As a procrastinator myself I always seem to find something better to do than something productive. Whether it be watching Netflix, TV, little everyday tasks etc, which has led me to believe that sitting down and starting to do something worthwhile is the hardest part of any task. With so many distractions out in the world, now so more than ever with increased technological advancements it makes it even easier for us to choose the unfavourable action of procrastination. Which leads to a constant underlying feel of guilt whenever we are not completely on task. So I had a little look into why we put off things that are of importance and what we can do about it.
Why do we procrastinate? There are a few reasons this does in fact happen:
- Skill deficit-lack of a particular skill needed to complete the task.
- Lack of interest in the material.
- Lack of motivation-interestingly most procrastinators feels that there is something wrong with them if they lack motivation. But it has been said that motivation actually follows doing rather than the other way around. To increase motivation for a task you first have to sit down and perform it.This means the work is the actual motivator.
- Fear of failure.
- Fear of success-a feeling that your self-worth is tied into your level of achievement. If you do well then you feel more is expected of you so you fear the consequences of achievement.
- Feeling overwhelmed by the size of a project.
How can we prevent procrastination?
The most useful I found was probably to break down the job you are trying to complete into smaller tasks if you still feel uncomfortable tackling these, just break them down again until you have reached the point where you think these are easy to accomplish. This eliminates your overwhelmed feeling and will fill you with more confidence in being able to complete what is asked thereby reducing your fear of failure. Also, this allows you to celebrate the small wins as with every task you finish it will bring a sense of pride. Over the whole process, you have numerous moments of joy instead of only one right a the end. This can really help with the motivational side of things and build confidence in your abilities.
Alongside this should be a timeline you construct of all these little chunks of a project given specific deadlines rather than just one overall job deadline. This will help you stick to each individual task and have it done before a certain time.
Another effective way of combating procrastination is to change the environment you are working in, for example, does the place you work make you feel inspired to crack on or does it make you want to sleep? If it is the second option then you will need to change it, this also includes getting rid of anything that may distract you such as televisions, games consoles, friends, family, social media. For this there are a few apps you can subscribe to that will block you from websites that you spend a lot of time procrastinating on these are RescueTime and Freedom.
A few other things that you could do is to spend time with people who inspire you to gain that extra level of motivation before you start; constantly ask yourself ‘is this really getting me closer to my goals?’ and if not then go out and change it, stop what you are doing and do something more in line with your goals. Don’t think about it, just do it so you don’t have time to convince yourself otherwise.
If you have any ways to beat procrastination please post them in the comments!