What Makes You Procrastinate

Though it is normal for people to procrastinate to some degree, it certainly cost some of our valuable time. While procrastinating, we end up doing the less urgent tasks or something enjoyable instead of more urgent ones. By delaying, we end up with inadequate time to finish the job properly.

Studies show that procrastination is strongly related to our disliking for a task or self-doubt about ability to perform a task. We often say to ourselves “I am not ready to do it properly right now”.

Procrastination adds up stress and guilt to our life, damaging to our social relationships. People who rely on us, such as friends, family-members, co-workers or other, lose their faith when we fail to commit repeatedly. Feeling of guilt and shame lower our self-esteem, leading to further procrastination.

According to Dr. Ferrari a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, 20 percent of U.S. men and women are chronic procrastinators. Normal functioning of life gradually becomes very difficult for a chronic procrastinator, which may lead to other psychological disorders.

Sometimes, perfectionism can lead to procrastination but not always. Perfectionists often believe that if they can’t do a task perfectly, they won’t do it at all. So even when they fail to meet a deadline, they reassure themselves that they maintain high quality by not doing imperfect work. They fail to understand that the world is not perfect and putting high value on all of their work is unnecessary. It would only add up a huge burden which no life should carry.

We often mistakenly believe that procrastination is caused by our laziness, low willpower, and low ambition. The truth is, willpower and ambition has little to do with it.

We fall in trap of procrastination mostly because of three wrong assumptions:

  • Wrong about the time frame,
  • Overemphasis on motivation,
  • Wrong about our ability

Wrong about the time frame

Sometimes we are not careful enough to assign adequate time for our project or impending task. We think that we have plenty of time left by making an unwise guess about the time needed. We do not consider that it may actually take longer or we may have some other work to do within that time frame, which was not considered previously.

For example, assume that you have been given a project which has a deadline after two weeks. You assume that it only takes three days to finish that task. You decide to work on it for three days before the deadline date. But often you will find that, at deadline, you just needed one more day to do a perfect job. At other times you will find that you also have some other things to be done in those three days that you did not consider previously. In both cases there is a rush and the project is not done well enough. But if you had started earlier the problem would not arise at all.

Overemphasis on motivation

We often put too much emphasis on being in the right frame of mind to do a job, especially if it is difficult or unpleasant. We tend to delay the task with an underlying belief that in the future we will be more motivated to make the job done. In most cases that positive frame of mind never come and even the simplest task is left to be done on deadline day.

Chores like cleaning up your room or arranging your desk has nothing to do with right frame of mind. In fact, if the task is unpleasant - delay will make it even more unpleasant.

Wrong about our ability

Whenever we have self-doubt in our mind the task seems bigger and more complicated than it really is. We are wrongly unsure about our ability. So we try to delay it, consciously or subconsciously, hoping for help or increased capability.

When it comes to large, complicated assignments we procrastinate because our task is undefined or poorly defined. We are not sure about where to start, how to start, the resource at our disposal to complete the task, how to break down a complicated job into smaller segments.

Instead of spending too much time pondering on the aforementioned points we should get right to it and tackle the assignment. Because when we start, we gain an insight into what needs to be done and assure ourselves of our ability to successfully complete the task.

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