Procrastination is a killer of time and big dreams. It is a habit everyone needs to overcome in order to be more productive in life. If you are a great procrastinator, you may have asked yourself this question before “why do I procrastinate so much?
People procrastinate not because they want to do so. But because they lack the enthusiasm or motivation to work. Apart from that, most people often procrastinate as a result of laziness, distractions, lack of clear goals, refusal to take responsibility, and perfectionism in their field of work. All these make people give unnecessary excuses to procrastinate.
No matter your reasons for procrastinating, the most important thing is to find a way to deal with this lazy habit and increase performance in your place of work.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination simply means the act of delaying, shifting, or postponing what you ought to do now for another time. For instance, delaying reading your books just to watch television. It comes in the form of a lack of energy, enthusiasm, or motivation to work.
People who procrastinate always use the following words in their statements:
- I will do it later
- Wait for a little
- I’m not in the mood now
- I will, but later
- I’m coming
- Not now
- Give me some time
- I will try later
- Not so soon
Instead of saying ‘all right, let’s begin’ They prefer saying the above words which are signs of procrastination.
Why is procrastination so bad?
If you are a procrastinator, you must have known the disadvantages of procrastinating your work. Some of the demerits include:
- Poor performance at work or school
- Lack of productivity
- A waste of time
- It brings discomfort
- It makes you lazier
In fact, research by Psychological Science proves that “Procrastinators end up suffering more and performing worse than other people.”
I have procrastinated several times in my life and I can tell how disastrous this habit can be. One of the most pertinent ones was in my High School. I had exams to write the following morning by 8 am, but I decided to have a little sleep or rest before I will woke up at the midnight to read. Before I know it, it was already 7 am. I couldn’t read again, simply because I procrastinated on what I ought to do now for another time.
When I started working, I had the same problem in my place of work. I missed many opportunities as a result of postponing what is supposed to be done today for another time. But I have been able to discipline myself and overcome this lazy habit.
If the amount of my procrastination in the past, was 100%, I have been able to reduce it to 30%. And how I was able to stop procrastinating is what I’m going to share with you in this post.
I often tell people that, you cannot stop procrastinating until you learn to challenge yourself. “Push yourself, because no one is going to do it for you.”
Let’s see some of the reasons why you procrastinate.
Why people procrastinate
People don’t procrastinate intentionally. Procrastination isn’t necessarily a result of a lack of self-discipline. Even those with willpower often procrastinate.
We unnecessarily delay some tasks not because we are not hardworking enough. But factors like distractions, lack of motivation, laziness, physical and mental weakness, and fear of failure contribute to why people procrastinate.
Reasons for procrastination
1. Lack of motivation
People often procrastinate because they lack the inspiration and willpower to work.
Motivation is the desire or your willingness to do something. It is the force(s) that stimulates you to work even when you don’t feel like it.
One of the causes of lack of motivation that brings procrastination is working or engaging in difficult tasks. This makes it boring anytime you remember how tedious such work is.
2. Lack of clear goals
Not having a clear set of goals you want to achieve contributes to why people often procrastinate.
A clear goal or plan helps you understand how necessary your tasks or works are. But when they are too complicated, you will always postpone because you are not sure of what you are planning to do.
In other words, it is good to know exactly what you are about to achieve. It is not good to jump into many tasks at a spot without having in mind the particular goals that are more crucial.
Therefore, learn to differentiate your needs from your wants.
Indolence is another factor that makes us procrastinate all the time.
You may decide to postpone your work or the day’s activities because you are unwilling to carry out such a task or plan.
Laziness makes you procrastinate even when you have so much to do. You will just lie down or sit at a place, staring at your work. You are unable to do those works because you are not willing to.
That is why the moment you force yourself, you will immediately receive the energy to start those works immediately.
The world today is full of distractions. Distractions from parents, siblings, friends, the internet, television, etc., are another reason why people often procrastinate.
We get carried away by what we see, hear, and feel every day. An unconducive environment can cause you to delay your work or your assignment for the day.
Therefore, it is necessary to make your environment comfortable for working or learning. It will help you stop procrastinating.
Take away anything that will make you lose focus. It can be your friends, your phone, television, or anything at all. Make sure you get rid of those things first before you start working or studying your books.
5. Refusal to take responsibilities
The fear of being committed to a task at the moment brings procrastination.
When you fail to realize that it is your duty to solve a particular problem or do certain things, you will always procrastinate.
For example, you are to wash your parents’ clothes. But your unwillingness to assume those responsibilities will make you delay or postpone washing those clothes. Likewise every other thing.
6. Fear of failure
One of the greatest enemies of man is fear. The moment it creeps into your mind, you have started failing already.
Fear of not being able to complete a particular task or succeed at something is another factor that can cause procrastination.
No one wants to engage in a task and come out as a failure. Therefore, instead of trying, you prefer to wait first, before you begin. That is why you find yourself procrastinating more than required.
Related: How To Overcome Fear Of Failure
7. Over familiarity with your works
Perfectionism brings procrastination. When you become too conversant or acquainted with your work, you will easily procrastinate because you are already familiar with those chores.
For example, a student who is an expert in solving mathematics may likely procrastinate their maths assignment because he or she is good at solving mathematics.
Likewise, in any type of job you are doing. When you become too familiar with it, you will easily procrastinate. You will assume the job or task is very simple and won’t take you much time to complete.
8. Physical and mental weakness
Most times, some of the factors mentioned above may not be your reason for procrastinating. Your procrastination may be a result of physical weakness which can be triggered by stress or depression.
When this occurs, it is important you have enough rest before doing anything. This will help you gather the necessary energy needed to do those jobs.
If there is any need for medication, take some drugs that will help you recuperate faster.
So, lack of energy is another reason for procrastinating.
How to stop procrastinating
1. Differentiate your needs from your wants
Your needs and your wants are never the same. While the former is your core values or your priorities, the latter can be substituted for another thing.
Knowing the most important tasks you have for the day will help you direct all your attention to doing those jobs first before any other thing. This will help you eliminate distractions and be more productive.
2. Challenge yourself to do it now not later
Just know that no one is going to do it for you. And the greatest motivation comes within, not outside.
Challenge yourself to perform your duties now, not later. Push yourself ahead, because no one is ready to do it for you.
You are responsible for your life. When you succeed you succeed for yourself. When you fail you are on your own. No one cares.
Therefore, it is necessary to know the whys behind your procrastination.
When next you are about to procrastinate, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I have to shift or delay this work?
- What are the dangers of delaying this task?
- Are there some benefits or rewards I will receive if I do them now? etc.
These questions will help you understand how crucial the works are and what will happen if you fail to do them now.
3. Go for what motivates you
Another way to stop procrastinating is to discover what motivates you to work. Everyone has their inner strength.
Your motivation may be listening to music while working, being inspired by friends, or by reading motivational quotes.
Once you discover what gives you energy, go for it. Make it a part of you and you will see yourself overcoming procrastination.
4. Exercise daily
Physical weakness makes you procrastinate. And the only way to overcome it is to exercise your body.
Research shows that “physical activities that make one tired can also cause you to procrastinate.”
But another piece of research proves that “physical exercise helps you overcome procrastination.”
So, when you become physically weak, you will definitely lack the energy and enthusiasm to work. But the best way to solve this problem is to exercise yourself.
5. Minimize distractions
We all procrastinate as a result of distractions. So, the best way to deal with unnecessarily delaying your work is to minimize distractions.
Move away from an environment where you hardly focus on what you are doing.
If social media is your distraction, then consider removing them from your phone and re-install them after you might have finished what you are doing.
What of friends? Are they equally your distractions? If so, then you should consider moving away from them anytime you are about to do something very crucial.
The above-mentioned 5 steps are the easiest ways to stop procrastinating.
Procrastination is every man’s enemy. It decreases production, kills your time, and diminishes your goals. To overcome it, we need to challenge ourselves and equally know how important our tasks are. All these call for self-discipline.