How often do you find yourself saying things like “I should really start working on my project” or “I should get started on my homework”? Procrastination is a common problem for students, workers, adults, and children alike, and it seems to be getting worse every year.
If you’re a notorious procrastinator, and you’re ready to nip those bad habits in the bud, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about procrastination and how you can rid yourself of it in just a few quick steps.
What Is Procrastination?
Procrastination is defined as delaying an action until later because you don’t want to deal with the consequences of starting now. The problem is that procrastinators tend to put off tasks they dislike or find unpleasant. This leads them to spend less time on important activities and miss out on opportunities.
If you procrastinate, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by the University of California at San Diego, nearly half of all college students are guilty of procrastinating.
And according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), procrastination is one of the top 10 reasons people seek professional help from mental health professionals.
Why Do We Do It?
There are many different theories about why people procrastinate. Some believe it’s due to laziness, while others think it’s a coping mechanism used when we feel overwhelmed by life.
The truth is, there’s no clear reason why we procrastinate. Whether it stems from fear, laziness, an underlying mental health issue, or something else, it’s a real problem for many of us.
If you do have an underlying mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD, you may be more susceptible to procrastination. Thankfully, whatever the cause, we can do things to alleviate these behaviors and get on the path to a more productive and fruitful lifestyle.
Procrastination: The Devastating Impacts
In today’s world, it’s become a bit of a joke to call ourselves ‘procrastinators’. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with using humor as a coping mechanism, there’s a tendency to downplay the severity of procrastination.
the truth is, its impacts can be incredibly detrimental. Here are just a few of the ways procrastination can affect our lives:
You’ll Spend More Time Than Necessary On Tasks That Aren’t Important
We know that when we procrastinate, we end up spending more time than necessary completing tasks that aren’t very important. For example, if you procrastinate writing your next paper, you might end up spending hours researching topics that could take only 20 minutes to write.
Your Work Will Be Less Accurate
When you procrastinate, it becomes harder to focus and complete work accurately. In fact, research shows that procrastinators make more mistakes in their work than non-procrastinators. So, if you’re prone to procrastinating, you might end up making costly errors in your work.
You Might Miss Out On Opportunities To Learn New Things
When you procrastinate on a task, you might decide to avoid doing it altogether. But, if you do eventually tackle the task, you won’t have learned anything new. If you procrastinate studying for a test, you might skip class entirely. Or, if you procrastinate on learning a new skill, you might never master it.
You Could End Up With A Bad Reputation
There’s no doubt that procrastination has a negative impact on our reputation. When we procrastinate, it makes us look lazy, irresponsible, and unreliable. These perceptions can negatively influence our ability to land jobs or maintain relationships.
You’ll Damage Your Own Confidence
When we procrastinate, we feel guilty. This, in turn, affects our own confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. You may end up feeling embarrassed about your behavior, which can even put a strain on your relationships with other people.
How To Stop Procrastinating In Three Steps
The first step towards stopping procrastination is awareness. If you know what causes your procrastination, then you’ll be able to avoid falling into old habits. For example, if you know that you procrastinate when you feel anxious, you’ll be better equipped to handle those feelings.
You might also try to understand why you procrastinate in the first place. Is it due to laziness, lack of motivation, or something else entirely? Once you identify the root cause, you can take appropriate measures to change your behavior.
Once you become aware of your procrastination patterns, here’s how to stop procrastinating in three easy steps:
Step 1: Get Started
Start small. You’ll probably feel overwhelmed and anxious when you first begin tackling a task. So instead of attempting to tackle the entire thing right away, focus on doing a little bit each day. That way, you won’t feel so pressured, and you’ll be more likely to stick with the process.
Step 2: Set Realistic Goals
Make sure your goals are realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting impossible deadlines or expectations. Instead, make sure you set achievable goals that will lead to success.
If you set too high of a goal, you’ll end up feeling frustrated and defeated before you even begin. On the other hand, you’ll never reach your full potential if you set a low goal.
Step 3: Reward Yourself
This last step isn’t always necessary, but it can go a long way towards helping you stay motivated. Think of rewards as positive reinforcements.
For example, they could include anything from a relaxing bubble bath to a new book. Whatever works best for you, reward yourself after accomplishing a task. Even if you only pat yourself on the back, it will still motivate you to keep going.
Now that you’ve learned how to stop procrastination, you should be well on your way to becoming a more productive person!
Unfortunately, procrastination is a vicious cycle, and its effects are far-reaching. If you’ve spent too long practicing avoidance and downplaying your ‘go-getter’ attitude, it may be time to make a change. Follow our three simple steps to rid yourself of procrastination today, and watch your life change for the better!