Procrastination (also commonly called laziness) is the body’s response to the negative emotions related to the task one needs to do. This response comprises trading this unpleasant emotion for the instant gratification of doing something else, for instance, scrolling through the Instagram feed, watching an old show, having a snack, or even doing domestic chores instead of what you were supposed to do initially.
One of the main factors leading to procrastination is anxiety. As with phobias or anxiety disorders, delaying action is equivalent to avoidance, which reduces the stress associated with it. Depending on the context, this anxiety may be related to uncertainty, lack of confidence in one’s own abilities, or any other fear generated by the action to be taken or its potential consequences.
Uncertainty and insufficient control of the situation are determining factors. Not understanding in advance the whole problem to be faced, not knowing how much time it will be necessary to devote to it, and especially not having previous experience of the same task and therefore its realization constitute major obstacles to triggering action, especially when you lack self-confidence. Thus, each time we choose between an uncertain action where we risk getting bogged down and an action that we control, we will obviously choose the second.
Types of Procrastination and How to Deal with them
There are two main reasons for procrastination from its definition.
1. Your procrastination is your brain’s natural response when you don’t like what you’re doing.
Try to avoid verbs like “must” or “have to.” Using these, you deprive yourself of the possibility to choose. In fact, you always have different options to choose from. The solution here is to devote more time and energy to what you enjoy doing and delegate other tasks.
For example, if one of your assignments or a research paper is due soon, but you made something else a priority, you can find professional help on a platform like writepaper.com. Even from the financial point of view, investing your time into your passion or career is more reasonable than struggling to do a task or assignment that makes no sense to you.
2. You procrastinate when the task is too big or blurry to the point it’s overwhelming.
You might be familiar with some people who dream of doing something big, like starting their own business, but never get to do that. These things never become a reality because a goal without a plan is, just it, a dream. The essential rule in the fight against procrastination is to divide and conquer.
It is essential to break down complicated tasks into more doable sub-tasks that take less time and cause less difficulty. It is psychologically easier to start doing and finishing a shorter task.
For example, if your main goal is to tidy up your apartment or house, it’s easy to segment that task into sub-tasks: first tidying up one room, then another one, etc. Dividing work will allow you not to ask yourself too many questions when you are in the action since the task is well defined. What is more, you will obtain real satisfaction each time a sub-task is complete, and it will be easier to keep going.
It is essential to introduce rewards when you achieve small milestones or choose things that you will not allow yourself to do until you have fulfilled the whole task. This self-gratification may seem a bit rudimentary or trivial, but it works magic to keep the motivation going.
Plan Wise to Combat Procrastination
Try to figure out what part of the day you are the most productive. We all have slightly different habits: some work efficiently early in the morning, others in the evening or at a certain time of the day. Try to take these particularities into account when planning your activities that require the most of your energy.
From time to time, you can try going into an “urgency” mode, especially when things aren’t working well enough. You have probably already noticed that your productivity increases significantly when a deadline is due soon or when you absolutely need to finish the task because you promised it to someone, you are going abroad, etc. In such situations, all your energy and motivation are focused on a single goal. It is also why some people end up, more or less voluntarily and consciously, making a habit of working at the last minute to gain efficiency. But it is possible to reproduce this pressure by self-imposed obligations: forcing oneself to complete a task before a defined hour or date. Such obligation requires a deadline that is tighter than what you would tend to grant yourself spontaneously.
This strategy can help a lot but don’t abuse it, knowing that it can lead to excessive fatigue and stress. Try to alternate periods of normal organization with intense periods.