Dealing with procrastination

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Are you late?

Do you sometimes feel that you are very late when it comes to fulfilling your dreams or reaching your goals? Do you find everyone else around you completing their work before you??

Do you always delay the tasks you have to do until the last minute?

If your answers were yes then you are a definitely a procrastinator. Procrastination won’t only make you feel guilty, lower your self esteem but it will halt your progress in life completely until you find that everyone around you reached what they wanted while you are still in your place.

Dealing with procrastination

Dealing with procrastination requires a deep understanding of its underlying causes. Excuses like "I am not in the mood to start" or "I will begin tomorrow" are not by any means the cause of procrastination but they are just decoys that the person uses in order to make himself feel better when he doesn’t do what he has to do. In the following lines I will try to make the root causes of procrastination more clear so that you can deal with them.

  • Perceived difficulty: Both Procrastinators and non procrastinators think that some tasks are difficult, boring or stressful but the only difference between both is that non procrastinators start immediately then discover that the fears they had were unreal while procrastinators keep visualizing the difficulty of the task without daring to approach it.
  • The sense of security : Procrastinators tend to mistakenly think that they are secure and that they will be able to do the task on time thus they have a false sense of security. While a few of them manage to complete the task in the last few minutes most of them fail to do so and only end up feeling guilty.
  • Waiting for ever: Procrastinators think that non procrastinators start working when they feel like it and so they wait for the right mood before starting but unfortunately this right mood never comes. One of the big differences between non procrastinators and procrastinators is that the first group start working even if they were feeling horrible while the other group keep waiting forever for their moods to change and usually their moods never change.
  • Fear of failure or avoiding the task: Underlying procrastination might lie fear of failure. Procrastinators might not start a task because they fear that they won’t be able to do it successfully, that others will know that they can’t complete it or that their sense of self worth might decrease when they fail to do it.

How to overcome procrastination

In order to overcome procrastination you must understand that it’s a severe personal disorder and not just a time wasting habit. Procrastination might lead to severe depression and disappointment and could even lead to suicide.

After all seeing yourself at the age of 60 without achieving anything in life could really be painful, even though some people can still start at that age, the most suffer from severe depression when they find that their lives were meaningless.

Overcoming procrastination can only be done by doing the following:

  • Stop waiting for the right mood: Understanding that the good mood you are waiting for will never come is crucial to getting over the habit of procrastination. Life isn't easy and you won't always be feeling happy. Depend on your mood to get things done and you will only become productive when you feel like it
  • Stop waiting for the right time: There is nothing called the right time to do a certain thing for the right time is now. People who keep waiting for the so called right time end up wasting time and not getting anything done. See How to stop wasting time
  • Fears grow when you avoid them: Understanding that the fears you have will grow as you wait more can help you stop procrastinating. Some people think that by avoiding the unpleasant tasks they are actually making themselves feel good but the truth is that those bad emotions get stronger then visit them again
  • Understand the consequences: Knowing that depression will definitely visit you if you didn’t stop procrastinating might motivate you to move. As the time passes and you find yourself not making any progress you will certainly become depressed. See What causes depression
  • Productive people just do it: Productive people don't wait for a right mood or a right time to do something but instead they just do the things they have to do even when they don't feel like it. See how to become productive.
  • Deal with the underlying psychological causes:Procrastination has many different psychological causes such as fear of failure, low self esteem and self regulation issues. To end procrastination you must end the root causes as well else the problem is very less likely to be solved

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Want to know more?

How to overcome procrastination?

How to overcome procrastination? (Part II)

How to get things done fast?

How to stop wasting time

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