Procrastination is a well-known phenomenon that affects most of us. It is the tendency to put off tasks that need to be done.
There are people for whom procrastination is a disruption to life. Procrastination can influence:
- a person’s social status,
- negatively affecting one’s financial situation.
It can take different forms, such as:
→ spending time on social networks instead of working,
→ putting off writing an important report
→ or not doing the necessary shopping for the week.
In addition, procrastinators avoid, delaying things for later. This is how the vicious cycle of stress and procrastination continues to spin.
In this article, we will examine what processes underlie the phenomenon of procrastination and offer some effective strategies for overcoming procrastination.
2. How does it work?
Thinking about a task you don’t want to do or can’t do causes great anxiety.
Procrastination provides some short-term relief, but the thought of the work you’ve put off lingers in the back of your mind and doesn’t allow you to rest.
Continuous pressure quickly affects your health – irritability, inattention, headaches, insomnia – these are just some of the effects of task delay. The situation is even worse if procrastination occurs as a result of ADHD, neurosis or depression.
3. What causes procrastination?
Procrastination can be caused by a variety of factors. Among them:
Poor time management (inadequate planning)
Sometimes people procrastinate simply because they haven’t planned their time well and feel overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do.
They may need a more effective time management strategy to help them stay on track.
Lack of concentration
Some people may find it difficult to focus on a task due to environmental distractions or internal problems, such as anxiety or depression. Procrastination refers to a short-term benefit of avoiding these difficulties.
Lack of interest/motivation
It can be difficult to get motivated to do something that doesn’t seem interesting or doesn’t have any immediate benefit. When people lack intrinsic motivation to do something, it can be easier to procrastinate.
Fear of failure or criticism can be a major reason why some people procrastinate. They may be afraid that their work is not good enough or that they will not live up to the expectations of others, which may cause them to put off or avoid the task altogether.
People who have very high standards for themselves may tend to procrastinate because they want to make sure their work is perfect before they hand it in. This can take longer than necessary and prevent them from completing the task on time.
These causes of procrastination can be associated with individual differences in personality, life experiences and cognition, as well as environmental factors such as work demands or family obligations.
It can be helpful for each person to identify the specific causes of their procrastination so that they can find effective strategies to overcome it.
Did you know?
Research by psychologist Fuschia Sirois shows that regular procrastination can be associated with a variety of mental and physical health problems, such as depression, colds or even cardiovascular disease.
4. Let’s work out these various issues together
Procrastination & ADHD
Can ADHD be the cause of procrastination? People with ADHD have difficulty planning their activities, concentrating and performing complex or tedious tasks. This is the reason why they are quickly irritated, tend to forget different and even daily issues and find it difficult to remember important dates.
The drawbacks of ADHD can contribute to procrastination.
Cognitive behavioral therapy could help. It facilitates the elimination of errors and introduces correct behavior facilitating better time management.
Anxiety & Procrastination
Anxiety neurosis can be another reason for putting things away.
People who suffer from it feel a permanent restlessness.
- Worry about their own health,
- their safety
- their family takes up a lot of their time
They don’t have enough time to do anything else. This also contributes to procrastination.
How can we be sure that anxiety is the cause?
It manifests itself as :
- cardiac arrhythmia,
- excessive sweating.
Medication and psychotherapy may help to treat anxiety. In addition, it is also important to try to divert the mind from negative thoughts.
Procrastination & depression
Depression is a very serious illness in which the brain stops functioning rationally due to chemical changes that occur within it. A depressed person has:
- a significant thymic decline,
- overwhelmed by sadness,
- mental fatigue and hopelessness.
The characteristic feature is the lack of willpower and the lack of energy and ability to carry out the most basic operations.
To friends and family, who have never suffered from depression before; such behavior can be completely incomprehensible. It is often distinguished as apathy or laziness. Sometimes people respond to depression by saying “Get a grip!”
However, depression should not be ignored. It is necessary to seek professional help and begin treatment methods, which usually involve medication, sometimes in the form of individual sessions with a psychotherapist or group therapy.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder & Procrastination
Le trouble obsessionnel-compulsif est étroitement lié à la dépression et à l’anxiété.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is closely related to depression and anxiety.
This type of dysfunction does not allow you to feel satisfied with your task even if it has been completed well.
It is a feeling slightly similar to excessive perfectionism. There is always something to improve. Nothing is as perfect as it should be.
A person with OCD accumulates negative feelings and thoughts, which are accompanied by feelings of helplessness and repetitive reflex actions (e.g., cleaning, stacking or exchanging objects, washing hands or teeth, etc.). All of this limits the person and does not allow them to deal with problems that should be dealt with.
These disorders are treated in the same way – with appropriate medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, group work, etc.
Procrastination in a tired person
Lack of sleep, abundance of tasks, responsibilities and short-term stress lead to serious health problems.Woman who sleeps on the desk
Symptoms of fatigue include:
- exhaustion in the middle of the day and in unexpected circumstances,
- lack of energy
- difficulty paying attention.
Fatigue is apparently less serious than the dysfunctions mentioned above, but its neglect can lead to serious consequences:
La fatigue est apparemment moins grave que les dysfonctionnements mentionnés précédemment, mais sa négligence peut entraîner des conséquences graves :
- autoimmune diseases (diabetes mellitus, Hashimoto’s, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.),
- myocardial infarction,
Sometimes, to avoid fatigue, it is enough to learn to assert oneself and to delegate tasks to other people. In addition, when the body is exhausted, it is important to give priority to comfort and the opportunity to regenerate – maintain a healthy and balanced diet, exercise and ensure a sufficient amount of sleep.
5. Identify solutions
The first thing to do? Identify the reasons for this paralyzing defect.
It is imperative in this case to answer the following questions:
→ Why do I procrastinate and put things off?
→ What kind of things can I put off?
→ What deters me from doing them?
→ Do I have time to accomplish important tasks?
→ Maybe there’s another reason I don’t want to do them?
The Power of Planning
Planning can be a powerful tool to combat procrastination.
By breaking tasks down into smaller steps, it becomes easier to accomplish them. It is also helpful to set clear deadlines for each step, so that you have a clear vision of the task’s progress.
It is important to be realistic in your planning, taking into account time constraints and other tasks to be accomplished.
The importance of motivation
Motivation is a key element in overcoming procrastination. It is important to find compelling reasons to accomplish a task, such as long-term benefits or personal satisfaction.
By focusing on these reasons, it becomes easier to motivate yourself to start and continue the task at hand. It can also be helpful to give yourself rewards for each step you take, such as a break or a treat.
Effective time management is another important element in overcoming procrastination. It is important to set clear priorities and work on the most important tasks first.
It is also important to take regular breaks to avoid fatigue and stress.
It can be helpful to plan relaxing or leisure activities to recharge between tasks.
Procrastination can be a frustrating and discouraging obstacle. However, there are effective strategies for overcoming it.
By planning effectively, focusing on motivation, and managing your time efficiently, it is possible to overcome procrastination and accomplish the necessary tasks.
Ultimately, the key is to stay motivated and keep a clear vision of the goal.