Procrastination or why we postpone important things for later

4 серпня 2023 р.

A girl on a chair with procrastination

Procrastination or why we postpone important things for later

4 серпня 2023 р.

Procrastination is the tendency to postpone urgent and priority tasks in favour of less necessary and more enjoyable ones, despite the potential negative consequences. It is in contrast to laziness, which implies an unwillingness to act, and relaxation, which serves as a means of restoring energy.

Approximately 15 to 25% of people are considered procrastinators, and scientists have been studying this issue since 2007. It is believed that chronic procrastination can lead to depression and anxiety. However, procrastination itself can be a symptom of poor health, especially if a person used to be more able to cope with tasks but is increasingly putting them off.

Procrastination can be divided into several main groups:

1. Domestic procrastination involves putting off simple everyday tasks, such as cleaning or organising.

2. Neurotic procrastination occurs due to increased anxiety and fear of change, which leads to delays in various activities.

3. Academic procrastination is associated with not completing academic or work tasks, which often leads to having to do them at the last minute.

4. Decision-making procrastination is associated with difficulties in choosing and committing to one option due to lack of self-confidence.

5. Compulsive procrastination includes indecision and the habit of postponing tasks in all areas of life.

Various factors contribute to procrastination, including

- Anticipation of problems, when fear of failure leads to a desire to delay the inevitable.

- Fear of success, which can be stronger than fear of failure because it includes concerns about responsibility and potential mistakes that come with success.

- Latent anger, which arises from the psychological impact caused by external circumstances, leading to emotional obstacles.

- Perfectionism, when the desire for perfection and self-doubt prevent you from starting tasks.

- Loss of meaning, when the lack of purpose in an activity makes the very thought of it unpleasant.

- Inability to plan and manage time effectively, which leads to missed deadlines and negative consequences.

- Exhaustion and lack of resources can also contribute to a reluctance to take on tasks.

Procrastination can lead to a variety of psychological problems, including low self-esteem, increased anxiety, feelings of shame and helplessness, stress, depression and burnout.

To overcome procrastination, psychologists suggest using a technique called the 15-minute rule. By committing to spending only 15 minutes on an uninteresting but important task, a person can overcome the initial resistance to starting work. Once the task is started, it becomes easier to continue working and often a sense of accomplishment is felt.

Several strategies can help you deal with procrastination:

  • Prioritising tasks and breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Developing self-awareness, diligence, and rewarding yourself for success.
  • Finding ways to enjoy your work, such as planning enjoyable activities as a reward for completing a significant portion of tasks.
  • Planning and organising efforts to align with goals and desired outcomes.