill
The Time It Takes and The Time You Waste Understanding that jobs require a degree of time to complete are the very foundation of a procrastinator’s arsenal. The objective here is that while you might have a good idea of how long something is going to take to complete, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a good idea to wait until the last minute to complete it.
Much like the approach to dealing with an overwhelming job that you are facing, you are going to have to choose to break up the lengthy task into pieces to make the best use of your free time to complete it. There are multiple benefits to this.
First, you are going to find yourself with more stress-free time to spend doing whatever you like to do.
When you are breaking a task into time intervals throughout the deadline period, you understand what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be done by to stay on your schedule. Consider each time that you make the choice to follow your breakdown of tasks as a victory over procrastination because you have, in actuality, set several deadlines for yourself that you are meeting. In the Journal of Psychology, there is an entry from Wendelin Van Eerde regarding training one’s self to be more aware of the time they are wasting as well as the time spent doing productive tasks.
In this entry, titled ‘Procrastination at Work and Time Management Training.’
Van Eerde writes: “Time management training consists of two basic steps that resemble the two phases of goal setting and goal striving. First of all, the individual is encouraged to develop an awareness of which goals are personally valuable and of how he or she currently uses the time to attain these goals, identifying routines and habits. Second, the person should prioritize these goals, plan how to attain them, and self-monitor the use of time.“
Essentially, through a better routine of using your time to the fullest, a routine procrastinator can become a very productive individual. The process should have health benefits as well, as looming stress carried throughout the work week will also be better managed in accordance with the time devoted to exclusively working on time consuming and lingering jobs.
It’s Just Too Boring; I Need A Break
A lot of important jobs come with a lot of tasks that are just a pain to complete. More than the tasks being overwhelming or time-consuming, they are just flat out boring. Daunting jobs or projects can be easily pushed aside with just considering what pleasurable things could be getting done instead. It is like taking that same musician discussed earlier and telling him that to make his singer-songwriter music sell, he would have to make an entire album of polka music first. Is it impossible? While it might not be impossible, that artist’s heart won’t be in the music he didn’t want to make. It would be daunting, even seemingly unnecessary.
So how do you make the conscious decision to devote your well deserved free time or even time you have available at work or school to such a boring task laid out before you? Deborah L Jacobs from the staff at Forbes.com, in her article ‘How To Deal With A Totally Boring Job’, is to find a way to change the way things are getting done so that it isn’t the same old same old. She writes: “Inject new thinking into your work. Take something you’ve already done or your team has already done and see if you can transpose it into a new — or different — medium.”
Another approach to overcoming a daunting task that sits in front of you is just to bite the bullet and get it over with. If you are at a job with these particular tedious tasks coming regularly, you should designate a time of day or the week in order just to do them. Once they are done, you are past it and can feel the weight on your shoulders. A good motivator is to reward yourself for doing the tasks you despise the most, which allows you something to look forward to upon completing them. It will help you stopping procrastinating. This is a little mind trick that can have you, depending on the way you choose to reward yourself, actually looking forward to tackling the boring job and moving onto the prize.
The Unknown Is Scary And Formidable
Perhaps one of the largest reasons that people don’t see their personal ideas and ventures through is the fear of what lies ahead for it. There are a few ways that you can overcome this line of thinking, but you need to realize that the uncertainty is something that exists regardless. You simply have to learn ways of managing and even employing that anxiety to your benefit. The start of this process is realizing that you are someone who controls the world around you or at the very least your role in things. No venture has ever been without its share of risks but thinks of the businesses and the art that simply would not exist without someone pursuing what they believed to be something great. Procrastination from a place of concern and anxiety is the worst, because there often is no deadlines to have to meet, and there are many things that are procrastinated into not even existing anymore.
But alas, there are ways that you can turn your apprehension into fuel to spark the fire of your endeavors. In the article ‘Turn Your Fears Into Fuel’, hosted by PsychologyToday.com, Rod Judkins M.A. pens regarding those who have taken steps towards moving forward in their ventures despite the risks, “What distinguishes them is that they engage their fear. They turn anxiety into energy. Action transforms their fear into vitality. Fear becomes fuel.“
So when the choice is just sitting there in front of you, and you have the option to pursue something you know to be worthwhile, you need to use your fear as fuel to propel it into motion.
There are going to be risks in anything you set out to do creatively or from a personal business standpoint. You should bear in mind what the article ’10 Fears
You Must Overcome When Starting A New Business’ hosted by Entrepreneur.com says about the risk. In it, the author states: “If you happen to invest in your business and don’t see an immediate return, keep working. Should you quit before you earn a profit, you’ll never earn a profit.” So there are risks that exist, and that are unavoidable, but shouldn’t be the brakes put on your dreams. If the idea is sound, then start working now to bring it to life. No one else is going to do it for you.
Failure Is Not An Option, Stop Procrastinating
Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.og mandino
While failure is something everyone has experienced at times throughout their life, the fear of failing is something that should not be permitted to stopping you from achieving your goals. Procrastinating on the chance that you could fail at something is like telling a child that they shouldn’t learn to talk simply because one day they might say the wrong thing. Even still, fear is a powerful motivator to stay firmly put. Overcoming this fear, for whatever the reason, is a hard mental nut to crack.
First of fall, failing at something does not in any way make the person attempting it a failure themselves. Consider the numerous times people attempt to get healthy throughout their lives, and the numerous things that prevent this from happening. Sometimes its a hectic schedule that just doesn’t allow for the time it takes to devote truly one’s self to fitness. Whatever the cause, the goal can still be obtained regardless of how many attempts it took to get where you needed to go. Consider the stories of famous business pioneers that rose from the ashes of their failed prior attempts. Walt Disney lost his job at a newspaper because the editor thought he wasn’t creative enough. After starting an animation company that didn’t succeed, he still worked to realize his dreams and created the Disney empire from nothing.
David DiSalvo, a writer for Forbes.com, wrote an article titled ‘The 10 Reasons Why We Fail’ in order to express the true understanding of failure.
In this article DiSalvo writes: “Like Yoda said [Star Wars], you just don’t believe it. The crucial part of Yoda’s dialogue with Luke is “believe.“
The human brain is a powerful problem-solving and prediction making machine, and it operates via a multitude of feedback loops. What matters most in the feedback loop is input — what goes into the loop that begins the analysis-evaluation-action process, which ultimately results in an outcome. Here’s the kicker: if your input shuttle for achieving a goal lacks the critical, emotionally relevant component of belief, then the feedback loop is drained of octane from the start. Another way to say that is — why would you expect a convincingly successful outcome when you haven’t convinced yourself that it’s possible?” Procrastinating in the light of the fear of failure is perpetuating the idea that the venture was always going to fail. Read further down to learn how to stop procrastinating.
The Missing Pieces To Your Puzzle
As was earlier discussed, ninety percent of college students show some form of procrastination throughout this developmental stage in their education. It stands to reason then that many of these students will graduate and still carry the urge to push off important assignments and tasks until the last minute as they enter into the workforce. Breaking this habit before it truly becomes a habit is the best solution, as a stronger work ethic and better outcomes will surely be the result. For millions of people, though, this has already become a way of life. Living under the stress of work that has been pushed off to a critical point. There are some things that you can do in your day to day life to help combat this ingrained behavioral decision and start reclaiming your stress-less free time.
- Get Organized, a large driving factor in chronic procrastination is disorganization. When your personal and work environments are chaotic, chances are your thought process is as well. When it comes time to stop everything and focus on one mundane task, it can become nearly impossible to give it the attention it requires. So both in the workplace and at home, get everything in its place. If you are doing too much to balance your work responsibilities and your at home workload, spread the love around to some of the other members of your family that might not have as much to do every single day.Use the resources you have to make life easier on yourself. When you aren’t stressing about a hundred other things, the project on your desk is a little less formidable. In the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, author L Michelle Tullier writes that even procrastinating in getting yourself organized with cause procrastination in other areas. “A lack of organization may lead to procrastination in other areas of your life. It sets the stage for putting off other tasks.“
- Get Enough Sleep, there are plenty of studies that exist to suggest that people aren’t getting the right amount of sleep each night. Whether it is just an active social life or a serious amount of work taken home each night, not getting enough sleep can attribute to a lack of focus or willingness to do the job that you have before you. An adult should be getting no less than seven hours of sleep. According to WebMD.com (www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/…/adult-sleep-needs-and-habits), “Some people say they can function on four to six hours of sleep each night, but research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of days, weeks, or months — have more difficulty concentrating and more mood problems than people who sleep seven to nine.
- Eat Right, having the right diet can also be instrumental in helping you to overcome your procrastination. Eating foods that are not healthy for you tend to give you small bursts of energy, but ultimately leave you feeling sluggish and unmotivated. Incorporating healthier options into your day to day, like large amounts of fruits and vegetables, keep your mind sharp and your focus on the tasks before you. It can also have a dramatic effect on your mood in general, which can help to make overwhelming tasks seem less overwhelming. Not to mention the euphoric feeling of being healthier all around can aid in the next step of how not to procrastinate.
- Get The Right Attitude, changing the way you look at the redundant tasks you do can greatly impact your overall health, and your willingness to push off less desirable tasks for another time. When you consider approaching things in a positive way, there is little that can’t fall in line with your new method of thinking. According to Overcoming Procrastination/Eliminating Procrastination, a Wiki book, the authors put a lot of emphasis on not only the effects of a positive attitude on overcoming procrastination, but even an approach to obtaining such an attitude. The book suggests that a positive mental attitude is truly essential to making the most of your time and your focus. Choosing to approach things with a better overall outlook will generally yield more positive results.
- Get Focused, perhaps a big problem in how to overcome procrastination is the lack of focus. While there are some ways to aid this process, as described earlier with a better diet and proper sleep, the process doesn’t end there. Choose to do things throughout your free time that challenge you to pay close attention to specific details. Work your mind, essentially. If you are a video gamer, there are numerous titles on all consoles that are designed to increase brain function and make you a more critical thinker and more able to handle complex problems. With this added use of your brainpower, daunting tasks or large looming projects will be much easier to tackle.
- Manage Your Time, becoming someone who doesn’t procrastinate means becoming someone who is actively aware of the time they are spending doing everything. Management of the time spent between work and personal affairs is a delicate balance that requires sound work ethics and an understanding of what the task before you demands.Being frugal with your time to work on a project, ultimately leads to pushing it off entirely. This can even be important for those that are pushing off plans to launch a company or to see a creative venture through. When you are limiting or eliminating the time spent planning and preparing this project, it will eventually be seen as fruitless and pointless, and it will be discarded.Managing your time is an absolute essential part of changing the behavior trait that causes you to procrastinate. Most universities now hand out literature on time management to help curb the high number of students feeling compelled to push off assignments to the last minute. An example of this in an excerpt from The University of Manchester literature: “The development of effective time management skills is an essential – though often overlooked – tool in helping you to achieve your academic potential. The skills you gain as a self-motivated, independent student are highly transferable and will stand you in good stead for whatever future career path you choose.“
- Be Accountable For Quality, this is an often overlooked drawback to the lifestyle of the procrastinator. The work that they are able to pull together at the last minute is rarely if ever their full potential. So on the very basis of procrastinating regularly, the employee or the student is not able to give their employer or educator their best work. When you consider the positive impression that the best work you have to offer could give, it could itself be a motivating factor to leave behind your lackadaisical ways for good.
So You’re Just Sitting On A Gold Mine?
You have been held in place by your procrastination for too long now. The future awaits you. There are all kinds of businesses and companies that never ever leave the idea stage simply because people never put them into motion. Imagine if you will if Walt Disney had simply given up and quit trying when he was told he wasn’t creative enough. Imagine if Steve Jobs had decided that he wasn’t tech savvy enough when he was fired from his first tech company he helped to create. There are all kinds of people in the world, but it really comes down to the cans and the cannots. Choosing between these can be the very push you need to break the cycle of procrastination and finally see your idea become a reality.
There is little that you are going to find online that is going to tell you that there aren’t risks to getting out there and making your idea a reality. There are plenty of risks, but there are also just as many rewards.
The time has come to get back to the drawing board and see what kind of presentation you can come up with. Take the very best ideas that you have and spend quality time working through the cogs in the machine and making sure everything is solid. You should take this time to stop and appreciate this dream as it is, visualize what it can become, and to see the future in a positive light. There are many studies to suggest that approaching things in a positive way generally makes things run more smoothly.
Networking is a huge aid in helping people get motivated to push their projects into reality. When you are able to connect with people who have seen their own visions come to be, you have a better idea of the steps you are going to have to take and the pitfalls you can avoid from their stories. In the end the person that has to make the move is you, but you will be hard pressed not to be able to find literature online or people in your community that are unwilling to give you insight into the things they’ve learned when they’ve set out on a course of bringing a business to life. All you have to do is get out there and make your presence known. You might find, through your search, more avenues for financial start up and people willing to invest in your dream. This is something that you will want to consider, as the more capital that you have to start, the more likely it seems that your business will be able to stay afloat through its critical first year.
Procrastination is a cancer for your business model, you better stop procrastinating! You have the idea and now is the time to make it something everyone else can see and appreciate as well. You’ve got the tools within this article to identify where your problem areas are with procrastinating, and what you can do in your everyday life to make yourself more able to tackle the challenges that might lie ahead. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Perhaps the difference between the cans and cannots isn’t just their willingness to move on with their grand plans, but their ability to devote the time it takes in every stage of the process. Whether your business plan is just all in your mind right now, or farther along in the developmental stages, no one is going to stop what they’re doing to take all the hard work off of your hands. It is up to you to see the process through to the end — to bring it to life.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone“Pablo Picasso
Overcome Procrastination and Take Control of Your Life
That is a sound approach to the decisions you face in whatever you tend to procrastinate. It might be your overwhelming school assignments, your workload at your job, or that business idea that just collects dust in the back of your mind. The general idea in all of this is to pursue the mountains that you are standing in front of, scale them, and see what lies beyond them as you come down the other side. You can spend a lifetime staring up the mountain face wondering if you can get to the top, or you can be someone who planted a flag on the summit that says “I’ve already conquered this mountain, and I’m off to find the next one.” The question is, how long are you planning on staring at the face of the mountain before you take the first steps towards scaling it?
Now it is your turn, did you succeed to stop procrastinating before? Are you facing any kind of procrastinating at the moment? Do you need help?
let me know in the comment section.