Winning Over Our Worst Enemy Called Procrastination

4 minutes
Sentences like “I will do it tomorrow”, “I’ll start working on it later”, “I still have a lot of time to finish” have all become a part of our normal conversation. We all keep pushing our stuff for tomorrow which never seems to come. But what comes handy with this kind of attitude is stress, frustration, anxiety, depression, lot of workload and a feeling of “I can’t accomplish anything.” Yes, we are talking about procrastination.
Procrastination is the practice of avoiding or postponing tasks to a later time, sometimes to the “last minute”, before a closing date. It is a common problem that we all would have encountered at some point in our life. Yes doing things at our pace is good but when it becomes a habit, it should be treated. Procrastinators are people who never pay their bills on time or who miss opportunities for applying to a better position in a new job. The college going students seem to be the most affected by it.

This seems to be a big challenge. But by few simple changes in lifestyle habits, one can win this battle. Some tips to beat procrastination: 

  1. Identify the tasks or goals. It’s easy for us to procrastinate if we are not clear on what needs to be done. The first step is to make a list of everything that you need or want to do. So the first step is to make a to-do-list and sticking it at a place that is visible could be a constant reminder.
  2. Start with baby steps. Nothing can be achieved overnight. Start with a small realistic target for yourself. Sometimes we have the tendency to set overambitious targets that create unnecessary stress and anxiety and reinforce the “I can’t do it” feeling. Therefore, break down each task into small ones. Completing small tasks give you a feeling of accomplishing and keeps us motivated.
  3. Learn to say “No” to some of your feelings, impulses and urges.  Avoiding all type of distractions while doing your work is a must. Procrastinators actively look for distractions. They distract themselves as a way of regulating their emotions such as fear of failure. Maintain your focus. If you are a student, don’t forget to switch off your mobile phone and laptop while you study. Make a mental contract with yourself to work for 2 hours without interruption.
  4. Visualize the rewards. Project yourself in the future. Visualize your desired outcome. Think about the benefits you will get if you achieve the target. Keep reminding yourself about this feeling.
  5. Accept your mistake and forgive yourself. Making mistakes is part of the process of becoming better. Sometimes our over analyzing about our failures and mistakes results in delaying of work. Research says that true cause of procrastination is fear. The fear of failing. The fear of “not being good enough or fear of being rejected. The key is to acknowledge the mistakes with a positive attitude and go ahead.
  6. Poor concentration can be one of the reasons of procrastination. Healthy lifestyle increases your concentration power. Therefore taking sufficient rest and having a proper diet is essential.
  7. Motivate yourself. Reading inspirational stories, rewarding yourself after accomplishing a task, doing things that you like to do, being around positive people will help remain motivated.
  8. Self-talk strategies facilitate learning and enhance your act. Self-talk can be used to instruct, to motivate, to build confidence, to regulate your emotion, to evaluate your performance. It helps you remain focused on your target. So, incorporate positive things in your talk like: “ I will study for next 2 hours without any distractions.” “ I know I can achieve the target of today.”
  9. Stop lying to yourselves. Procrastinators have a tendency to lie to themselves. Such as, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Or “My brain works only at the last minute” or “this work isn’t important and can be done later.” Don’t make such excuses and face the reality to tackle the problem more efficiently.
Start including all the above things and stop letting yourself procrastinate. At first it might feel forced but eventually you will win over it. 
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Mausumi is currently associated with an intervention therapy clinic for special need children. She has more than 6 years of hands-on experience in handling children and adolescent-related issues as well as parent counseling. Her interest area is educational psychology. Mausumi completed her Certification in Child Guidance course and at present pursuing her Masters in Psychology. An M.Tech in Computer Science from Calcutta University, Mausumi worked for TCS for a couple of years before changing her career to a completely different field. Her desire to help young people, especially children, motivated her to change her career. She deals with children having academic and behavioral issues. Through YourDOST, she believes she will be able to reach out to lot more people, especially young ones, who need little support to enjoy life in a much better and beautiful way.