Many of us are guilty of procrastination. There are just times that even little tasks can be challenging to tick off on the list of things to do. This isn’t because of laziness. It goes deeper than that. It’s a complex issue that can be caused by different reasons. Understanding why we procrastinate can help us come up with the right ways to overcome this behaviour.
What is procrastination?
We often confuse procrastination with laziness, but these two are different. Unlike laziness which suggests inactivity, procrastination is an active process. It is the act of unnecessarily postponing a more important task, in favour of an easier or more enjoyable one.
Giving in to procrastination can hurt our chances of successfully pursuing and achieving our goals, and it’s also associated with a wide range of other issues like stress and can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. Chronic procrastination can cause us to be overwhelmed with tasks, demotivated, and depression and job loss in extreme cases. Moreover, it can also negatively affect our relationships, because when we procrastinate, we tend to break commitments we made with people.
Why do we procrastinate?
It seemed not to make sense why people procrastinate. Why do we add unnecessary stress to our lives by putting off a task to the last minute? We know we would only end up doing poorly on the task and feel bad about it afterwards.
One theory says that anxiety about getting things down stays at a low level until it is superseded by anxiety about not meeting a deadline. Hence, people tend to procrastinate because, until a certain point, they just don’t feel the urgency and are not concerned enough that they will not get the task done on time.
Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not just a matter of willpower. According to Fuschia Sirois, a professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield, procrastination has more to do with our emotions. Specifically, it’s our inability to manage our negative moods around a certain task.
More often than not, we don’t procrastinate on things we enjoy, but we procrastinate on tasks that we find unpleasant, hard, aversive, stressful, or just plain boring. It’s easier for us to avoid an overwhelming task or one that makes us anxious.
Sirois also said that another reason people procrastinate is self-esteem issues. We might put it on hold because we think we might fail or screw things up. Some also procrastinate because they fear negative feedback. Here are some other reasons people procrastinate:
Feelings of overwhelm
Perceived lack of control
Lack of motivation
Ways to Stop Procrastinating
Here are basic things you can do to avoid procrastination:
Make sure your environment is conducive to focusing on fulfilling your tasks. For instance, remove distractions from your work environment. You can use apps that block social media while you’re working on something. Keep your working area neat and organized.
Promise yourself a reward. Get yourself a reward when you manage to get a task started ahead of time. This reward can be small and simple. What matters is you are getting something in the very near future.
Tackle tasks as soon as they come. Do not wait for them to build up over another day.
Tackle the task you least enjoy first thing in the morning. By doing this, you can get that out of the way early and have the rest of the day to focus on work you enjoy more.
Create a to-do list and set time-bound goals. A list will keep you from conveniently forgetting unpleasant tasks you want to avoid. Also, having specific deadlines to finish tasks will keep you from procrastinating and make sure you are on track in achieving your goals.
In some cases, overcoming procrastination is not as easy as following the above tips, especially if the reason for your procrastination is an emotional response to an issue. If you are finding it hard to start on a task despite removing distractions and creating a to-do list, here’s are ways you can stop procrastinating in the long term:
Determine when, how, and why you procrastinate
You can do this by taking a look at situations where your tendency to delay tasks is keeping you from achieving your goals.
Make a plan on how you can address the issue or cause of your procrastination
For example, if you procrastinate because you doubt yourself, think you can never do it right and fear other people’s feedback, you might want to first address the cause of your low self-esteem.
Is it because of a past failure? Does it have something to do with a past issue that you haven’t resolved yet? If yes, then take time to address it. You might want to talk to someone you can trust or a therapist. During your session with a therapist, you can learn and better understand your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. Psychotherapy is best paired with an advanced method of Reiki, which is a type of complementary alternative medicine, called Intuitive Energy Healing.
How Intuitive Energy Healing Helps
Intuitive Energy Healing is a deep form of safe and natural energy release. It will identify the negative emotions stuck in your body, which negatively impacts your mental, physical, and emotional state. It helps to identify, locate and release those emotions that cause you to procrastinate so you’ll be freed from it.
The emotional energy release will help you overcome subconscious thought patterns so that you are less prone to react the same way if another similar situation arises. For instance, you will no longer postpone doing things out of fear of failure.
Ultimately, Intuitive Healing can help you improve your wellbeing and allow you to be kinder to yourself and forgive yourself.
Forgive yourself for your past mistakes including your procrastination. Studies have shown that self-forgiveness can boost self-esteem and reduce the likelihood of procrastinating again. You might be afraid that you won’t be able to handle the task well enough so you put them on hold but remember that it’s okay to make a mistake. Learn from it and move forward.