“To delay and put off doing what could be done now, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness. Often associated with feelings of guilt.”
To some extent we all engage in procrastination, but, if we are not careful, procrastination can easily become a habit that we are not even aware of. Yet, when we procrastinate we in a state of limbo; neither enjoying a period of relaxation or gaining the satisfaction of achieving something.
Why do We procrastinate?
The first reason we procrastinate is that we aim for perfection, but feel this perfection is not possible for us to achieve. Because we want to attain perfection, we feel it is justified for us to wait until we are in a better frame of mind, or circumstances are more favourable. However, when we wait for circumstances to be “just right” we may never start at all. Related to this aim of perfection is the fear of failure, or fear of living upto our high expectations. Subconsciously we do not want to start, because we feel we will be embarrassed or let down by our achievements. This fear of failure can be exacerbated by concerns over what others may think. Therefore, rather than risk disappointment, we put off doing the task at all. Another reason for procrastination, is that we prefer to do things that are easier and more enjoyable. Procrastination is often most serious when we are completing our academic studies; there are many more enjoyable things to do than write essays. Procrastination is made even easier when we are working on the internet. Technology like the internet, gives us many options to spend time without much effort. Therefore, we can easily spend time, surfing the internet and checking email; these tasks are much less effort than doing something productive.
How To Overcome Procrastination.
The first thing is to be aware of how much we procrastinate. Sometimes, we can make ourselves feel that we are doing something productive; but if we are honest with ourselves, playing solitaire is not going to help us write that best selling novel. When we are aware of how much we procrastinate, we should set clear priorities of what we wish to do first. It is not procrastination if we seek to do something which is more important. If we have clear targets and do them before anything else, then we can enjoy our relaxation, without the guilt which comes with procrastination. A second method to overcoming procrastination is to be single minded, and not allow ourselves to get distracted by less important things. If we do just one thing at a time, we can achieve it more quickly and with less hesitation. Perhaps the most helpful suggestion for overcoming procrastination is to force ourselves to make a start; even if our first attempts are less than perfect. Once we can actually get started we may find that we gain in confidence. As soon as we start and focus on just our highest priority, we often find it is less difficult than we imagined. Also, we should always bear in mind that procrastination will never help us in any way.