Procrastination is unfortunately something that a lot of us suffer from regularly, whether it's just an occasional ‘put off ‘til tomorrow' or a recurrent lack of drive and motivation. Procrastination can often hold us back from what we really want in life, and unfortunately, it's something that can crop up at any time of life, no matter who you are. A lot of people often assume that procrastination is simply being lazy, but this isn't always the case. Often, feelings of tiredness, hopelessness, panic or even depression can cause us to put things off and avoid reality completely.
Procrastination is a trap, and once we've fallen in it can be very difficult to get back out, so why do we do it? Well for many people, procrastination is simply a way of coping with emotions and physical symptoms that often come with depression, often caused by panic. The unfortunate truth is that often, a ‘snowballing' effect can happen, you may be stressed and under pressure at work, then causing you to panic, which may then trigger depression which in turn can make thing very difficult for you to do. However it happened, it's important you get out of it, otherwise you may find that nothing will ever get done because you're too miserable and negative to bring yourself to do it.
There are 5 main ‘style's of procrastination, you may feel that you fall under one mains style, or a mixture.
- Organization and keeping track of things is very difficult
- You fear people disapprove of you, or fear disapproval itself
- Important tasks seem futile, and so overwhelming it feels stupid to even attempt them
- Hostile feelings towards someone, and punishing them by putting things off
- Routines and Schedules cause you to feel rebellious
These styles of procrastination can often also overlap in one of four different themes: Self Doubt, Discomfort Dodging, Guilt Driven and Habitual. Self Doubt is people who feel that there are rigid standards about how certain things need to be done and often fear they will fail, they often second guess themselves and will delay taking action against procrastinating. Discomfort dodging is when a person will avoid activities that will cause them anxiety, discomfort or even distress, however, often by dodging the activity, feelings and tension don't go away, and instead mount due to the avoidance. Guilt driven people often feel extreme guilt when tasks go done, but instead of acting on their guilt and working, they instead procrastinate, avoiding the issue and the guilt completely. And finally, Habitual people are people who have found procrastination to be an automatic response within their lives, they have put things off so often, that they feel it is just a part of them now, and there is nothing they can do to change it.
But there are things you can do to change it, and get out of your procrastination cycle once and for all. The first thing is a simple idea, but it works all the same – make a list! It sounds ridiculous, but it does actually work. Just go to your local stationary store and get yourself a large notebook, and make lists and plans for yourself to stick to, prioritize everything on your list in order of importance, and allocate times for these tasks to be done (1 hour, 2 hours etc). The key to battling procrastination is organization, by allocating specific times; you're ensuring that you have enough time to do everything and get it done! If a task is particularly big, then split it up into manageable time slots, making sure that progress is steady, and you're not giving yourself too much to do.
However, you also need to create some time for yourself, or ‘reward time'. Reward time gives you an incentive to get things done, because you know once it's done you can have a break and reward yourself for your hard work. Procrastination is a tough mountain to climb, but once you reach the top you're free to reap the rewards of an organized, healthy and happy lifestyle, as well as the true relief and satisfaction that comes with having nothing weighing you down!