If you’re a procrastinator, then you’ve come to the right place! Procrastination is my life. It’s possibly the best concept I’ve ever come across, and at the same time, it’s one of the hardest habits to break. I still struggle a lot with this, but along the way, I’ve learned a few ways to better understand procrastination and ways I can move past it. So how can you start to live a procrastination-free life?
Start by understanding why you started procrastinating.
For me, my procrastination started in high school. A couple reasons. The assignments I received in high school were easy enough that I could put everything together at the last minute. And secondly, I was always an extrovert who had a bunch of friends and a lot of places to go. So in my eyes, there was always something better and more fun to do.
Once I realized that I could still pull off good grades and maintain a social life, my mind was set. And what was so scary about it was that after a little while, I hardly noticed I was doing it. Procrastination had become a part of my lifestyle. And no one could stop me. How could something so wrong feel so right?
Understand how procrastination can impact you.
To be quite honest, procrastination didn’t really start affecting me until after college. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I had my moments where projects were due at 11:59 p.m. and my internet completely stopped working at 11:56. But I always knew how to talk myself out of those situations and still get work turned in to my professors. So I never really wanted to make a change because I was content.
No, what made me want to make a change…what really affected me was “real-world” stuff — bills and work. After I graduated, I had entered the world with the mentality that a lot of us share: “I have enough time.” It wasn’t until spring of last year that I started to realize how dangerous this type of thinking was. I had racked up enough late fees and manager-employee “sit downs” to last me a lifetime. (I’m being dramatic, but you get my point.) Either way, procrastination hit me hard. And I now understand that “having enough time” is no excuse. If you can handle your business now, why not do it?
Understand why you procrastinate now.
Procrastinating doesn’t always mean you’re lazy, so get that out of your head. Procrastination can occur from a number of things. Not to mention, procrastination can manifest from multiple issues. Just because you started procrastinating for one reason, that doesn’t mean your reason can’t change. (Nor does it mean you’ll notice if it changes.) For example, procrastinating in school was easy for me. And looking back, I can understand why I did it. But even as the work got harder and my environment changed, I continued to procrastinate. Going into my first “real-world” job, I STILL procrastinated. But why?
Well, there are many types of procrastination. Some of my ideas were derived from this Inc. com article.
Depression – there’s almost no point to getting the work done anyway, but putting it off makes you feel like you’re still going to handle your responsibilities…eventually.
Disdain – you genuinely hate the work you’re doing, so the only reason you put it off is because you don’t have the choice of not doing it.
Fear – you fear that your work may not be as qualified as you made it seem, so you procrastinate to avoid embarrassment.
Contemplation – your daydreams/distractions tend to get the best of you, so your procrastination is in full force until you come back to reality.
Thrill – (how I was in school) you work well under pressure, so there’s no reason for you to freak out over an approaching deadline.
Overwhelming circumstances – (how I was when I first entered the “real world”) you have way too much on your plate, so you postpone your entire life.
Perfectionism – (what I struggle with now) everything you do has to be perfect, so if you can’t make it perfect at that moment, you procrastinate.
*If you can think of other reasons why people procrastinate, please share them in the comment section below!
Understand what things you can do to overcome your procrastination.
Figuring out what you can do to stop your procrastination depends on your story, your upbringing and your willingness to stop. Personally, I have to get over that “make everything perfect” stage. Life is meant for mistakes, and it’s OK to make them as long as you learn something.
I even give myself little rewards when I complete tasks ahead of time. I might take a quick ice cream break or give myself a little time to play around on social media. I might venture off reading a good article. But whatever I do, I keep it to 15 minutes or less. That way, I can continue on throughout the day.
Considering I’m a “perfectionist”, I like to work differently than how most procrastinators work. I begin my largest projects at the beginning of the week, so I have enough time to “perfect” them, and I work on all the small, menial tasks last — the ones I know I can get right the first time. What things can you do to overcome your type of procrastination? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section!
Understand how a procrastination-free life can impact you.
If you’ve made it this far in the post, I’m assuming it’s because you’re ready to make a change. Even if you thrive with procrastination, your luck will eventually run out. According to Prnewswire.com, 87% of people say that procrastination negatively affects their performance. This tells me that less procrastination can lead to less stress. I don’t know about you, but having one less thing to stress about in life sounds good in my book.
Ahhhh, I can see it now. Work done, bills paid — sipping on a chilled mimosa without any worries. Need I say more?
Telling yourself to stop procrastinating is not going to help you. But taking the time to understand your procrastination in depth is a good way to start. You may have a story similar to mine, or your story may be completely different. Try following the guide above to figure out how you can stop procrastinating. Write your answers down if you have to. But please don’t put this off. For your sake.
Do you have anything you’d like to add? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading! 🙂