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Procrastination Blog. Can you be bothered to read it?



Scrolling on phone instead of working
Scrolling on phone

procrastination

To keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring

Procrastination is the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline.

No matter how well-organized and committed you are, chances are that you have found yourself frittering away hours on trivial pursuits (watching TV, updating your Facebook status, shopping online) when you should have been spending that time on work or school-related projects.

Whether you're putting off finishing a project for work, avoiding homework assignments, or ignoring household chores, procrastination can have a major impact on your job, your grades, and your life.

In most cases, procrastination is not a sign of a serious problem. It's a common tendency that most people give in to at some point or another.

Causes

Remember that time that you thought you had a week left to finish a project that was really due the next day? How about the time you decided not to clean up your house because you "didn't feel like doing it right now?"

We often assume that projects won't take as long to finish as they really will, which can lead to a false sense of security when we believe that we still have plenty of time to complete these tasks.

One of the biggest factors contributing to procrastination is the notion that we have to feel inspired or motivated to work on a task at a particular moment.

The reality is that if you wait until you're in the right frame of mind to do certain tasks (especially undesirable ones), you will probably find that the right time simply never comes along and the task never gets completed.


The following are a few other factors that cause procrastination.

Academics

Researchers suggest that procrastination can be particularly pronounced among students. A 2007 meta analysis published in the Psychological Bulletin found that a whopping 80% to 95% of college students procrastinated on a regular basis, particularly when it came to completing assignments and coursework.

According to researchers, there are some major cognitive distortions that lead to academic procrastination.5 Students tend to:

Overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks

Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future

Underestimate how long certain activities will take to complete

Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project


Present Bias

The present bias is a phenomenon observed in human behaviour that may result in procrastination. The present bias means that we tend to be motivated more by immediate gratification or rewards than we are by long-term rewards. This is why it feels good in the moment to procrastinate.

For example, the immediate reward of staying in bed and watching TV is more appealing than the long-term reward of publishing a blog post, which would take much longer to accomplish.

What Is Cognitive Bias?


Bored, Scared, depressed.
Depressed young lady

Depression

Procrastination can also be a result of depression. Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and a lack of energy can make it difficult to start (and finish) the simplest task. Depression can also lead to self-doubt. When you can't figure out how to tackle a project or feel insecure about your abilities, you might find it easier to put it off.

 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Procrastination is also pretty common in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. One reason is that OCD is often linked with maladaptive perfectionism, which causes fears about making new mistakes, doubts about whether you are doing something correctly, and worry over others' expectations of you.

People with OCD also often have a propensity toward indecision, causing them to procrastinate rather than make a decision.

Embrace Indecisiveness to Promote Change


ADHD

Many adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) struggle with procrastination.8 When you're so distracted by outside stimuli, as well as internal thoughts, it can be hard to get started on a task, especially if that task is difficult or not interesting to you.

Is Procrastination a Mental Illness?

Procrastination itself is not a mental illness. But in some cases, it may be symptomatic of an underlying mental health condition such as depression, OCD, or ADHD.


Why Do You Procrastinate?


Why not try

We often come up with a number of excuses or rationalizations to justify our behaviour. According to researchers, there are 15 key reasons why people say they procrastinate:

 

  • Not knowing what needs to be done

  • Not knowing how to do something

  • Not wanting to do something

  • Not caring if it gets done or not

  • Not caring when something gets done

  • Not feeling in the mood to do it

  • Being in the habit of waiting until the last minute

  • Believing that you work better under pressure

  • Thinking that you can finish it at the last minute

  • Lacking the initiative to get started

  • Forgetting

  • Blaming sickness or poor health

  • Waiting for the right moment

  • Needing time to think about the task

  • Delaying one task in favor of working on another


Types of Procrastination

Some researchers classify two types of procrastinators: passive and active procrastinators.

  • Passive procrastinators: Delay the task because they have trouble making decisions and acting on them

  • Active procrastinators: Delay the task purposefully because working under pressure allows them to "feel challenged and motivated"

  • Others define the types of procrastinators based on different behavioral styles of procrastination, including:


  • Perfectionist: Puts off tasks out of the fear of not being able to complete a task perfectly

  • Dreamer: Puts off tasks because they are not good at paying attention to detail

  • Defier: Doesn't believe someone should dictate their time schedule

  • Worrier: Puts off tasks out of fear of change or leaving the comfort of "the known"

  • Crisis-maker: Puts off tasks because they like working under pressure

  • Overdoer: Takes on too much and struggles with finding time to start and complete task


Procrastinators vs. Non-Procrastinators

"Non-procrastinators focus on the task that needs to be done. They have a stronger personal identity and are less concerned about what psychologists call 'social esteem'—how others like us—as opposed to self-esteem which is how we feel about ourselves,"

According to psychologist Piers Steel, people who don't procrastinate tend to be high in the personality trait known as conscientiousness, one of the broad dispositions identified by the Big Five theory of personality. People who are high in conscientiousness also tend to be high in other areas including self-discipline, persistence, and personal responsibility.


The Negative Impact of Procrastination

It is only in cases where procrastination becomes chronic and begins to have a serious impact on a person's daily life that it becomes a more serious issue. In such instances, it's not just a matter of having poor time management skills, it's a major part of their lifestyle.

Perhaps they pay their bills late, don't start work on big projects until the night before the deadline, delay gift shopping until the day before a birthday, and even file their income tax returns late.

Unfortunately, this procrastination can have a serious impact on a number of life areas, including a person's mental health and social, professional, and financial well-being:

  • Higher levels of stress and illness

  • Increased burden placed on social relationships

  • Resentment from friends, family, co-workers, and fellow students

  • Consequences of delinquent bills and income tax returns


How to Overcome Procrastination

You might find yourself wondering, How can I stop procrastinating?

Fortunately, there are a number of different things you can do to fight procrastination and start getting things done on time. Consider these your procrastination exercises:

  • Make a to-do list: To help keep you on track, consider placing a due date next to each item.

  • Take baby steps: Break down the items on your list into small, manageable steps so that your tasks don’t seem so overwhelming.

  • Recognize the warning signs: Pay attention to any thoughts of procrastination and do your best to resist the urge. If you begin to think about procrastinating, force yourself to spend a few minutes working on your task.

  • Eliminate distraction: Ask yourself what pulls your attention away the most—whether it's Instagram, Facebook updates, or the local news—and turn off those sources of distraction.

  • Pat yourself on the back: When you finish an item on your to-do list on time, congratulate yourself and reward yourself by indulging in something you find fun.


How to Overcome Procrastination for Improved Mental Health

Procrastination is one of those things that even the most well-organized and punctual fall victim to at some point or another. Think about the last time you found yourself watching television when you really should have been doing homework. While common, procrastination can have a detrimental impact on your life, including your results.

So what can students and other people do to overcome procrastination and avoid the stress, anxiety and poor performance that stems from completing assignments at the last second?

Researchers suggest that developing a schedule, carefully planning academic tasks, and improving time-management skills are all effective ways to cope with procrastination.


Escape your fear
Fear


Deal with Your Fear

Fear is one factor that contributes to procrastination. This can involve a fear of failure, a fear of making mistakes, or even a fear of success.

 

Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Psychology Today contributor and author of The Search for Fulfilment, suggests that challenging your faulty beliefs is important.

If you are afraid of success because you secretly believe that you don't deserve it, it is important to realize that your self-handicapping might be keeping you from achieving your goals. By addressing the fear that is keeping you from getting started, you can begin to overcome your procrastination habit.

Make a List

Start by creating a to-do list with things that you would like to accomplish. If necessary, put a date next to each item if there is a deadline that you need to meet.

Estimate how long each task will take to complete, and then double that number so that you don't fall into the cognitive trap of underestimating how long each project will take.


Break Projects Down Into More Manageable Segments

When you are faced with a big project, you might feel daunted, intimidated, or even hopeless when you look at the sheer amount of work involved. At this point, take individual items on your list and break them down into a series of steps.

If you need to write a paper for class, what steps do you need to follow? If you are planning a big family event, what are the things you need to do and what supplies do you need to obtain?

Once you have created a list detailing the process you need to go through in order to accomplish the task, you can start working on individual "baby steps."


Recognize the Onset of Procrastination

As you start to tackle items on your list, pay attention to when thoughts of procrastination start to creep into your mind. If you find yourself thinking "I don't feel like doing this now" or "I'll have time to work on this later," then you need to recognize that you are about to procrastinate.

When you feel tempted to procrastinate, don't give in to the urge. Instead, force yourself to spend at least a few minutes working on the task. In many cases, you might find that it is easier to complete once you get started.


Eliminate Distractions

It's hard to get any real work done when you keep turning your attention to what's on television or you keep checking your friends' Facebook status updates.

Assign yourself a period of time during which you turn off all distractions—such as music, television, and social networking sites—and use that time to focus all of your attention on the task at hand.


Reward Yourself

Once you have completed a task (or even a small portion of a larger task), it is important to reward yourself for your efforts.

Give yourself the opportunity to indulge in something that you find fun and enjoyable, whether it's attending a sporting event, playing a video game, watching your favorite TV show, or looking at pictures on a social sharing site.


Final Thoughts

Breaking the procrastination habit isn't easy. After all, if it was simple there wouldn't be an estimated 80% to 95% of students engaging in procrastination on a regular basis. The urge to put things off can be strong, especially when there are so many things around us to provide fun and entertaining distractions.

While procrastination might not be something you can avoid entirely, becoming cognizant of the reasons why you procrastinate and how to overcome those tendencies can help. By implementing these strategies, you might find that it is easier to put your nose to the grindstone and get started on those important tasks.


This is the sign your looking for. "Just Do It"
This is the sign

Until next month

In the words of Nike “Just Do It”


Have a great month

Thank you to verywell mind for their input into this blog.

Jon

 

 

 

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