Procrastination is an act of delaying and postponing tasks/assignments at hand despite knowing its ill effects. Apparently, it seems quite satisfactory to procrastinate however, the results therefore, are relatively atrocious. According to a study 95 percent of people are involved in procrastination to some extent. Procrastination is often confused with laziness but they are different things altogether. Laziness indicates inactiveness, reluctance to do or perform tasks. Procrastination is an act of putting off or postponing important tasks for less important ones; and preferring pleasurable and easy tasks over hard but important tasks. It’s a blend of multiple psychological issues.
Piers Steel, a business Professor at the university of Calgary, concluded in a 2007 study that 80 to 95 percent of college students are indulged in procrastination; around 75 percent consider themselves procrastinators, and nearly 50 percent procrastinate constantly and problematically.
Students procrastinate because they don’t see how a task is relevant or of significance to them. They don’t understand the material, or just don’t know how to commence the work.
Here are some reasons why do people procrastinate, look through them and find yours also:
- Incompetence: Some people procrastinate because they lack the required skill vital to perform a particular task. So, they keep up an avoidance behavior and they just pretend to be not wanting to put effort rather than confessing that they lack skills. “The chronic procrastinator, the person who does this as a lifestyle, would rather have other people think that they lack effort than lacking ability,”. “It’s a maladaptive lifestyle.” says Dr. Ferrari, a professor of Psychology at University of Chicago.
- Reluctance to face undesirable consequences: Are you afraid of impending failure? It’s also a cause of procrastination. Fear is a negative response to some emotional stress. Fear runs on the mechanism of fight or flight where you either fight with the fear and face it or you just run away. So in the case of procrastination, people tend to run away out of fear of facing failure. They fear failure of not doing good in their respective jobs, similarly students fear results of their exams. Different fears stem from different mindsets that lead to procrastination
- Involvement in the monotonous tasks: You might have come across some tasks at work that are totally unenjoyable. When you don’t like nature of the work you are performing, it doesn’t interest you and you avoid that task. Again, this might be linked to poor emotional regulation and perceived negative emotions. A research about people’s happiness levels by Matt Killings worth concluded that people could simply enjoy a simple task of rubbing a toilet if they put their mind and take interest in it. If they don’t let their mind wander and enjoy simple tasks, they can easily limit procrastination.
- Demotivation: Demotivation is another reason why people procrastinate. They just don’t have the zest to carry out a task in the long run so they usually delay or just leave the task in between. Gathering motivation before you step in to something is equally significant.
- Poor Emotional Regulation: “Emotional regulation, to me, is the real story around procrastination, because to the extent that I can deal with my emotions, I can stay on task,” says Pychyl. Poor emotional regulation is often a result of psychological disorder where you cannot regulate your emotions in a normal way as a result you procrastinate.
- Preferring straightforward tasks: The reason why some people delay a particular task depends upon its length and complexity. Some students avoid lengthy and time taking assignments and enjoy relatively short ones. Similarly, many others just see the severity of the tasks assigned to them, if it is out of their mental capacity, they navigate to negative emotions and start procrastinating.
- Inability to Initiate: Sometimes you find it difficult to start over, you just cannot take that first baby step towards your goal- then you delay it and lose your credibility. Research by Kenneth McGraw shows that the biggest wall in the way of success comes when we visualize negative perspectives instead of simply initiating a task.
- Seeking Perfectionism: A large number of people seek perfectionism in everything they do. They just cannot overlook even a tiny mistake committed by them while working. They don’t like handling the guilt of leaving a space for mistake hence in their race of bringing perfection, they delay and avoid work or other activities.
- Unrealistic thinking: All or nothing thinking takes place when you fail to maintain a balance in your thoughts. You think in an extreme way. You consider life either too good or a failure. This is the reason why many artists leave their projects undone and cannot enjoy the process of its completion.
- Over planning: From beginning to the end of the day we constantly make decisions which may or may not benefit us. We surf and ample amount of time thinking about new ideas and solutions to our problems. All these thoughts consume enough mental and physical energy and we end up losing our willpower.
- Lacking Self appreciation: How many times do you run down yourself for failing? Sometimes we all need is a word of appreciation for ourselves but when we feel at a particular task we say ill of our own selves and our abilities which resultantly leaves a negative impact on our personalities.
- Depression: There is a big connection between depression and procrastination. But it’s a chicken and egg situation. For some people, the act of procrastination results in depression. While for others, it’s a symptom of their condition (inborn depression). Either way, it’s a trouble.
If you are truly eager to break your procrastination loop, then start thinking about those particular thoughts and habits that are actually pushing you towards this distressing behavior. You cannot beat it without pinpointing actual reasons behind it. Once you will trace out the reasons, you will automatically move towards overcoming it.
Think differently and start breaking your procrastination loop today by questioning yourself: why do I procrastinate?
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