Why am I procrastinating? Admit it, it’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at least once in our lives, or maybe 50 times. I’m not proud to admit that I procrastinate a lot, but let’s face it, if procrastination was a sport in the olympics, I would take the gold. I’ve deferred exams, been late to work, interviews, you name it, I’ve probably done it because I procrastinated. So what exactly is procrastination?
In psychological terms, it’s replacing important chores or tasks with less important chores or tasks, or even doing something else to what you’re meant to be doing, and recieving some form of joy from it. Here’s an example; you have a huge essay to write, but you can’t write it because there is too much clutter in your room, so you clean it. After cleaning you realise it’s lunch time, and decide to find something to eat, simply because you want to be able to have the energy to write your essay. Once you look in the cupboard for some food you can see that you have nothing to eat. You leave the house to get food, either do the grocery shopping or get some fast food. After you’ve eaten you then realise that you have no clean clothes to go to work or school tomorrow, so you get up and do the laundry instead of your essay. You then say, well I might as well clean up the rest of the house. After cleaning up the house, you see it’s dinner time so you have dinner. Your so tired after cleaning the house today and getting out of the house, that you decide to relax by having a shower. After your shower you see that it’s 10pm at night and decide to go to bed so you can get up extra early to do your essay that you have avoided doing all day.
The point is, procrastination is anything that is counter productive to what you’re trying to achieve. So in order to combat our counter productiveness, we must first take responsibility for our actions. Recognise when you’re procrastinating and avoiding a task. Literally say to yourself, “Do I need to do this right now, or can it be something that I can do later on? Is it a high priority right now?” If you do this, you’re acknowledging with yourself that whether or not that task is important.
Next you should plan ahead. If you need to do exercise such as going for a run, plan ahead and find a part in your day you know you’re not going to be distracted. I do mine in the morning, before I check any e-mails or have breakfast. I literally jump out of bed, get changed and go. I try not to leave myself the opportunity to sway from my running routine because I find that I will never get around to it.
Make a list of things you need to do, and even set yourself a time frame if you feel the need. Say from 8am to 10am you need to complete the tasks of putting on the washing, have breakfast and go for a run. Then from 10am to 12pm you need to vacuum, put the washing in the dryer, iron, fold up and have lunch. You don’t need to do this exactly, but it’s a great way to set yourself some goals for the day and really get ahead.
When you’ve completed something important, such as an assignment or study for an exam, reward yourself. You can reward yourself with going out to a movie or buying a new piece of clothing.
Now that you know a few ways to deal with your procrastination, get back to what ever it is your supposed to be doing!