Procrastination is the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline. Some researches define procrastination as a “form of self-regulation failure characterized by the irrational delay of tasks despite potentially negative consequences. No matter how well-organized and committed your are, chances are that you have found yourself frittering away hours on trivial pursuits (watching television, updating your Facebook status, shopping online) when you should have been spending that time on work or school-related projects. Whether you’re putting off finishing a project for work, avoiding homework assignments, or ignoring household chores, procrastination can have a major impact on your job, your grades and your life.
In most cases, procrastination is not a sign of a serious problem. It’s a common tendency that most people give in to at some point or another.
Remember that time that you thought you had a week left to finish a project that was really due the next day? How about the time you decided not to clean up your apartment because you “didn’t feel like doing it right now?’
We often assume that projects won’t take as long to finish as they really will, which can lead to a false sense of security when we believe that we have plenty of time to complete these tasks. One of the biggest factors contributing to procrastinating is the notion that we have to feel inspired or motivated to work on a tasks at a particular moment. The reality is that if you wait until you’re in the right frame of mind to do certain tasks (especially undesirable ones), you will probably find that the right time simply never comes along and the tasks never gets completed.
The following are the few factors that cause procrastination
Researchers suggest that procrastination can be particularly pronounced among students. A 2001 meta analysis published in the Psychological Bulletin found that a whopping 80% to 95% of college students procrastinated on the regular basis, particular when it came to completing assignments and course-work.
- Overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks
- Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future
- Underestimate how long certain activities will take to complete
- Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project
Procrastination can also be result of depression. Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, ad a lack of energy can make it difficult to start the simple tasks. Depression can also lead to self-doubt. When you can’t figure out how to tackle a project or feel insecure about your abilities, you might find it easier to put it off and working on other tasks.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Procrastination is also pretty common in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. One reason is that OCD is often linked with mal-adaptive, unhealthy perfectionism, which causes fears about making new mistakes, doubts about whether you are doing something correctly, and worry over other’s expectation ofyou.
People with OCD also often have a propensity toward in-decision, causing them to procrastinate rather than make a decision.
Many adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) struggle with procrastination. When you’re so distracted by outside stimuli, as well as internal thoughts, it can be hard to get started on a task, especially if that task is difficult or not interesting in you.
Negative impact on procrastination
It is only in cases where procrastination becomes chronic and begins to have a serious impact on a person’s daily life that it becomes a more serious issue. In such instances, it’s not just a matter of having poor time management skills, it’s a major part of their lifestyle. Perhaps they pay their bills late, don’t start work on big projects until the night before the deadline, delay gift shopping until the day before a birthday, and even file their income tax returns late. Unfortunately, this procrastination can have a serious impact on a number of life areas, including a person’s mental health and social, professional and financial well-being.
- Higher level of stress and illness
- Increased burden placed on social relationships
- Resentment from friends, family, co-workers and fellow student
- Consequences of delinquent bills and income tax returns
Tips for procrastination
Fortunately, there are a number of different things you can do the fight procrastination and start getting things done on time.
- Make a to-do list: To help to keep you on track, ,consider placing a due date next to each item.
- Take baby steps: Break down the items on your list into small, manageable steps so that your tasks don’t seem so overwhelming.
- Recognize the warming signs: Pay attention to any thoughts of procrastination and do your best to resist the urge. If you begin to think about procrastinating, force yourself to spend a few minutes working on your tasks.
- Eliminate distraction: Ask yourself what pulls your attention away the most-whether Instagram, Facebook updates, or the local news-and turn off those sources of distraction.
- Pat yourself on the back: When you finish an item on your to-do list on time, congratulate yourself and reward yourself by indulging in something you find fun.