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Procrastination | Reasons and Solutions to overcome it in 2023 (extended)

Updated: Feb 10

How often did you think of starting a new hobby and end up postponing it to never doing it? How often did you find yourself not doing your dishes after you done eating and how often did you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your insta feed while the book you thought of finishing lay opened just before you?

I am sure you have faced some of these senarios, since we all struggle with procrastination in one way or the other. this problem is very real, isn't it? The thing is, procrastination is not a matter of concern until you start self sabotaging yourself for it. Self sabotaging can lead to major mental health concerns like anxiety, depression and even suicide if not addressed properly.

This harmless act of postponoing a task can have a dire consiquences in a long run. It can not only sabotage our self esteem but can also hamper our relationships with our friends and family. In this article, we will try to understand what exactly is procrastination and how can it affects our mental and physical wellbeing and the most important, how can we address and tackle it.

No lies, I am no expert on this matter but I myself was a victim of procrastination. In this article, I will be covering my own experiences with procrastination and the methods I implimented to tackle this. This article is not made from a theoretical perspective because I believe, there is already plenty of bookish knowledge out there on the internet. What I offer here is a heart to heart and real conversation. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the read.

Attention! If you are a Hindi speaker you can check out Reality Shit Podcast's episode on Procrastination: A Dream killer.

We will be covering following sections in this article:


What is procrastination?

As we discussed ealiear the meaning procrastination is nothing but the act of delaying a task. The task can be anything from a mundane one like doing dishes to more important like reading and working. Simply delaying of task is not a problem as long as it doesn't become a habit. And especially, when it encroches your mental and physical health. But the good news is, it can be managed, if we follow certain guidelines and understand its root cause.


What are the reasons behind procrastination?

Despite of our struggle with procrastination, most of us never try to look into the reasons behind a procrastinating behaviour and if some us do look into this, we tend to believe that there is nothing serious and need not much of our attention. Are you one of them?

Let me tell you one thing very clearly, procrastination can be much more complex than what it sounds. Let's look at the following factors behind procrastination and try to introspect whether any of these is behind your procrastinating behaviour.


Environmental

Have you ever felt like postponing your studies just because your study area was messy?

It happens to all of us at some point or the other. Because a noisy place or a messy place promotes procrastinating behaviour. You can't work at a bus stop with so much of noise around you, could you?

Hence, making your work space organised and distraction free is really important to avoid procrastination, because lesser the distraction the more focused you will be.


Self Image

Distorted self image can lead to procrastination especially in your work area. Let's say, you think that you don't have the confidence to show up on a stage and whenever you get the opportunity to be on the spotlight, which can improve your professional image, most likely you will procrastinate and end up skipping it, resulting into more emotional baggage.


Psychological

most of us make procrastination as a habit because we don't feel motivated enough to work on some project. Lack of reward can lead to procrastination. For example, most people stop going to the gym just after a week or two because the results from a workout what they are expecting normally take 5 to 6 months of consistent work,. And to feel motivated for such a long time is really challenging.

Other psychological reasons for procrastination includes poor self control and perfectionism. Lack of strong will power can make an interesting work as boring as doing dishes. And perfectionism, mother of all problems, can really mess up with your work attitude. How often did you think of starting a new career or a hobby but you end up not even starting it in the first place, just because you think you are not perfect enough to take the challenge. You think you'll start doing it when you will become perfect at it to avoid failures. But the funny thing is, you'll never be ready. Instead of waiting for the right moment to arrive just simply starting it, is the best thing you can do.

I am not an expert in blog writing but it doesn't mean I shouldn't start, right? Infect, staring small, even when no one cares the biggest think we can do.


How can it affects our daily lives?

Procrastination can affect us mentally, physically, socially.

Believe it or not, if you'll end up procrastinating over small household chores, you'll likely become a burden to your loved ones. Although no one will say it your face, but it doesn't mean people love to clean up your mess. Think of it as if you were in their shoes would you like to have someone in your life who is a mess and a big fat procrastinator, who keeps on postponing small task, No! right? It can not only harm us but can also ruin our lasting and happy relationships.

Procrastination starts with a harmless act of postponing small task and you don't even realise when it becomes your habit. So identifying it early and then addressing it can be life changing, not just for yourself but also for your loved ones. You cannot take their loves for granted.


Possible solutions to stop procrastinating?

a woman is listening to a boy sitting on a chair
Discussing possible solutions to procrastination

Now that we have understood procrastination, its causes and how it can threatens our healthy lifestyle, let's look into the possible solutions. Without the solutions we cannot make the changes we want to make to overcome procrastination.


5 minutes rule

It is very helpful for small tasks which seems insignificant but can have a toll on our important tasks. We often neglect small task because we think that it can be done later in no time. But guess what? whenever we are onto some important tasks, these harmless looking task bothers us the most. As they say, we don't stumble over by a boulder it is the smaller stones which we look for. These small tasks are the same in a way. we can use this 5 minutes rule to eliminate these tasks.

Here let me tell you how it works, first identify whether a task requires more or less than 5 minutes of your time. It is very easy, right? Then when you done figuring out the time, simply do it without much thinking, if the task requires less then 5 minutes and if a task requires more than 5 minutes, then you can do it later. But remember don't delay a task just because it takes more than 5 minutes to complete. This rule is best applicable when you are juggling through multiple tasks in hand and you can't figure out the priority of a task. Regardless of it, the work or task is completed only when you do it.

2 minutes rule

It is a method mentioned in the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. Although, he mentioned it to build a habit which we have already discussed in the article- how to make a lasting habit? But this method can also be used to tackle procrastination. In this method you just have to perform a certain task for only 2 minutes at first. Just 2 minutes, and rest will follow. Because as we know, the beginning is always the hardest. Any task requires a momentum, and you will feel it just giving 2 minutes of your time into it.


Breaking task into chunks

You can not move a whole building with you bare hands, could you? But, it doesn't mean you can't move the building, right? The answer to this problem is pretty straight forward, you can just move one brick at a time. Similarly you can break your heavy task into small chunks. Because by this you can finish your overwhelming task with very little effort. Understanding how to break a task is very important. Then by the time it'll feel to much, you are done.


Performing a task in a group

try to perform a task in group if you can. Because group motivation is comparatively higher than solo motivation. But having positive and people with right mindset is really important because people having mindset opposite to yours, can delay or even ruin you whole effort. So be careful with choosing a right company.


Having a positive self image

As we mentioned earlier that you can work in a group and the members of a group play a crucial role in its success. and if you are a member of a group then it is really important that you should have a positive self image to reflect on your team. For this, You must believe in yourself. You have to constantly remind yourself that you can do the task because everyone of us has that spark, all it needs is a little word of encouragement. And looking outside for this can be unpredictable but you can be sure of yourself, how you treat yourself, right? Just keep speaking positive to yourself no matter what, until it embeds into your subconscious.


Changing your reward system

Since we all struggle with lack of motivation in a certain task resulting into procrastination. This motivation is something what we call a reward. There is no denying in the fact that we can't get reward every time we accomplished a task, but we can create rewards by ourselves. Now it's the method that we can use to address a bigger and important task which has been piled up for days or even month, like writing a book or consistently studying for a week. Then, by the end of such tasks you can treat yourself with something you love. Let say going for movie or munching on your favouite snack or anything,

But, if you already give yourself these treats without accomplishing anything meaningful then let tell you a blatant fact. it might sound rude but it is a truth that you are making a fool of yourself. The kind of life you are living is nothing more than a big fat lie. and Probably you will end up wasting your time on this planet, because your life may not have a meaning. so quit being a loser and be a best friend to yourself, when no one will understand you. Be a source of inspiration to yourself. Just pick up your ass and start working on your dreams.


It sure does looks difficult to tackle procrastination at first sight but remember there is no such thing, which can stop us from becoming the best version of ourselves. we can win over our procrastinating behaviour by simply following the solutions mentioned above by all our hearts.

And if you are struggling with you habits or no matter what you do, you cannot stick to a habit. Then chances are the solutions to your problems might be easier than you think. Just by understanding how habits are formed, you can make a lasting habit. To know more about how habit works read this article or listen to out podcast on habits if you speak Hindi.


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The following article has been inspired from the Liberty Lens Network 



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