Extreme Procrastination, everyone knows it, but nobody really knows what to do about it.
The deadline is getting closer; the stress levels are rising, and yet you somehow can’t get your butt up to do the job.
Then despite your productivity, you still manage to hand it in at the last minute and swear to yourself that you’ll never do it again.
But next time you do it precisely the same way still. Why not works fine, right?
Webster defines Procrastination as to put off intentionally and habitually a task that needs to be accomplished by a specific deadline or the “Postponing, postponing pending tasks, activities.”
How procrastination can ruin your life.
A typical situation that seems to be familiar to most (ex-) students: Your professor will give you a topic for a scientific study that you will have to submit in six weeks.
Every time you think about how much work is behind it, you’d better go playing video games or watch Netflix. You’d even better clean up the apartment.
“There is still enough time” is the thought with which you justify your decisions.
Everyone who has been in this situation knows what happens afterwards: You are totally stressed, sleepless and with high blood pressure on your laptop and write the draft that you had to hand in in two days.
But honestly, each of us procrastinates regularly, and that doesn’t seem bad at first sight. Be honest with yourself, are you reading this article and actually have something better to do? But procrastinating is perfectly okay as long as you keep your deadlines and everything is going right.
That’s right, but only if you have a deadline!
What happens to all of your projects that you wanted to tackle “at some point” and have been pushing ahead of you for years, maybe even decades?
At some point, you put all your dreams and goals in the storage room of your brain and – quite precisely – procrastinate.
In the same way, you postpone essential decisions that you might have made a long time ago, but that has no deadline.
When do you finally decide for this job that doesn’t make you happy, the relationship that actually only stresses you, when do you finally start training for this marathon that you always wanted to run?
We all have something to procrastinate, often without even knowing it.
Sure, making tough decisions is absolutely no fun, but you would be so much more successful, happy, and relaxed if you didn’t procrastinate them.
This does not merely make them disappear, but sometimes makes them even more unpleasant.
That being said, studies have found that Procrastination is harmful to your health.
Delayed inflammation can lead to high levels of stress, anxiety and even depression.
Why are you procrastinating?
You usually postpone tasks because you find them annoying, not necessary, or stressful.
Deep down, of course, you know that this short-term postponement will not help you further and may even lead to more problems.
But at the same time, there are a thousand other things that are so much more exciting.
The next episode on Netflix, cat videos on YouTube, the WhatsApp group with your friends … you know exactly what I mean!
Tim Urban sums up the problem perfectly: metaphorically speaking, each of us has a rational decision-maker sitting in his brain.
The decision-maker helps us to perform reasonable and timely tasks, to be productive and to make sensible decisions.
Usually, it should be the driving force behind our choices so that we are successful and do our jobs.
The immediate reward monkey is opposed to him. It wants to play and decides on everything that is simple and fun.
The rational decision-maker, our inner voice of reason, has no chance, as soon as the monkey wants to play, he is distracted.
Unfortunately, the instant reward is a fallacy. You know you didn’t deserve it, and you feel a bit guilty all the time.
So you can’t really enjoy the distraction and expose yourself to unnecessary stress.
The mechanism that ultimately (mostly) saves you is called the panic monster. It usually sleeps but wakes up when the deadline becomes too urgent.
Your monkey in the head is afraid of him and runs away as soon as the panic monster wakes up.
Your rational decision-maker finally has enough time to do his job.
From a psychological point of view, Procrastination can be attributed to a lack of willpower and self-discipline.
How to prevent deferment
Unfortunately, productivity doesn’t just happen. It has to be derived. And like everything in life, it has to be practiced.
If it were that easy, we probably wouldn’t not be procrastinating… So don’t be discouraged and fight the Procrastination! Still today!
If you want to tame the monkey in your head, you should follow these tips.
Tip # 1: Very important: make your tasks enjoyable.
The monkey in your head wants to have fun, so why not at work? Most of the time, however, we procrastinate in the tasks that we don’t enjoy.
Gamification is the keyword here: Make your tasks more fun by setting yourself a challenge.
Do tedious tasks within a certain amount of time, try to incorporate a strange word etc.
Tip # 2: set yourself deadlines.
Sure it feels like you are giving up liberties at first, but believe me, you actually gain some. Set deadlines for your own projects, decisions etc. and stick to them. Treat these deadlines as if they were hard deadlines and take the stress out of completing your projects.
Tip # 3: Tell others about your projects.
Regardless of whether you have a coach, a boss, or a friend to whom you are accountable, tell someone about your project, your decision, and your deadline. Being held responsible keeps you on track, and unpleasant questions can give you the impetus in the right direction.
Tip # 4: Divide your task into smaller tasks.
If you haven’t started yet, the task can sometimes seem incredibly large and almost impossible to accomplish.
On the other hand, it helps to divide the big task into smaller ones and to set intermediate goals that take the stress out of the whole thing.
But be careful, treat these intermediate goals the same way as the final deadline and don’t let them push you back.
Tip # 5: reward yourself.
Bribing yourself is a lazy trick, but it helps! Think of a reward that you won’t get until you’ve completed the task.
The important thing here is that the reward is tempting enough to make you work for it.
Trap: Under no circumstances, engage in negotiations with yourself. The reward is only given when the task is really completed, with no cutbacks!
Tip # 6: Eliminate distractions.
A minimalist workplace helps not to distract you from your tasks. By that, I mean not only the table you actually work at, but also your virtual workplace. If you have 10 tabs open while you are working, you are mentally half watching cat videos! In some productivity apps and programs, you can block certain apps and websites during working hours and protect yourself from yourself.
Procrastination is the habit of postponing essential and urgent tasks and decisions to work more pleasant and more comfortable tasks instead.
Everyone is affected by Procrastination to some extent. However, intense Procrastination can lead to depression or the loss of a job.
Therefore, you should take measures to prevent this, at the latest, as soon as you have recognized pathological Procrastination.
Studies show that Procrastination can be stopped with the right strategies and methods.
Work continuously and steadily to reduce this behaviour pattern. You will gain not only more self-control but also more well-being and self-confidence.
With this guide, we have given you the ultimate tool to tackle the problem of Procrastination.