Edward Young captured the essence of procrastination when he said, “Procrastination is the thief of time.”
Procrastination always pays off in the now but not in the future when you have work piled up to your eyeballs. After the holidays, it is not uncommon for people to end up with work piled up to their eyeballs, thinking that there needs to be more hours in the day. Procrastination not only affects life at home or work, it is also associated with feelings of guilt, inadequacy, self-disgust, stress and depression. It is common to try to disguise procrastination by being very busy doing things that may be useful or interesting, but don’t contribute to the achievement of the main goal.
Knowing that recent studies have found people who procrastinate assignments or projects to have higher levels of stress and lower well-being, it practice of procrastination seems self-defeating. So, why do we all do it to some degree or another?
We can end up here for many reasons, the most common reasons include: highly complex tasks, not scheduling enough time for tasks, avoidance of the unpleasant, fear of work not being good enough, perfectionistic expectations, distractions or difficulty concentrating, or one of the most common reasons, feeling overwhelmed. Take a self-assessment and discover your procrastination style here. So now what?
Awareness is the first step then determine if you gain anything from procrastinating. Accepting there is no magic wand, think about the story you tell yourself. The words we use have feelings attached which affect how we experience the anticipation and experience of the task. There are several unhelpful thinking styles, a common distorted thought process characteristic of procrastination is to magnify how difficult or unpleasant a task will be or minimize potential progress or gratification from completing the task. Another defining feature of procrastination are escape behaviors. The popularity of games like Angry Birds, Farmville, and Candy Crush are an example of how common it is to escape to something fun. Checking email constantly is another way to avoid a task. A key question to ask yourself is, “What did you end up doing instead of what you planned to do?”
Thankfully there are evidence-based tools to help us stay efficient and on our toes! Take a look at some of these tools and see if a couple would be helpful for you: