Knowing how to stop yourself from procrastinating is like possessing an invaluable treasure. But unfortunately, many struggle with procrastination, which can cause many problems at work and in everyday life.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why do we procrastinate, and how to stop procrastinating and start working. Let’s get to know what procrastination is first.
According to Wikipedia, “procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so.”
Quite simple to grasp, right? While the concept of procrastination seems simple, its causes and why it happens are a bit more complicated.
Everyone that procrastinates knows that they’re doing it and what negative effects it brings but can’t make themselves stop it quickly. Therefore, understanding what causes procrastination is the first and most crucial step. Only when we know the cause can we understand how to overcome procrastination.
Why do we procrastinate
The most straightforward reason behind procrastination is a lack of discipline. Procrastination starts with delaying your tasks. As time progresses, it keeps getting worse and reaches a point where you can’t stop procrastinating anymore. Then, you start enjoying the leisure time procrastination gives you and ignore the difficulties it brings later.
You know, eventually, you’ll have to do those tasks, but you still decide to keep avoiding them, and they continue piling up. This is nothing but a lack of discipline.
Procrastination could be linked to depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Those who procrastinate seem to feel more stress and anxiety. On the other side, fear and anxiety are the main reasons behind procrastination. The more anxious a person feels about a task, the more likely they’ll delay it. Even though it’s a way to temporarily avoid stress, it builds up way more pressure for later.
Distractions are also a major cause of procrastination. People start working and then get distracted by other stuff, especially social media, and spend hours on unnecessary things without realizing it. Social media plays a significant role, usually more prominent than we realize. People often use it while working, and that affects their performance.
So, is procrastination a mental illness? Procrastination isn’t a mental illness but is often related to one. If you procrastinate frequently, you likely suffer from mental illnesses. But keep in mind that this isn’t always the case.
How does procrastination affect our life?
Procrastination can have devastating effects on someone’s life. Avoiding your work till the last moment can lead to a point where it gets impossible to finish your work in time.
For example, suppose you’re a writer like me. In that case, you must deliver articles within your deadline while ensuring sound grammar and structure. Having the right tools for writing is essential, but it all goes to waste when you procrastinate. The workload builds up, and you’re forced to finish a lot of work in minimal time. Writing is a task where you can’t force yourself to hurry up; you must take your time and come up with better sentences and interesting reads. But not having enough time at the last moment can drop the quality drastically.
In a student’s life, procrastination is very common but dangerous. As a student, I procrastinated all the time, and I often had to finish whole books the night before exams because I didn’t study in time. I’m sure many of our readers can relate to me on this one. But, most of the time, it is just the lack of willpower to study until we have no other choice.
Procrastination also affects our health indirectly. People are often scared of getting diagnosed with something terrible, and as a result, they keep avoiding going to a doctor, which makes their current medical condition worse and builds up a lot of stress. In avoiding existing stress, we only create more stress when we procrastinate.
How to overcome procrastination
Here’s the million-dollar question—how to overcome procrastination? First, you’ll have to stick to a plan to help you fight procrastination, and once you get used to it, it’ll be easier to stop procrastinating. Here are the 5 ways to stop procrastinating that worked for me:
Make a schedule
Make a schedule and write down when to start working on what. Of course, just making a plan won’t work; you’ll have to follow it closely too. Also, remember to prioritize important work over other, less critical tasks so you can finish it first, while the rest you can work on later. Priorities are crucial when it comes to organizing yourself the right way.
Get rid of distractions
Distractions are the public enemy number one. Only open your social media or use your phone if necessary when you start working. And let’s be real – it’s almost never necessary. Get rid of anything in your working room that can attract you towards it and make you waste hours on it. Put the phone on silent, and leave it in a drawer for a couple of hours. Focus on the here and now.
Set smaller goals
Starting out, you can’t finish long tasks in one sitting. So instead, split your work into smaller tasks and set deadlines for them. Reaching those smaller goals will boost your morale and motivate you to continue being productive. In the end, you’ll finish your work bit by bit, and it will feel more manageable.
Keep yourself energetic
Work can really feel like a burden if you’re tired. Eat healthily and sleep well so your body can stay in an optimal state. Also, take breaks from time to time to refresh your mind and regain energy to continue working.
Set up a good work environment
Small changes can have significant impacts on your mood. Remember how you used to get excited to write every time you got a new pen or notebook as a child? At least I did. Organize your work desk and make it neat and exciting; it will make you want to work. Pick whichever style that works for you.
Stop Yourself From Procrastinating Now
Procrastination is common, and most of us do it at least occasionally. Still, it shouldn’t be left the way it is. It can be a significant obstacle between you and your success, but you shouldn’t let it. So follow all the steps you learned, do it now, and don’t procrastinate.
You can also use smart drugs such as nootropics or other cognitive enhancers to improve your brain function. They can help you work more efficiently and reduce stress and anxiety. Now that you know how to stop yourself from procrastinating, get to work.