“While we waste our time hesitating and postponing, life is slipping away.” — Seneca
You have three days to do an important task that requires only a few hours of concentration. Every time you decide to start working; you find yourself glancing through your Instagram or Facebook feed, surfing blogs and enjoying the benefits of story-based learning, excessively preparing to start the task, checking emails, etc.
Now, the clock is ticking, and the deadline is looming. You are facing an uphill battle against time, and you are cursing yourself for starting so late. A night without sleep and five cups of coffee later, you are tired, frustrated, and submitting subpar work.
Does this sound familiar? Bet it does! We all know the culprit; it’s our old foe – Procrastination.
Procrastination is a significant challenge you will need to overcome. It can prevent you from reaching your goals, resulting in living a life of regret and guilt because of missed opportunities.
What is Procrastination, and Why Does it Occur?
Procrastination is the action of delaying something, often unpleasant but important, in favor of one that is easier and more enjoyable.
Procrastination can have mild to severe effects on your life, from making you feel guilty and less productive, to feeling depressed and missing out on major life chances.
So, why do you procrastinate? Here are some common reasons people give for falling prey to this impulse:
- Feeling disproportionately confident in your abilities to carry out a task. You tell yourself, “This task is easy to do; I will just handle it later.”
- You procrastinate when you do not enjoy doing the task at hand, and you try to avoid the unpleasantness by doing something you like.
- You are afraid of failure. You avoid starting the task because it nullifies your chances of failure.
- You are not in the “mood” to do any work.
- You find that the pressure from a deadline fuels your creativity.
How to End Procrastination
- Breakdown large tasks into smaller ones
It is easy to feel overwhelmed whenever you have a large task to handle. Breaking an enormous task into smaller ones (manageable pieces) can help you perceive it to be easier. This will give you the momentum to start and finish it. For example, imagine that you have a 3000-word blog post to write. You can break it down as follows:
- Come up with subtitles
- Drafting the content
- Editing and revision.
Focusing on each small chunk, then moving to the next one, will make it easier to start and finish the whole task.
- Create a reasonable timeline and set a deadline
Now that you have broken your task down into smaller bits, you should create a reasonable schedule to complete each one and do your best to follow it. You should also ensure to set a deadline (specific date and time) for when you expect to complete the whole task.
- Find an appropriate environment
Finding an environment that is conducive to work can go a long way in helping you end procrastination. That’s because different settings have different effects on your productivity. For instance, it will be easier for you to start and complete any work-related task in your office instead of your bedroom. You can also improve your productivity by ridding yourself of distractions. Switching off your phone or turning off notifications can do the trick.
- Just start!
DON’T FALL INTO THE TRAP OF USING PREPARATION AS AN EXCUSE TO PROCRASTINATE. While proper planning has its place, ending procrastination ultimately means taking action. Just start doing it, and you might realize that it wasn’t so tough after all.
Chronic procrastination is a vicious thief that can keep your life looped in a cycle of stagnation for years. Ending this bad habit will help you be more productive and enjoy a more successful life.