We have all said something to the effect of, "I'll do it later." or "I don't feel like doing that right now." We all know what it is like to wait until the last minute to do something we have to or need to be doing.
This is procrastination. The dictionary defines procrastination as, "to put off intentionally and habitually. In those last minutes before a deadline or the night before a big test for which we just realized we did not study, the pressure and anxiety of procrastination sets in. We find ourselves hurried and frantic.
We might even ask ourselves how it is that we arrived in this mess. We may even tell ourselves that this is the last time and that next time we will do it differently. That is all well and good until we realize that we have procrastinated in overcoming procrastination!
If we don't control our procrastination, we can ruin our productivity and our efficiency and lose valuable time.
Why is Procrastination So Bad?
When we procrastinate, we run many risks and develop anxieties that we may not have had previously. Below is a list of a few reasons why we should avoid procrastination.
- Missed Deadlines - This can mean we missed deadlines and important dates at work or in other areas. This may even be something as simple as missing a date in which we could have taken advantage of a cash rebate. Whatever the case may be, procrastination can lead to missing important and productive moments.
- Produce Poor Quality Work - When we are rushed, we may not have as much care for the quality of the work we produce. Our focus has shifted away from maintaining quality and to that of quantity. An example of this is the difference between an essay for school that flows and is informative to one that appears thrown together at the last minute. Quality of work is often a measure of time management and productivity.
- High Stress - When we procrastinate, we develop more stress. We might consciously, or subconsciously, be thinking about whatever it is we are procrastinating about and letting the pressure hang over us and stress us. Also, when the day of deadline finally arrives and we have to hurry to complete our task, we have to rush and flood ourselves with anxiety and stress in order to achieve the goal set forth.
How Can We Overcome Procrastination?
Fortunately, there are steps that we can take to help overcome procrastination.
- Manage your time - Buy a day planner and plan your days. Time management can help alleviate stress by preparing you ahead of time and keeping you on task. This will also free up mental space that otherwise might be juggling your busy schedule. This is will help you avoid procrastination by breaking a larger project into smaller and manageable chunks.
- Define your goal - If we have clearly defined goals and a sense of purpose, then we can overwhelm our desire to procrastinate. What this means is that if the desire is stronger than the desire to put a project off, then we are less likely to procrastinate. Find your passion in everything that you do. An overwhelming passion can easily overcome procrastination.
- Be realistic - Being realistic with your time and your expectations of a project can help you find the balance between time management and time allotment for the task at hand. This will help limit procrastination by understanding what it is, truly, that you are up against.
Keep in mind at all times that you are the only person in control of your time. It is your responsibility to manage your time efficiently and effectively in order to achieve the results that you want or need. Take steps to overcome your tendency to procrastinate.
Procrastination does not have to be an ongoing feature in your life. Think back to times in your life that you have found yourself procrastinating. Has procrastination ever resulted in success? If so, were you proud of this behavior? If not, how are you going to fix the issue?
Do not let procrastination rule your time and destroy your efforts. In the end, only you will suffer for procrastinating.