People are often willing to do anything other than the important business at hand. Attention is distracted by the rain outside the window, a program you’ve never watched, and other small things. This condition is called procrastination. Many people have heard the term, but not everyone knows its full meaning. What is procrastination? Why does it occur? How to deal with procrastination? The answers to these and other questions in our article.
- What is procrastination?
- The main signs
- Physiological needs
- Fear of success
- Target loss
- The consequences of procrastination
- How do you fight procrastination?
- Fixing thoughts and deeds on paper
- Division of tasks into subtasks
- Getting the task right
- Developing Concentration
- Proper distribution of work and rest
- Reward for success
- Setting frameworks and limits
- Using special techniques
- Recording results
- Video about Procrastination – the disease of procrastination
What is procrastination?
The term procrastination comes from the Latin procrastinatio (pro – for, cras – tomorrow) and means a tendency to regularly and deliberately postpone important work. This is a fairly common phenomenon, which has its own reasons for occurrence. As a result of the habit “to do tomorrow” develops serious problems, and in neglected studios psychological illnesses (constant stress and even depression).
Many people mistakenly believe that procrastination is called ordinary laziness. This is fundamentally a misinterpretation. A lazy person prefers to do things rest, from which he enjoys. Procrastinators from doing tasks distracted by various small things. They are willing to put off important and urgent matters for no reason. As an example, a student who sits down every evening to read a lecture in preparation for an exam, but either just scribbles on a piece of paper or does some other trifle.
Thus, time to study is given, but it is not beneficial, because the student learns nothing. By the time the session arrives, more and more notes are accumulated, and there is less time to prepare. The test is not passed. The student begins to feel guilty with all the ensuing consequences. He realizes his mistake, but can not overcome procrastination. There is a constant vicious circle of “doing nothing – I blame myself – nothing works – stress,” and so on.
Procrastination refers not only to putting off work, business or study, but also to decision-making. There is no unified theory about this phenomenon. It is still being studied, but a classification of this kind of phenomenon has been developed.
The main signs
Procrastination is actively studied by psychology. This has made it possible to derive several clear characteristics that make it possible to recognize this condition precisely:
- A person puts off things that need to be done here and now. This applies not only to a task that suddenly arises, but also to a planned task with a precisely set deadline.
- There is time and physical ability to perform the task, but it is not consciously done. Such a condition is characterized by remorse, feelings of insecurity, so the person is distracted by small things, rather than throwing things, for example, for the sake of going to the movies.
- There is a clear understanding that it is necessary to work, otherwise there will be serious negative consequences in the future.
- One only gets down to business when deadlines are already literally “burning” or there is an external irritant in the form of a boss demanding a report, clients waiting for their order, and so on.
Because of burning deadlines, there is a critical situation where it is impossible to do the task well. If you try to do everything right, you have to sacrifice sleep, drink energy. This is detrimental to health and psyche.
Procrastinators begin to act only when it is no longer possible to put things off. They do not refuse to work, but, on the contrary, they are very industrious, but they are constantly distracted. They, of course, do everything that needs to be done, but either poorly or to the detriment of other needs.
A comparison of “laziness” and “procrastination”
|I get distracted by useless little things that bring no pleasure or benefit.||Not doing anything, because I want to enjoy lying on the couch or watching videos, pictures.|
|Ready to work long and hard, but constantly fail to meet deadlines and always have a heap of unfinished business.||I do not take responsibility, so I do not want to work or choose a position that requires me to perform as simple tasks as possible.|
|I want to get more out of life. It’s frustrating not to have any accomplishments.||I don’t need accomplishments. What I have now is enough.|
The condition that forces one to postpone important matters and make decisions to one’s detriment does not arise by itself. To overcome it, it is not necessary to get into psychology, it is enough to know what causes procrastination.
From a psychological point of view, procrastination arises from an exaggeration of complexity. Procrastinators do not put things off because they do not have enough skills or knowledge. They can complete a task, but by imagining in their mind how much needs to be done, they procrastinate and do not get down to work.
This is one of the most common reasons. But given individual personality traits and circumstances, procrastination can also be caused by other equally common factors.
Often the reasons for procrastination are hidden in a long rigid schedule, neglecting sleep, normal diet. Due to psychological and physical exhaustion there is simply no energy. The brain understands the need to keep working, but the inability to accumulate energy leads to the desire to distract oneself with videos, looking at pictures and so on.
Physiological causes of procrastination can be the wrong desk and chair. This is especially true for people who work at computers. Prolonged sitting in an uncomfortable position leads to consequences such as neck and back pain. A person is much more comfortable leaning back and just looking at something rather than working.
As a result, one is constantly distracted by the desire to sleep, to eat, to lie down to relax the back, and so on. He cannot concentrate, but only thinks about the most basic and basic needs, without the satisfaction of which work is impossible.
Fear of success
Achieving success does not always mean complete satisfaction. In infantile individuals, it evokes fear rather than joy of accomplishment. Anticipation of success for such individuals is associated with future exaggerated expectations of others. While other people perceive success as a blessing, for them, on the contrary, it is a punishment.
In reality, every achievement does result in attention, which does not always involve promotion or business development. It can lead to the fact that others begin to expect more from the person. Often this scares even responsible people, but mostly as a temporary rather than permanent phenomenon.
In contrast to infantile personalities, there are quite a few people who, on the contrary, want to achieve a perfect result. This leads to constant revisions, corrections. Literally every little thing. As a result there is not enough time to accomplish the full amount, and the remaining part is completed at an accelerated pace, and often to the detriment of sleep. It is always necessary to look at the entire amount of work done, so as not to get bogged down in the minutiae.
Such perfectionism is especially harmful to people in the creative professions. The rejection of one idea after another can lead to stagnation. This is also characteristic of students, when after a few hours of pondering an abstract or other project is not even started. Proposals are typed and then erased.
Procrastination can be caused by a lack of motivation. A person does not see a reason for doing the work and only realizes that it is just the way it should be done. Loss of purpose has become one of the main problems of modern people, including even the most responsible ones. The only method of dealing with procrastination that arises on this basis is the “I want to do this…” attitude.
This is especially characteristic of routine work. It does not have any great bottom line. This leads to a subconscious underestimation of importance. In some cases, it may even cause rejection, so each time its performance begins to take more and more time. A simple task begins to take not two hours, but the entire work day, so other tasks accumulate.
If you constantly work non-stop, the body will turn on its defenses. A kind of rebellion allows you not to fall into a difficult state for health. It is better just to rest, and then with new strength to get to work. Of course, when it happens occasionally or in general is an isolated case, procrastination does not develop.
When the psychological defense is excessive, it becomes totally ineffective. It is not necessary to overload yourself with things and work at full stretch. Small breaks never hurt. The main thing is that they were planned, not during the work process. Work for an hour, have a coffee for 5 minutes, and so on.
The consequences of procrastination
Constant procrastination and decision-making do not go away. Procrastination leads to serious problems, including psychological ones:
- constantly decreasing self-esteem, to the point of feeling completely worthless and incapable of anything;
- Excessive anxiety, not only in work or study, but also in other life situations;
- incessant stress, smoothly flowing into absolutely all spheres, including the personal sphere;
- Burnout, when there is neither the physical nor the psychological strength to do anything;
- a sharp decline in academic performance for students and an incredible backlog at work for workers.
Health, personal life, studies/work suffer. If nothing is done about procrastination, it will completely exhaust a person and can even cause depression.
How do you fight procrastination?
The condition has a negative effect on the body and life. Procrastination should not be started. Understanding only the causes of its development is not enough. It is necessary to take all possible measures to start fighting the “disease” of procrastination. We have put together all the possible methods, each of which will help you regain efficiency and get rid of the endless piling up of accumulated cases that seemingly will never end.
Fixing thoughts and deeds on paper
This method involves clear planning:
- start by making a list of tasks that need to be done immediately;
- In the next step, write down all the necessary steps to complete a task;
- Tick the completed items.
Such an approach disciplines you and allows you not to be distracted by trifles, because you can clearly see your progress.
Another tip is to write down everything that is done within the time allotted for work. If you sit down, for example, to write a report at 1 p.m., make a corresponding note and every time you are distracted by a video, a social networking feed, a game on your cell phone, write the time and the action.
With this method of self-monitoring, you can immediately notice how much time in reality is devoted to the desired action. Quite quickly, making a follow-up mark on the distraction will begin to signal to your mind that it is absolutely useless at the moment.
Division of tasks into subtasks
This is an easy way to dispel the exaggerated difficulty of a task if it is the seeming difficulty that keeps you from getting started. Create a step-by-step guide that allows you to do it. Such a step makes it clear that it is not very difficult.
As an example, you can take writing an essay. The subtasks would be:
- collecting material (Internet, books, notes);
- making a plan;
- typing the introductory part;
- writing the main text;
- printing the conclusion.
The main thing is to resist the temptation to reread every sentence or paragraph. One of the causes of procrastination, as mentioned above, is perfectionism. Avoid checking individual subtasks, but rather check the entire work.
Getting the task right
The essence of the method is to sort current affairs into urgent and non-urgent. The problem of many procrastinators is to decide to do the easy tasks first, and then the difficult ones. When simple “not found”, there is no desire to do difficult ones, they begin to be constantly distracted. The result is either accomplished, but not important at the moment goals, or sitting in prostration and endless postponement of work.
Based on the previous two ways to combat procrastination, they write out and divide into stages only urgent tasks that should be done as they say yesterday. Describing the task as simple allows one to “deceive” the part of the subconscious that is trying to impose thoughts of the complexity of the matter.
Taking responsibility is the best way to combat procrastination. It is especially important for students, freelancers, and long-distance workers to use this method. Before work or study it is necessary to eat, drink tea/coffee, put aside or another room the phone, turn off messengers or even the Internet, if you do not need it.
It is necessary to get rid of not only obvious, but also indirect irritants. Windows should be closed if noise from the street distracts you. Music does not always promote concentration. Often listening to your favorite band leads to a desire to watch that very clip. One distraction leads to another.
Only a work environment that is created as properly as possible contributes to overcoming it. This includes the various pictures, toys, puzzles and other little things often present on desks. They certainly help to take breaks and relax, but they contribute to procrastination.
Proper distribution of work and rest
To avoid overwork, you should always allow time for rest. You can’t work for hours on end without a break. This also applies to long term prospects. Working without days off and free evenings will not do any good.
Procrastinators often lose not only the ability to “work” but also to “rest.” They mix the two concepts. A striking example is watching a movie or TV series at the same time as the task at hand, playing a game on your mobile as a little break, which from 5 minutes can turn into 30-40 minutes.
You should not confuse a break and a rest. The latter should be full-fledged. It is better to work for 4-6 hours without distractions, and then in a relaxed atmosphere to rest, sleep properly. Very soon such a regime will bear fruit, when in the morning there will always be strength for new achievements, good mood from perfectly spent evenings and weekends.
Reward for success
Motivation as a way to overcome procrastination is one of the most effective ways. If there is no reward system, work becomes an aimless chore. The final result of most tasks performed is not a sufficient incentive.
Develop a system of rewards, which will be a good motivator. It is always necessary to consider their interests. Lovers of computer games, the reward will be the passage of a long-awaited novelty. Fans of going out – going to a restaurant. For homesiders – watching movies with family or friends.
You should always imagine in advance what a positive burst of emotion will bring the long-awaited reward. This will turn the work into a path to the intended very pleasant goal in all respects.
Setting frameworks and limits
When overcoming procrastination, it is always necessary to put yourself under strict conditions. The best time to do the work of all procrastinators is a rush, when there is no time to think, select options and considerations, and only action is required.
This method proposes to create exactly the same atmosphere. It is always necessary to clearly prescribe a time frame and abandon the habit of procrastination. If a 10-page report needs to be written by Monday, it should be finished on Friday, rather than procrastinating until the last minute and sitting at work all weekend. For each day you should plan to prepare two or three pages.
This approach can be applied to absolutely any situation. If four days in a row to do nothing at home, the housewife accumulates just a huge pile of worries. As a result, will have to immediately vacuum, laundry, ironing, cleaning floors, and much more. In addition to these tasks is the need to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Using special techniques
Procrastination is most susceptible to people with time planning problems. It is very difficult to set up a proper disposition of minutes and hours. A variety of techniques that have all the necessary levers of time-management can help:
- The tomato method. It consists in dividing the work process into “tomato cycles” of 25 minutes each, followed by a short break of 5 minutes. Every four cycles it is recommended to pause for 20 minutes. During each “tomato” you should not be distracted. It is necessary only to work. The advantage is the possibility of using special ready-made timers on the Internet.
- Eisenhower matrix. This involves dividing tasks into four categories “important urgent”, “important non-urgent”, “unimportant urgent”, “unimportant non-urgent”. It is better to plan tasks by the matrix for a week or a day. It is recommended to use a table that is made on a computer and printed out or drawn by hand, and then placed right at eye level in the work area.
Such techniques include absolutely all of the above ways of combating procrastination. The exception is the elimination of irritants. It is necessary to get rid of them personally.
Every even routine work should have a certain end result. It should be clearly fixed. It is not uncommon for procrastinators to bring a case to its final end, but not to complete it one hundred percent. The essay is written, but not reread and not handed in. The report is done, but not sent.
To prevent this from happening, one of the points in the planning should be a specific action that implies the full completion of the case. This allows you to develop self-discipline and accustoms you to bring each case to a logical end. After a while the problem of procrastination will simply disappear.
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