Are you one of the 20% of adults who admitted they are chronic procrastinators and desire to overcome the unhealthy attitude? If yes, you are right on time as we shall be discussing the nine effective ways to stop procrastinating.
But before we get to the solutions, it’s important to know the meaning, causes, and adverse effects of procrastination on your career and health.
What Is Procrastination
Procrastination is the act of postponing events and tasks to the last minute due to laziness or lack of motivation.
It means delaying important tasks for no genuine reason despite knowing the negative consequences of your action.
The famous author Napoleon Hill describes it as a bad habit of postponing what should have been done “a day before yesterday to the day after tomorrow.”
Causes Of Procrastination
While some people claim to be more productive under pressure, most people can’t identify why they procrastinate.
It’s alright to be in the second category; you are not alone in the unwanted situation. Famous individuals we celebrate today were once in your shoes before their breakthrough.
Kindly pay attention to the eight causes of procrastination listed below, and identify the ones that resonate with you.
- Fear of Failure:
Also known as imposter syndrome, this is one of the reasons why many people procrastinate. They are scared of failing their primary assignment, thus postponing it until the last minute when there are no options.
- Lack of Motivation:
Lack of motivation and interest is another reason people delay a major task to the eleventh hour. Imagine being in a situation where your boss ordered you to complete a boring and unprofitable project.
How would you react to such a command? You won’t be motivated to complete it as soon as possible. If you aren’t careful enough, you might even deliver after the deadline because there’s no motivation.
- Project Complexity and Difficulty:
Project complexity and magnitude could lead to procrastination because you don’t know where to start or how to handle it. You always feel overwhelmed whenever you remember the huge pending assignment.
- Poor Time Management Skills:
A large number of procrastinators have poor time management. They rarely do the right thing at the right time.
Instead, they consume energy and time on less productive events, thinking there is much time to complete the important tasks before the deadline.
It’s easy to get distracted in today’s digital era due to many attention-grabbing social media platforms, gaming apps, and other entertaining software.
Only a few people can resist the persistent urge to follow trending topics on Twitter, watch short IG stories, react to LinkedIn posts, and spend a little time on their favorite YouTube channels.
While technological advancement is a welcome development, these apps cause a loss of concentration and distractions.
- Inability To Leave Their Comfort Zone:
Many people delay tasks or projects that will take them out of their comfort zone. They prefer looking for someone to handle challenging tasks because they aren’t suitable for projects that require sacrificing comfort and pleasure.
Stress is a common reason many 9-5 workers and some freelancers procrastinate. Having handled different duties at their office, they are always tired and overwhelmed to tackle other domestic chores at home.
- Doubt and Low Self-esteem
Doubts in one’s competence and ability to produce applaudable outcomes often result in procrastination.
You will always postpone tasks due to fear of failing and little faith in your potential and ability.
Six Adverse Effects Of Procrastination
Below are common negative effects of procrastination:
- Reduced Productivity:
Procrastinators often experience reduced productivity because they spend their time on unproductive activities such as surfing the internet, watching online movies, and chatting.
Their inability to focus on important things will lead to a massive decrease in productivity because the tasks will pile up and become more challenging to manage.
- Increased Stress and Anxiety:
Having spent a chunk of the time on unnecessary events, you will be under pressure to complete many works in a short time.
Unfortunately, anxiety and stress will set in, which could lead to a lack of concentration and poor job delivery.
- Poor Service Delivery or Product:
For instance, two people have twenty hours to complete ten tasks. The first guy completes each project every two hours.
But as a chief procrastinator, you consume the first 15 hours chatting with friends and watching a newly-released TV series. You eventually begin the process after all the fun and wasted time.
Who will deliver the best product if all other factors (like experience and expertise) are constant? The first dedicated person who had sufficient time and a comfortable atmosphere.
This scenario perfectly explains how procrastination can affect your work quality.
- Missed Opportunities and Deadline:
Delayed actions could result in missed opportunities. Your inability to do the right thing at the right time might lead to stunted personal and career growth and development.
Thus, your chances of meeting thought leaders and policymakers in your industry would be affected because you fail to take the right step when it matters most.
Similarly, a missed deadline is arguably the most popular disadvantage of procrastination. Taking things for granted and delaying events could lead to missed deadlines which will attract penalties.
You might lose your job, get a half payment for delayed submission, or lose a damaged relationship with your employers and clients.
- Bad Reputation:
Procrastinators are often seen as unorganized and unreliable persons in professional settings.
Your reputation is at stake once your colleagues, boss, and other affiliates know you as a procrastinator. They would hardly offer you big projects due to a lack of faith in your ability to deliver quality work within the set period.
- Health Issues:
Lastly, regular stress and pressure associated with procrastination could take a toll on your physical and mental health.
You could experience deep disturbances, decreased immune function, or mental health problems when you work under intense pressure and stress to beat the deadline.
Nine Ways To Solve Procrastination
Below are some effective solutions to procrastination:
- Identify The Primary Cause
Knowing the root cause of procrastination is the first step to stopping it. We believe you’ve discovered the reasons why you postpone important takes from the causes above.
Having identified the underlying cause, the next line of action is to provide a lasting solution to the problem.
- Create a To-do List with Obtainable Deadlines
Creating a list of tasks and missions to accomplish within a set period will help you overcome procrastination. The most important tasks should come first on the list.
You can equally list the targets based on difficulty. In that case, demanding tasks should come first so you can complete them when your energy is at the top level.
The list must feature a deadline for each task to boost productivity. Ensure it’s clear and easy to understand.
Endeavor to create a to-do list for the next day before going to bed. That way, you can start the first project as early as possible.
- Turn Off All Social Media Notifications
We recommend this solution if social media distraction is the primary cause of procrastination.
Enable the ‘do not disturb’ feature on your smartphone to prevent notifications that could divide your attention.
Install some productivity apps to prevent distractions during working hours and boost your performance.
- Break Big Tasks Into Fragments
Here is the best solution to procrastination caused by a lack of motivation and interest. The thought of completing a demanding task at a go could discourage you from starting at all. Hence, we advise you to break it down into chunks you can achieve within the set time.
- Motivate Yourself
Pep talks and positive affirmations have some roles to play in your quest to overcome procrastination and be more productive.
Also known as self-talk, affirmations like “I can do it,” “I’m productive today,” and “I will achieve everything I put my mind to” can inspire you.
Likewise, rewarding yourself after completing all tasks is another way to motivate yourself.
Purchase any products you’ve always wanted to have, eat a good meal at a nearby restaurant, go shopping, or do anything that would motivate you to crush your daily targets and tasks.
- Have An Accountability Partner
Breaking old habits isn’t as simple as it sounds. It requires massive determination, discipline, and an accountability partner.
An accountability partner will monitor your progress and call you to order whenever you fail to achieve your targets.
You are accountable to your chosen partner, meaning you will always give accounts of what you do and how many tasks you checked off the bucket list.
Your friends can be your accountability partner if you observe the factors to consider when choosing your friends.
- Avoid Perfectionism
As much as quality is a crucial factor, your primary target should be completing the tasks. You can always make a little adjustment to the finished job.
- Have A Conducive Workspace
A conducive, organized, and secluded workspace can help you overcome procrastination by reducing distractions from colleagues or siblings.
Ensure your designated workspace is suitable and convenient for the work or project to be done. Sufficient light, green plants, arts, or paintings are some features of a good workspace.
I advise you remove your phone from your workspace if you can’t resist the urge to check the internet. If possible, your phone and other destructive devices should be out of sight throughout your busy period.
- Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself After Procrastinating
As mentioned earlier, breaking bad habits takes time. It’s a gradual process that requires patience and determination.
Therefore, don’t be too hard on yourself if you procrastinate at some point. Instead, get back to the task and promise to do better next time.
This approach will prevent anger and emotional stress that could affect your countenance and health in the long run.
Procrastination is a common word that resonates with everyone regardless of profession and career. The temptation is so strong that only a few people can resist and overcome it.
However, you can win the battle against procrastination with the tips above. Start your tasks early, avoid phone distractions, create an organized to-do list, and have a dedicated accountability partner.
Don’t forget that discipline is a significant quality you must possess to replace bad habits with a good ethic and superior mindset.