Channelling Procrastination into Productivity

Have you ever had a list of things you think of accomplishing in a day, but later leave it for tomorrow or some other time? Maybe thought about studying but then got distracted by your phone’s ping? Well, if these things have happened to you, then you are one of many people in the world who procrastinates. 

What is procrastination?

Well, the answer to this, in simple words, is choosing not to do an important or meaningful task and getting distracted by something trivial. When we start procrastinating it becomes hard to persuade or convince ourselves to do the things we should or would like to do.

We hesitate and distract ourselves with things like social networking sites or over-preparing for the task even though we end up not doing it. It’s like a barrier blocking us from starting, getting up and making the right decision, it is holding us back from our true potential and from life, we have thought of. 

It is easy to confuse procrastination with laziness, but both the terms are very different from each other. Procrastination is an active process- this means when we procrastinate, we choose to do something else instead of the task that we know we should be doing. Laziness, on the other hand, suggests apathy and unwillingness to work at all; it is more of being inactive.

But if we are well-aware of it, what the reasons are behind procrastinating and how can we avoid it?

Why do we procrastinate?

We often put off things, and for many of us, it has become chronic. There are many reasons why we procrastinate like:-

• One of the many reasons behind us procrastinating is decision paralysis. It means when someone is unable to decide and easily gets confused or distracted. This happens when we don’t have our priorities set, don’t have a plan to work with and don’t really know how to manage things. There is no end vision to follow which leads to confusing and lack of decision-making. 

• Something else that makes it easy for us to procrastinate is our ignorance of the value of time. We all are born and at some point in time, we all will die, which is an inevitable truth. But we forget this, and while giving into all distractions in the world we forget the important things, delay them. We start thinking that we can do the task in a while or on the next day or some other time, and we forget that every single second that we waste is gone forever. 

• Also, one of the many reasons behind procrastination is lack of discipline. We plan things out but don’t work on them due to our lack of control over ourselves, which is why we easily let ourselves get distracted. 

These are only a few common reasons behind procrastination, there can be many other reasons including some serious ones like mental health issues, anxiety and depression, and if the case is related to some serious issues one should seek professional help and guidance without hesitation.

Now that we are somewhat aware of the reasons behind procrastination, lets talk about the ways in which we can prevent it.

How to avoid procrastination?

It is very hard to break free from the vicious cycle of a bad habit. But it is always better to make a few changes here and there in our lifestyle that would help us to avoid procrastination altogether.

Few ways of avoiding procrastination are:-

• Keep it manageable:

More so often we decide on doing many things together in a small-time period and in the end we don’t even accomplish a single one of them. This happens because we already crate a big obstacle by taking up a lot of things together at once, which makes us nervous and confused about where to start from, which lastly leads to procrastination. To avoid this we manage our tasks in a way that we already know where we need to start. Take up an easy task at the start to set the pace and also don’t plan on completing a lot in one go. We should make sure we are keeping it real and also creating stress for ourselves.

• Decide and start:

When we plan on doing something, in the way we get distracted by trivial things and delay the task for five minutes which later turns into ten minutes, twenty minutes, an hour or even a day or two. This is why it is important that when we become aware of the fact that we need to do something, we should decide, plan things out and start. Once we start with a task, we find a way to complete it one way or the other. So, the most important step is to decide and start.

• Set that alarm:

We can always avoid a task is we want to and blame it on our forgetfulness or on how busy we were with other things. To avoid this, the best way is to set alarms and reminders with notes, which would constantly remind us that there are things we need to do, and we should get at it right away.

• Accountability and Responsibility:

Many times we plan something and later ignore it or not do it because there is no one to question us, and we don’t feel the responsibility of completing our task. This way when we feel like we have no one to account to, share what we are doing with our friends and family. How will this help us? Well, this will make us feel responsible for completing the task because we wouldn’t want to let someone down. This method should be used in a way that it motivates us positively and don’t make us feel pressured.

• Reward yourself:

We are too hard on ourselves. It is important that we realize the need for being kind and caring towards ourselves. So, when you complete something needed to do, reward yourself. Completed a chapter or a project? Reward yourself with something that makes you happy.

Acceptance:

Lastly it is okay if there were setbacks or a slip once in a while. It is important to accept our mistakes so that we can work on them. Denial is not really a great place to be in and the same goes for things negatively about ourselves, that a big no-no. Bad habits take time to go away, what really is important is a willingness to be better in life and learn from our mistakes.

Procrastination is an issue that more than 90% of the people face at least once in their lives. It is something we choose, just to avoid the main things in our life due to any reason. Some of us procrastinate because we don’t know what to do while others just don’t have the confidence. There are also cases of mental health problems like depression, stress, and anxiety that have side effects like procrastination, in which case it needs to be treated with the guidance of a professional. There are ways to avoid and solve this problem, what really is important is that we acknowledge our problems and have the willingness to improve.  

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