Do you identify with any of these common behaviors? Do you usually start your work with the easier tasks rather than the more difficult ones? Do you tend to choose pleasurable activities over more important activities? How about performing a series of less valuable activities, just so you wont have to start what youre really supposed to be doing? Ever do this? If you find yourself indulging in such behaviors, then you, as so many other people, are procrastinating. Procrastination is the habit of putting off the completion of tasks. However, take comfort: You are not alone! Facts: Get stats external links Procrastination is very common problem in our society. Procrastination breeds stress.
What you will learn in this post:
Three proven techniques you can use to permanently end procrastination How does procrastination cause stress? Procrastination is a common, even pervasive, source of stress in contemporary society. Why? So, you relax for a while. You do what you like. Isnt relaxation the opposite of stress?
It's the consequences, my friend. The consequences. Think about when you decided, Ill do that later. Right now, Im going to do something I like. You knew you had to get it done. Yet you kept putting it off in favor of a preferred task. Then, uh-oh -- deadline coming up! Stress building! All these putting off activities are avoidance behaviors indulging in alternatives you prefer, in lieu of what you know you should do.
Procrastination causes delays, often resulting in tension and worry. It often forces people to cram at the last minute. Cramming is a high-adrenaline state that leads to even more stress. Find those other reasons it causes stress external link So, procrastination is known as a stressor. Did you know? I've heard that 99% of the time, people feel regret after they have procrastinated. True or not, nevertheless, procrastinating leaves people less time to complete what they should have started earlier. The procrastinator can even get into a bind with meeting a deadline. The sneaky thing about procrastinating is that you may be satisfied and happy while youre avoiding the task. The downside emerges as the deadlines close in. This the time of the reality check and regret. The procrastinator has already spent most of the available time he had.
Put into a frame: Why Put Off Today What You Will Regret Tomorrow? Why do people procrastinate? Why do intelligent people bring this stress upon themselves? If we want to beat the habit procrastination, we have to understand why people habitually resort to procrastination in the first place:
Discomfort Discomfort may be mental, emotional, or physical. Can we agree on this: Any valuable endeavor or activity is likely to involve some level of discomfort? Getting out of our comfort zone -- exerting effort and expending energy -- is usually necessary to produce a meaningful outcome. A very low threshold for discomfort can cause a person to procrastinate, just to delay that experience. A low threshold for discomfort is a common reason for putting off activities. Remedy: Become aware.
When you know how your mind is operating, you are in control and direct yourself to your best behaviors. But did you know? Most of the time, people are unaware of their threshold for discomfort. At the unconscious level, they the desire to avoid discomfort drives their choice. So if itr's unconscious, we have to go deep to eliminate it. 2. Fear of a Fiasco Some adults are so afraid of failing they will postpone an activity -- that is, procrastinate, for as long as they possibly can. A scary experience! When a person is afraid of failure, he may envision the worst possible outcome. The thought of falling short of his standard of achievement, accompanied by a whole array of mental and emotional discomforts, becomes an excuse for procrastinating.A general fear of failure often goes hand-in-hand with perfectionism. An individuals who believes his work must be absolutely perfect, is more likely to procrastinate. Remedy: Certainly, you want to do your best. But understand that creative people are rarely 100% satisfied with their work. For example, artists - whether musical, visual, or even literary know their work could always be better in some way. Even the audience may differ in opinion. Letr's remember the adage, Perfectionism is in the eye of the beholder. Do your best during the allotted time and accept it.
Fear of Rejection and/or Censure There are some situations where a fully capable adult becomes hesitant to do something because he feels someone, most like an authority figure, will disapprove of his actions. This fear is rooted in the belief that other peopler's valuations are much more important than oner's self-valuation. For example, a person who has wanted to learn to play guitar may procrastinate indefinitely because he feels other people think he has no sense of pitch or rhythm. A famous musical couple, A legendary opera singer, Joan Sutherland, and her famous conductor husband, Sir John Barbarolli, managed to perform together though he knew she had a poor sense of pitch. They worked around it and corrected it.
Refusal to Do Something When a person feels he is undertaking a task unfairly assigned to him, he will likely avoid it as long as possible. Yet, as the inevitable deadline approaches, frustration and anger are likely to set in. The mental resistance to the task, along with the time squeeze to get it done, naturally lead to a higher stress level. Remedy: Deal with the unfairness directly or else, bite the bullet: Do the task and move on. All these avoidance behaviors and attitudes are self-defeating. They are just habits. The good news is that we can change habits. Read on to learn how.Essential Tips to Permanently End Procrastination
If one or more of the reasons stated above applies to you, know that they are all just mental states. That means you can consciously override them in favor of more positive and productive behavior.
Solutions that work: You can begin to override the tendency to procrastinate by following these steps.
Over-thinking something is never a good choice. It often goes along with perfectionism. You are cycling the same thoughts in your mind, round and round to come up with the perfect plan. This is exhausting and it postpones any type of action.
Instead of repeatedly thinking about doing something, Just Do It! Niker's immortal slogan is the perfect motto for procrastination!
This helps with Fear of Fiasco and Fear of Rejection.
I can recall when I would sit, staring into space, pondering with pencil in hand how to begin a letter or report. Just couldnt come up with those elusive opening words. Then came the great motivator: Deadline pressure. I just started right in writing about what I knew I wanted to communicate. I decided the opening and any other revisions could come later. And thatr's exactly what happened.
Try it: Just get going with what you know you can do.
If you identify at all with the procrastination we discussed earlier, you probably want to delay the discomfort of tension of doing the task. You just dont like what you have to do.
While you're procrastinating, tell yourself this:
"I'm not freeing myself of any discomfort. I'm just prolonging the discomfort!" That's what procrastinating is: prolonging the discomfort.
You know all those things you have to do will be still be lingering in your mind, weighing you down. So, just go to it and get it done so you can lighten up!
This helps with Refusal b/c unfair.
Are you worried or anxious about the outcome or your task? You can erase uneasiness and any doubts with this tried & true strategy: Create an Action Plan.
Consider preparing your Action Plan on paper rather than on a digital device.
The physical act of writing helps to dissipate the tension and to give you a feeling of control.
We view things differently when theyre set on paper. Tasks we regarded as formal and tedious appear easier to manage when you write down the exact details.
Oh, I just need to do Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 . . .
If this works for you, then repeat this process whenever you feel like procrastinating.
Tip: Be aware that you may encounter obstacles or outside interruptions that could curtail the time you estimated for completion of the task.
In this part of our series, Permanently Ending Procrastination, we have focused on the forms of procrastination and the reasons people allow this setback in lives. We also shared three tips to re-orient your mind to moving forward.
Continue now to Part 2 to learn six practical steps to stop this self-defeating habit. Apply these and, in no time, you will be permanently ending procrastination!
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