Procrastination, 6-simple-ways-to-fight-procrastination
PROCRASTINATION - Delay for No reason !


You quite often deliberately delay doing tasks ?

Friends and Colleagues say you are habitual to it but do you admit it?

Sometimes you know it's there but do you know how to deal with it?

It makes you feel helpless?

Well! you've read the heading of this article and now you are reading it further, it means Procrastination exists in your life and you are aware of its presence.

In the first place don't feel bothered as procrastination seems to be a common human phenomenon. In the second place just because its common doesn't mean its good and you can easily live your life with it.  

So, lets understand what is procrastination and further we'll see 6 easy ways to stop it.

Procrastination: An Understanding

It's high time now! I am turning into an obese. Need to do something about this immediately. 

Good, I've taken a print out of the diet chart and exercise schedule from Google.
Lets start from tomorrow...

Next Day Early Morning: Snooze Alarm! Snooze Alarm!

Thought for the entire day: Ah! never mind it's just a day lost. But will surely do it from tomorrow. 

The entire day was spent with a feeling of guilt. Why?

Given  above a is just an example of a common experience that lots of people have gone through.

There are tasks we know are of utmost importance to us as they would bring favorable results if conducted with efficiency and finished on time. Still there is something that stops us from doing it. 

Completely knowing the significance of the task there is something that leads us to delay it and leave it for the last minute.

This unknown factor that takes the driver's seat (with reference to the significant task) but dose not let the momentum happen is Procrastination.  

Procrastination is delaying an action despite of the complete awareness about its magnitude.

Procrastination in Cambridge Dictionary

Keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring.

Procrastination in Oxford Dictionary

The action of delaying or postponing something.

Psychological base for Procrastination

It's a strange phenomenon, we don't want to Procrastinate,we  know it's bad but still find it difficult to stop ourselves from doing it. 

We find it difficult to have control over the situation when procrastination is happening.

Procrastination refers to the voluntary postponement of an unpleasant task, often against one's better judgement (Steel,2007).

Research has proven that the habit of leaving things until the last moment generally results in low quality work performance and reduced well-being (Tice and Baumeister, 1997).

According to Joseph Ferrari a Professor of Psychology at DePaul University "Everyone procrastinates but not everyone is a procrastinator" (Source: www.apa.org).

Procrastinating rarely is acceptable and there is nothing wrong with it but procrastination needs to be addressed seriously if it becomes a habit. 

Results matter to all of us but the results that appear close by are paid more attention as compared to the ones that appear at the far end.

Therefore tasks that yield results in a longer span of time are more prone to procrastination.

Research base also indicates that not all procrastination is bad or leads to  harmful effects.

A clear distinction has been made between Active and Passive Procrastinators. 

Passive Procrastinators postpone task because of the inability to act in a timely manner. Active Procrastinators prefer the time pressure and purposely decide to delay a task but still are able to finish the task before the deadline and are able to generate results. (Jin Nam Choi, 2005 The Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 145. No. 3).

Procrastination to some extent can also be resultant of the childhood rearing and habit formation.

Its's reasonably easy to comprehend that a rearing where the child's environment lacks discipline, value for time or punctuality, attendance, self dependence and confidence building leads to a personality that is more vulnerable to be turned into a habitual procrastinator.

Reasons for Procrastination and How to Stop It


Most of the task in life require decision making.

Decision making as a process involves generating alternatives and choosing the appropriate one.

Once suitable alternative is chosen the decision making ends and what starts next is the action to attain what has been decided upon.

For non-procrastinators decision making and then getting into action mode is a time bound process for the reason that they have the ability to come to a conclusion and make their mind up for doing what needs to be done.

The problem with procrastinators is their inability to decide what is the best suitable course of action.

We must have come across people who are good at doing a good amount of research before choosing the most suitable alternative. Well! this is theoretically correct.  

But when this research prolongs and delays the action it generates procrastination.

Procrastinators spend all their time and energy into decision making and rarely reach a conclusion which a result of their inability to decide.

Procrastinators can do a prolonged research finding best solution but in the end fail to choose the apt one and mostly leave their decision on to others.

Which means in the end they ask others to decide what is best for them.

Once a best solution is provided by the other person they still avoid to act doubting the decision as it was not their own.

How to stop procrastination: 

Learn to keep your decisions time bound.

This nowhere means that the research on the available alternatives should be compromised upon rather focus should be on drawing a time line for this research.

To make the process more efficient at the initial stage finalize the time limit required for doing any sort of research related to the decision and most important adhere to it.

Once alternatives/solutions are generated have faith in yourself and choose the best alternative after weighing the pros and cons. This requires taking help of your confidence and sticking on to the best solution possible.

Therefore what an indecisive procrastinator needs is drawing a time limit for generating and choosing  the best curse of action possible. In continuation, the person needs to be confident enough to trust his choice of the most suitable solution. This requires enough self-confidence. Be confident to trust your decision and do not let others decide for you. Developing Self-Confidence

Time bound decisions taken by your own self have a higher possibility of success.

So decide for your self and do not delay your decisions.

Fear of Outcome

Another set of Procrastinators do not delay in decision making rather avoid getting into action and the reason is a continuous pestering thought  "what will be the outcome", "what will happen as a result of..."

Non-procrastinators not only trust their decisions but are even fearless about the outcomes of their actions. 

Procrastinators always have a fear the effect resulting from their decided action.

Fearing the consequences procrastinators generally linger the action even if they have taken a decision. They know that their decision is right but fear implementing it as it might lead to unpleasant conclusions.

In some instances they even fear that the blame of the disagreeable decisions might coming on to them.

The unpredictability of outcome assures procrastinators of at least one thing and that is - if action is avoided they will remain in their comfort zone and the challenge of facing the consequences will stay away from them. Thus, its better to linger on...

How to stop procrastination: 

Indecisive and lack of action are closely interrelated, therefore just as the indecisiveness happens due to lack of self confidence again fear of  outcome indicates lower self confidence.

Best thing with non-procrastinators is their higher confidence level to perform the action, face the consequences and move on to next level. They are fearless enough to take the responsibility of the task and its results.

So, it's important at the first stage to begin with developing the confidence level to necessarily perform the required action and be ready to face the challenge. One needs to remember, either the results would be positive or negative but in both the cases it would lead to experience building in life and the individual will learn a lesson that will help the person to perform better in future.

Individuals who avoid action fearing its consequences do not gain any experience in life and will always fear from action in future as well. 

Experiencing the consequences will make the individual expert and there are fewer chances of mistakes in future.

So its important to act at the right time and learn from its outcomes - act and become an expert. 

Also lingering makes the individual more stressed when he has to perform the action under pressure at the last moment and this leads to higher chances of mistakes and negative results.

Task not yielding Immediate Results

For all of us task that give immediate results are more interesting and generate higher level of motivation.

Instant! is the mode of life now.

We are in continuous search for things that happen ASAP and give results immediately.

May be  with the kind of lifestyle that is prevalent waiting for too long makes the outcome undesirable. 

True non-procrastinators also look for instant results but they are not habitual to it. For task that are of higher magnitude and require enough time to give results, non-procrastinators put in their time and energy and do not give up on their motivation.

Procrastinators easily lose the charm in the task if the action demands adequate time and energy from the doer before giving results.

Procrastinators, before staring the action estimate the time and effort it requires and if their quick analysis says they will have to put in a lot of effort over a longer period of time to see the results, they immediately lose interest in the task and there is no motivation to get into action.

Quick results are more appealing to procrastinators.

Similar to this are the tasks that are uninteresting or tedious as sometimes lengthy tasks are non appealing which fail to generate interest and motivation.

No wonder! procrastinators are ready to apply unhealthy and harmful methods of losing excess body weight rather then going for natural and more suitable methodology as that would require time and effort. 

How to stop procrastination: 

Longer waiting time and putting strong efforts without any immediate results is a vital concern with procrastinators as they do not see any motivation to get into action and complete the required task.

The easier way would be to break the entire big chunk of the task into smaller pieces and set miniature goals that can be achieved quickly with decent amount of effort. 

The faster achievement of these smaller targets will build on higher motivation to achieve the up coming targets. In the end the entire task that was appearing gigantic and time taking would be completed on time.

The mandatory input required in this technique is setting a time schedule for all small targets. Adhering to these targets should not be too big of a problem as they would appear undersized and would ultimately require lesser time, resources and effort giving faster results.

Recognizing the Worth of Time

"Time is money"  is not an alien proverb of any of us not even for the procrastinators.

For non-procrastinators time is seriously valuable and they know it'll never come back to them.

Procrastinators know time is money but lack the literal understanding and thus the practical application is missing in their lives.

 The clock for procrastinators runs very slow and they always feel their is enough time and therefore no need to hurry and act immediately.

They keep on waiting for the right time to to come so that they can complete the task but unfortunately this looked forward hour never comes to them or comes at the last minute right before the deadline it about to get over.

 Of course when the task not done at the right time is rather completed at the last minute will definitely lack quality and will have greater chances of mistakes and undesirable consequences.

All this... WHY? Just because time was not valued when it was available .

How to stop procrastination: 

The habit of not valuing time turns you into a habitual procrastinator.

It will be helpful if the procrastinator try to bring a change in his perception of time.

Rather than identifying time as one huge endless clock start sticking to smaller time schedules.

All procrastinators have a time limit available with them but the most important thing missing in their lives is a time schedule.

This means it is necessary to prepare a time schedule where the various tasks are fit into it depending upon their importance and urgency.

A schedule is made up of smaller time intervals which are easy to follow and generate enough pressure for action as the time seems to move at a faster pace and gives a feeling "There is not much time left."

Procrastinator acts only when the time is closer to the dead line or about to get over. Therefore, prepare a schedule to create a self generated pressure of acting through the time based episodes.

A life that is based on schedules is time bound and becomes more disciplined. This discipline will help procrastinators become more active and complete the task on time.

Overconfident about the last minute Performance

It's serious! As this one indicates that procrastination has become your expertise,

Procrastinators over a period of time become an expert in not working diligently in a time bound manner and completing the task at the last minute.

Their past experience of being able to complete the task when they are closest to the deadline generates an erroneous overconfidence which motivates them to complete most of their tasks at the eleventh hour.

There is no doubt that the tasks performed at the last minute are low in quality. But it seems such overconfident procrastinators are not bothered about quality.

How to stop procrastination: 

Performing the task during the last minute is one gamble that procrastinators should put an end to because this overconfidence can lead to negative results if they are not able to overcome the limitations of the last moment.

The biggest drawback with the last eleventh hour performance is that the individual cannot anticipate the unexpected that can appear at any point of time and puts end to their task at any stage.

Crises situations are always unexpected and few incorrect gains of the past generate an overconfidence that is never prepared to meet the challenges of the lats minute crises.

Entertainment and Leisure Time are overwhelming

Yes! this seems to be a strange one but is quite common in the lives of habitual procrastinators.

Non-procrastinators recognize the significant difference between their leisure time or entertainment and the task that require pressing attention or immediate closures.

One set of procrastinators are not able to pay attention and complete their assignment on time because for them their entertainment and leisure becomes their priority wherein they try to keep the important jobs for the last minute.

On numerous occasions procrastinators choose to get involved into enjoyment activities - sudden movie plan with friends, attending or making unnecessary phone calls, watching television when their task at hand that requires immediate attention. This is because they find these insignificant activities more interesting and decide to keep the significant jobs for the last minute.

How to stop procrastination: 

Differentiating between entertainment and significantly important task is a part of childhood rearing but still with deliberate efforts over a period of time procrastinators can control their longing for trivial activities and focus on important task that are time bound.

Such procrastinators can always keep up their motivation for the assignment at hand by continuously reminding themselves that their assigned task is time bound but not their entertainment and leisure which they can easily avail once their task is over.

Also after the completion of the task at hand they should immediately relax and get involved into their favorite leisure time activities which will eventually turn into a habit where they will start prioritizing their important work and will leave entertainment for the next stage.

This is a lengthy and time taking process and might also require the help of friends and colleague.

We all delay or keep important task for the last moment at some point of time in our lives and that's absolutely fine as a human nature but it turns out to be harmful when unnecessary delay in most of the task completion becomes a habit.

Keertika Sharma


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