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Winning The Battle Against Procrastination

January 24, 2022, 4-min. read
Winning the battle against procrastination

You have to deliver a project in a week. One that you really like and feel passionate about. The ambition, motivation, and drive are there. Yet, you find yourself reorganizing your desk, readjusting your calendar, and cleaning the house. Yep, you read well, even cleaning the house. Paradoxically, you convince yourself that if you clean now, you will have more time for the project. Guess what…?  You won’t.

Suddenly the days start passing by and you realize that you haven’t made any progress. Say hi to procrastination. Procrastination is the act of unnecessarily postponing decisions or actions, and despite what most people think, it usually has nothing to do with laziness. Ironic, isn’t it? The avoidance of pressure actually amplifies the pressure. Blame. Unpleasure. Shame. All of these feelings are well-known to a procrastinator. But why does this happen?

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The main psychological mechanism behind procrastination can be explained in 4 steps:

  • We need to do something: our self-control activates to make us do it.

  • Self-control is not enough: motivation gets in the picture to support our self-control to stop us from losing time on distractors.

  • Something goes wrong: when demotivation and other negative factors outweigh our self-control and motivation, we end up procrastinating.

  • Oh no, here we go again: the perception of reality and time gets distorted, so we start to self-regulate our behavior by postponing everything.

Especially when working from home, trying to adapt to a reality known from famous blockbusters, the procrastinator’s problems run deep, and different factors can provoke them:

  • Unclear goals
  • Too much stress & anxiety. Too little energy
  • Fear of judgment, evaluation & failure
  • Lack of motivation & self-control

Working from home can easily provoke a sense of isolation in employees, especially if there are poor communication and a lack of collaboration among the teams. This, added to other factors such as insufficient motivation and a disconnection between the task that they need to perform and the reward that is associated with it, can make that anyone take the highway to procrastination.

A lack of self-control makes people much more likely to procrastinate: browse social media for hours; dedicate crucial working hours to organizing the closet; experimenting in the kitchen all afternoon, while trying to convince themselves that they will get started on their work in a few minutes.

The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to be more productive, engage better with your tasks, and concentrate in such a way that leaves no room for procrastination.

Tips to stop procrastinating

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How to stop procrastinating

1| Identify & recognize the problem

For a procrastinator to become aware that they are procrastinating is already an achievement, but identifying the cause can be a little more tricky. One needs to dig deep when addressing the nature of their problem. Ask yourself:When do I procrastinate? How do I procrastinate? Why do I think that’s happening? By taking the time to identify the core of your procrastination, you can figure out an efficient way to deal with it, instead of leaving everything to chance.

2| Start prioritizing and planning, for real

Prioritize tasks based on how important and urgent they are. Beware of deadlines, recognize the size of your tasks. Once you know what you need to do, you plan and finally act accordingly. Stay clear of vague plans (I will all this stuff this week, next week I’ll do the rest), be specific

3| Cut the pie up

For the well-being of your mental health and the success of your projects, break large and overwhelming tasks into small and actionable pieces, tackle them one at the time, according to the plan.

4| Set realistic deadlines

Apart from deadlines set forth by others or circumstances, setting deadlines and timeframes for yourself serve as a commitment device, they will help you stick to your action plan and motivate yourself. Make your deadlines as concrete as possible.

Do you have any other tricks to avoid procrastination?
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