Here I am, writing about procrastination in my pajamas at the last minute when I should’ve been wilding out at a fall festival because I procrastinated. Yes, I wild out at fall festivals. My 30’s are interesting.
Anyway, I thought it would be fitting to write about what so many of us struggle with the daily, obviously present company included.
In my own battle with procrastination, I’ve been implementing strategies to keep it at bay. It creeps back in every now and then because procrastination is a sneaky bitch. There’s a reason there are so many webinars, books, and courses on it. That’s why I invite you to come on this journey to refresh good habits and develop new ones to keep it in check.
What exactly is Procrastination?
Procrastination loosely translated from the Latin term: pro castings means, “for tomorrow”. Makes me feel better old Greek dudes have been struggling with this for thousands of years. We’re not alone.
Procrastinating is basically our tendency to put off or replace necessary stressful tasks for easier, less stressful tasks we like more because the more important stuff is less pleasant. Temporarily distracting ourselves from stress can be a coping mechanism if done properly. If not, we limit our productivity causing us more stress. Some examples can be avoiding calling a debt collector and instead adding things to your Amazon cart. Or putting off an unpleasant conversation, work task, or the like and instead of scrolling on social media, watching tv, etc.
Procrastination, not to be confused with relaxation, takes time away from tasks and causes more stress due to the guilt and anxiety about putting things off. It drains our energy. It then becomes a cycle because the less energy we have the less likely we are to get things done, increasing our stress levels.
Once we can complete these tasks, only then, can we truly relax when we don’t have something looming over us and weighing us down.
Although Procrastination itself isn’t a mental health diagnosis it can be a characteristic of some mental health issues like ADHD, Depression, and Anxiety.
The effects of long-term procrastinating can be difficulties with work, school, finances, physical health, and relationships. Having to take time away from family and friends to make up for squandered time leads to chronic stress, lower levels of well-being, and reduced mental health.
SO HOW DO WE STEER CLEAR OF PROCRASTINATING?
- Getting started can be the most difficult part. Start by breaking things down into smaller, simpler more achievable steps.
- Put them in order of priority to help you attack each one in the time each one needs.
- Setting up daily to-do lists rather than one ongoing huge list can help set you up for success.
- Too many or too large a task can be daunting and overwhelming. It becomes more doable and manageable once we’re able to break them down into simplified smaller steps. Starting small reduces the chances you will continue to procrastinate on it. For example, instead of “clean the house” as a task, breaking it down by chore or room will simplify it and be less overwhelming to start.
Implement new habits
- Learning and implementing new positive habits is a basic element of self-improvement and personal growth.
- If we put a new task or routine into practice, it becomes a habit. And it takes less mental energy to think about doing it. It starts to come naturally and automatically.
- These habits help us stay on task and motivate us to continue.
Check-in on your progress to hold yourself accountable
- Set time aside to check in on what you’ve accomplished and completed and what to focus on.
- Organize yourself.
- Put ongoing long-term planning in motion.
- Seeing what you’ve already accomplished will also help keep you on track and stay motivated.
- Consider what you can improve on to take you further.
Work with a therapist or counselor
- A therapist can help to assess what’s triggering the procrastination to help stop it. For example, if boredom keeps you from starting something, finding a way to make it more fun will get you started.
- Research has shown there is a correlation between mood and procrastination. People who struggle with more chronic procrastination may benefit from therapy for emotional regulation and stress management. They also benefit from development tools to help overcome procrastination. With therapy, we can also find ways to replace negative self-talk with productive thoughts and learn behavioral strategies to cope more efficiently with procrastinating stress.
Studies show that people have more regret over what they never did versus what they wish they hadn’t done. Regret over missed opportunities affects us deeper and for longer.
“Never leave for tomorrow what you can do today!” I’m not sure who said it first but my dad definitely has been hammering that into our brains ever since I can remember. The thing about leaving things for tomorrow is that tomorrow may or may not come. Live your days with purpose.
QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“While we waste our time hesitating and postponing, life is slipping away.” – Seneca