I’ll be honest, this piece of writing is due to my procrastination of completing this post! Yes, that ugly word, procrastination! I don’t like that word and I am sure I am not alone in my journey! You’ve been there too. You have procrastinated on a term papers, studying for exams, that massive work project, an important phone call and the list goes on. Have you ever asked why you stalled on that very important work and kept it till the last minute? Ah, because you had other less important things to take care of!
The TO-DO list
We always have that long list of To-Do, correct? The one that gets a “Nike” sign beside every task completed. Ever thought why we keep adding to that never ending list prior to completing any previous tasks? Why do we focus on just the short term, insignificant goals? Because a procrastinator’s job is to plan indefinite unclear goals which will never get completed. Planning is not an issue, a procrastinator loves to plan! They always have a great blueprint of the end result without the execution process. This blurs the path in reaching the outcome and that’s where the procrastinating begins.
Let’s compare the procrastinator with our non-procrastinator to evaluate the different behaviors. You have to present a very important sales pitch on a phone conversation. If that wasn’t nerve wracking enough, you also have lack of knowledge on the product you are selling. Now, a non-procrastinator would work their level best to research and prepare for this presentation. However a procrastinator has a lot to think about! A lot to think of how to subconsciously avoid this whole sales pitch situation. Suddenly, you remember that long To-Do list and get started on that. This is because the procrastinator has to fool themselves in thinking they are actually being productive. The procrastinator will start checking their emails, social media, clean the house, walk the dog and go over any other minimal working task prior to presenting this sales pitch.
Why do we avoid the situation only to fill in the gap with a task we can hold off on? Is it perception? We look at the task and tag it with words such as difficult and hard work. We stall and stall, keep telling ourselves, yes there is one more day, which becomes half a day, to 3 hours, to 1 hour, 30 minutes, 5 minutes till the times up! We do it despite knowing the work is important. We just don’t want to do the work. We don’t like the work, we don’t like the difficulty level, we don’t know where to start and or we fear failure.
Difficulty to any situation can be changed when you change your perspective! If you prepare and learn the material the strain on that situation decreases. To solve any problem, you have to ask why? The, “Why” is often the main reason to why a procrastinator can’t follow through. The whole task is often a big blob of confusion to the procrastinator. They don’t know where to start. As I always say, start by research! Open the internet and just type in that subject. Then break down your work. If the work is broken down to smaller tasks with an estimated time attached to each task then the overall work becomes easier.
Yes, I know you think if you are not interested in doing the work now at this very second then the quality of your work will be poor. Let me tell you a big truth, your motivation does not define quality of the work you put out. Just because you are waiting a day, a week and a month doesn’t mean the value of the work somehow will turns out to be perfect. It’s a mistake! What you are actually afraid of is failure, that’s why you are postponing. You fear of being criticized and judged for work you are not too confident about. To build confidence you have to know your material and that’s where research tags once again.
We take procrastinating as a day to day light term but it isn’t! If it becomes a habit then it has its share of health implications. Indicators display 20% of people are chronic procrastinators. These people don’t pay their bills on time, and never go to their doctor’s appointment. Telling a chronic procrastinator to buy a planner is like telling a smoker to quit today! These people suffer from anxiety, depression, guilt and low-self-esteem.
Start that very important task today!