Quick links about Procrastination:
- What is Procrastination?
- Why do We Procrastinate?
- The Consequences of Procrastinating
- What Can We Do to Stop Procrastinating?
- Benefits of Stopping Procrastination and Getting Things Done.
- Why stopping procrastination can make us feel happier?
What is Procrastination?
The word procrastination comes from the Latin words pro (for) and cras (tomorrow) and literally means to leave something “for tomorrow.”
Basically procrastination is the postponement of something that we know we should do now.
Has it ever happened to you? It has certainly happened to me…
Unfortunately, Procrastination is very common in people and most of us don’t seem to realize that the habit of procrastination can bring a lot of negativity and problems in our life, but instead of doing something about it, we seem to accept it and get on with it.
That’s why I have decided to write a post about procrastination, to inspire and motivate as many people as I can, to stop procrastinating because I believe Procrastination can kill our Happiness.
Procrastination is also the opposite of ideal productivity. To produce, we need to pull and work forward to get things done, while with procrastinating, we are pushing things forward for tomorrow, next week or probably never.
I also believe that procrastination prevents the majority of human beings from getting the most out of life.
Now let’s start with understanding the reasons why we procrastinate, so:
Why do We Procrastinate?
Here are some common reasons for procrastinating:
- Lack of motivation.
- Lack of interest.
- Inability to make decisions.
- Complexity of the task we have to do.
- Depression, sadness and also all negative emotions tend to paralyze us and stop us from what we need to do.
- Distractions are also a major cause of procrastination.
- Low Energy Levels from not eating properly and not doing proper physical exercises.
- General tiredness.
- Stressful situations we live in.
- Another popular excuse used as a comfort zone for the procrastinator is in the lack of supporting tools for the job we have to do.
- Fear of both success and failure:
- Fear of failure – sometimes even the hint of possible failure can effectively keep us from even wanting to attempt a particular task. Fear of the possibility of experiencing unpleasant or painful outcomes, this too can keep us from trying new things or even getting anything done at all. This could stem from bad experience which we have yet to come to terms with, therefore conveniently using this particular excuse as a good way to inject procrastination into the equation. Many people procrastinate because they fear they’ll look foolish if they fail.
- Fear of success. Fear of success which is largely unconscious is similar to the fear of failure with many of the same symptoms. It can hold us from achieving our dreams and goals. We can fear of not coping with success because we will be entering an unknown territory, outside of our comfort zone.
- Laziness and Lack of Discipline.
- Lack of skills. The famous “I don’t know” excuse – this is one of the most popular excuses given when an individual is not really interested in getting a particular task done. By pretending this lack of knowledge the individual is probably able to keep from having to complete a certain task and with the added hopeful outcome of not being asked to do it in the future.
- Perfectionism. There is nothing wrong in having high standards but perfectionism tend to set standards that are so high that they either can not be met, or are only met with great difficulty. Perfectionism also pushes us not to make mistakes, which are inevitable but we need in our mind that no one is perfect and perfection doesn’t exist…
We can’t defeat procrastination overnight if we’re a procrastinator and we have been accumulating bad habits over a lifetime. But we can defeat procrastination by making a disciplined effort to get to the root of the problem.
Understanding what has caused procrastination in our life will give us the power to stop it.
Can you recognize any reasons why you procrastinate?
If yes, then do yourself a favor, write them down on a piece of paper.
The Consequences of Procrastinating
Procrastination is the No. 1 cause of stress. Research shows that stress is caused by leaving too many things undone. That’s why habitual procrastinators always complain about chronic fatigue, putting things off creates enormous stress in our lives, which manifests itself as fatigue.
The more we put things off, the more anxious about them we are likely to become. Anxiety is bad for our health and bad for our relationships because it usually impacts on our behavior with others. Anxiety can lower our immune system, and therefore, we are less likely to fend off virus infections. Anxiety can also affect our ability to concentrate, and we are more likely to have accidents. Anxiety can, over time, lead to depression and serious mental illness.
We can procrastinate in more than one areas of our life: at school, at work, at home, in our personal relationships, in our Self Improvement.
That means that if we procrastinate we don’t give it the best shot in our life and consequently, we can’t get the best result and instead we can get in trouble.
By procrastinating about our finances, we can end up in serious debt. Generally, debt will affect other people too, family members, our children, our partners.
If we procrastinate about our health matters, the consequences can be extremely serious.
So far we went through the reasons why we procrastinate and their consequences, now it’s time to see what we can do to stop procrastinating.
What Can We Do to Stop Procrastinating?
Good thing is that there are countless ways on how to overcome and beat procrastination, so don’t worry!
Many people believe they can not change. Have you ever heard or used the expression “I am what I am”?
I have personally used it quite a few times, before I started my personal development journey and before I realized that we can become what we really want. I said want and not what we wish to be, there is a big difference between wanting and wishing.
Now, sorry to disappoint you, but yes, we are what we are as a consequence of our life but if WE WANT, WE CAN CHANGE ANYTIME.
Life is a set of habits, it is about creating new good habits and lose the bad habits that prevent us from living the life we really want. It is really that simple!
So before any change can happen in our life, first of all, we have to believe that a transformation is possible. There comes a time when we must say: “I want to change.”
So are you willing to change and stop procrastinating?
Here are some Tips to Stop Procrastinating
1 # First step is to acknowledge and accept that procrastination is our weakness and stop blaming other people (our parents, our upbringing, our circumstances etc). We are responsible for our procrastination and only we can do something about it. The first step toward overcoming procrastination is recognizing that it’s a problem.
2 # Accept responsibility. We can’t overcome procrastination until we accept the fact that we are responsible for what we make of our life.
3 # Once we have accepted that we procrastinate we need to ask ourselves, “In what ways I procrastinate?” Sit down with pen and paper and using the common reasons I have listed above why we procrastinate, figure out your own reasons for procrastinating. Writing them down will help you focus and identify them more clearly.
4 # Once we have written a list with all the reasons we procrastinate, we need to write another list, this time, is about all the things we have missed for having procrastinated.
This is how you can title your list: “Procrastinating caused me the following problems”. Then think of how your life could have been now if you didn’t procrastinate and write them down.
5 # Looking at what we are missing or we have missed procrastinating, we need to make the decision we want to stop procrastinating. Are you ready now to stop procrastinating?
6 # Having made that decision is not enough, we need to have a sincere and strong desire to stop procrastinating.
7 # Remind yourself daily “I will not procrastinate today. It is unproductive. I have tasks to do, and I will write them down so I can decide which of them need to be done first. When you decide which of your tasks need immediate attention and those that can be done later in the week, you’ve just learned the fine art of prioritizing.
8 # Create a plan is just one of the many positive approaches that help combat procrastination. Schedule difficult tasks for the time of day when your energy is highest.
“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin
9 # Fix your procrastination environment. Your environment can have a direct impact on your productivity.
10 # Enthusiasm – The best weapon in the war against procrastination is Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is what makes the difference between reaching our goals and giving up before we get started. Tackle a problem that’s been a thorn in your side. When you get in the habit of making things happen, your enthusiasm goes through the roof.
Mark Twain said, “Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.”
11 # Face your fear and do it anyway. There is only one way to overcome fear, we have to force ourselves to do the thing we fear. When we face our fear and do it anyway, our confidence gets a big boost. Soon we will laugh at the imaginary fears that have kept us from becoming all that we can be. And we can do something about it today.
You might like to read: How to overcome your fears
12 # If you want to stop procrastinating, get inspired and spend time with people that inspire and motivate you. Seek out individuals who have successfully overcome the habit of procrastination and draw inspiration from them.
13 # Stay away from negative people. Attitudes are contagious, negative people infect us with negative attitudes. Associate with positive thinkers; their self-confidence is contagious, too.
14 # Learn how to control and replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts. When your mind says you can’t do something, refuse to listen to it.
15 # Believe you can. The power of belief is a key to success in everything we do.
16 # A positive attitude can help us overcome procrastination. We need to focus on the result we want to achieve. The more we focus on problems, the more discouraged we’re likely to get. Give your full attention to whatever you’re doing. Start practicing Mindfulness.
17 # If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you will experience problems staying on course for the first few weeks. It’s like going to the gym for the first time. You’re all enthusiastic for the first 3 days and then you stop. Old habits die hard. So if you missed doing the tasks you planned to do yesterday, it’s not a big deal. Revise the list, and plan on doing them within a specific time frame. Don’t dwell too long on what you failed to do.
18 # Breaking up Things into smaller Steps. Break these down into smaller steps and you can focus on one step or part at a given time. You will find your task to be simple and you will find the motivation and eagerness to do things now. Dwelling on difficulty and size of tasks will just overwhelm you and promote procrastination. Break down your long-term goals into measurable tasks. This is the only way you can stay focused enough to keep moving toward your long-term goals.
19 # Positive Thinking Think about positive words that trigger you to keep moving on. This can not be taken in just a snap. You need to deal with your tasks one by one. It really takes lots of small steps before you can completely accomplish things.
20 # Practice Meeting Goals. The more practice we do the better results we get. Practice can also boost our self-confidence.
21 # Increasing your energy can help you defeat procrastination. Lack of exercise is a well-known cause of chronic fatigue. The best way to increase your energy level is by exercising regularly but also meditating and practicing Consciously Breathing.
Following a regular exercise program, eating the right foods, alternating between sitting and standing, and doing some simple stretching during the day, all of these techniques keep energy high.
22 # Have a Purpose and long-term goals. Have you discovered your purpose in life? Do you have long-term goals? Finding and focusing on your long-term goals is a powerful cure for procrastination.
23 # Once we have done what we wanted to do, it’s very important that we congratulate and reward ourselves. “I completed my task! I focused well and didn’t allow myself to procrastinate.” Congratulating ourselves can help us to associate a good feeling of achievement. Whenever we accomplish things and reach our goal, we have to reward ourselves for our effort of getting things done. Many individuals are caught up working continuously and they forget to relax and reward themselves.
Benefits of stopping Procrastination and Getting Things Done.
- Getting things done give us a relaxed feeling and we lose that guilty feeling.
- Accomplishing things make us more effective and productive.
- Getting things done supports us in following our dreams.
- Getting things done help us make and keep commitments. When we accomplish things successfully we will love not forgetting or delaying things anymore because we have already been at that point where we are ultimately happy and satisfied with the fruits of our hard works.
The benefits of getting things done are tremendous and we can only reap these benefits if we stop procrastinating and get things done right away.
When we learn how to take charge of our lives, our self-esteem improves and our confidence grows. No matter how long we’ve been struggling with the demon of procrastination, we can start to take control of our life today by tackling a job or responsibility we’ve been putting off.
Conquering procrastination can help us reduce stress. If we have a habit of putting off tasks we fear, if we tend to avoid situations and events that terrify us, our fears have grown out of proportion. Every time we decide not to do something because we’re afraid of failing, our self-confidence takes another hit.
If we analyze a lot, we could get paralyzed and stay stuck in analysis mode. This could lead to tunnel vision.
Avoiding procrastination means we don’t have to change our life radically. People procrastinate because they’re overwhelmed by the enormity of
what they’re facing.
Why stopping procrastination can make us feel happier?
As I have stated in another post Happiness is a state of mind created by positive and good emotions. When we feel at peace with ourselves, we can be happy, but if we dwell on negative emotions, we can’t certainly feel at peace with ourselves and consequently we can’t be happy.
Happiness is a positive emotion, and procrastination as we saw before, can create only long term negative emotions.
So yes, if we stop procrastinating, we will definitely feel much happier!
Here I am at the end of the post, I hope I have inspired and motivated you enough to push you to stop procrastinating.
Now it’s the time for You to take ACTION!
Do you have any comments? Would you like to ask me something? Feel free to add your comment below!