This National Day is the Perfect Day for Beating Procrastinating!
The 6th of September is seen around the world as international “Fight Procrastination Day”. Chronic procrastination is usually a symptom of negative associations like low self-estem, anxiety, depression or neurological disorders. Everyone procrastinates for any number of reasons and is typically defined as the habitual delay of starting or finishing tasks despite their negative consequences. The closer the deadline comes the more stressful a person feels and consequently, the keener the desire to procrastinate. The littlest decision can be blocked by a sea of doubt and overthinking. It affects all people regardless of age, race, gender or intelligence. We dive into what procrastination is and discuss some basic methods for combating it.
People try all kinds of tactics to deal with procrastination. Coping responses to procrastination include avoidance, denial, distraction, blaming and mocking. At the core, procrastination is purely about putting off negative feelings, being forced to make decisions, delaying responsibility and work in exchange for immediate gratification and the dismissal or suppression of most if not all of the underlying negative emotions. Are you a chronic procrastinator? Here are some questions that were created to ascertain if you might have a problem with procrastination, followed with some tips you can use to fight those urges of putting off doing things that are in need of doing today.
- Which of the following best describes your attitude towards deadlines?
- A: I start working as soon as possible
- B: I make sure I have plenty of time
- C: I work best when I wait till a day or two before something is due
- D: I like waiting until the last minute to get something done
- E: I don’t like deadlines and generally avoid them if at all possible
- When i’m at work, I usually find myself daydreaming about something else:
- A: Never
- B: Rarely
- C: Sometimes
- D: Most of the time
- E: All the time
- In order to get something done, like a big chore or a report for work:
- A: I start working on it immediately
- B: I break the chore or item into several steps before I start working
- C: I feel myself starting and stopping several times before the chore is done
- D: Feel like I have to be in “the zone” else I can’t concentrate enough to finish
- E: I force myself to start working with just enough time to finish
- When I have something that needs to be done that I absolutely don’t want to do:
- A: I force myself to do it
- B: I psych myself up till I am able to do it
- C: I start working on it but drag it out with distractions
- D: I wait until the last minute and then do just the least amount necessary to complete it
- E: I don’t do it at all
- I can usually accurately estimate how long a task will take me to complete
- Most of the time
- Almost Never
- How clean do you keep your home?
- A: I clean every day
- B: I clean once a week
- C: I let things build up until I can’t stand it anymore
- D: I believe firmly in ‘spring cleaning’ (only once a year things get cleaned)
- E: Things never get cleaned in my home
- I typically pay my bills
- A: As soon as I get them
- B: A few days after I receive them
- C: A few days before they are due
- D: Just before the day they are due
- E: Typically every bill I pay is late
To tally your score and find out how much of a procrastinator you are, add up your answers based on the scoring system below. The higher your score is, the more of a procrastinator you might be.
A: = 1 point
B: = 2 points
C: = 3 points
D: = 4 points
E: = 5 points
If you find that you are a procrastinator or procrastinate more than you are comfortable or happy with, then read the following tips and try to apply them in your daily life. The more of the following tips you attempt to implement into your life the better you will likely be at effectively managing your procrastination.
Forgive Yourself for Being a Procrastinator
Self-forgiveness can assist you to feel more positive about yourself and eliminate many of the elements that cause procrastination.
Commit to the Tasks
Positively reinforce what you are doing and minimize or outright eliminate thoughts and feelings of “avoidance”. Write down tasks you need to complete and specify a time to complete them. Break tasks up if at all possible.
Give Yourself a Reward
When you perform a task completely and on time, reward yourself with a treat. It can be anything you like but avoid rewarding yourself with big treats. Keep them modest and consistent.
Get Assistance with Your Tasks
Ask someone to follow up on you and ask you if you have completed your task or when you plan on getting it done. Peer pressure works.
Concentrate on Doing the Tasks Immediately that Can be Completed
Motivate yourself to start tasks as soon as you get them. If you are going to choose a time to start, try to start shortly after you get a task.
Need to finish something like a report? Make sure the TV and stereo are turned off. Minimize distractions by removing those that you can. Turn off notifications on your phone so you don’t get messages or calls when you are working on a task.
Do Those Tasks that Are Easy Or Those You Like the Least, First
Complete tasks that you find super simple or tasks that you find least pleasant and get them out of the way as early as possible. That way you don’t have to worry about them or worry about having to do them later.
Keep a To-Do List
Keeping a daily and updated list will prevent you from forgetting about tasks and keep you from getting overwhelmed.
Create Reminders For Yourself
Write little notes and place them where you usually go during the day. You can also print custom bookmarks or postcards or business cards with “To-Do” items or areas with lines where you can write your lists. You can even custom make your own “To-Do” magnets to add to your refrigerator where you can list and update tasks.
Set Time-Based Goals For Yourself
Set and keep deadlines for parts of tasks. This will keep you on track to finish them. There are plenty of apps you can download. Use a couple to alert you when tasks are due.
Following these recommendations will help you tackle procrastination and allow you to better manage your time and in general gets things done. Minimizing how much you procrastinate will ultimately make you a happier, more content person. However, if you feel that tips like these don’t help and feel that nothing you have done has worked, we recommend reaching out to a life coach or your doctor for assistance.