All of us have postponed more than once tasks that we did not want to do and replaced by another unimportant activity. Despite this, procrastination can be a complex and multi-causal concept. A study from psychology shows that it can cause anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression.
If you want to know more about this trend and how to prevent and address it, In this article we will tell you how to stop procrastinating and get work done. Here you will find what this concept means and different psychological tips to prevent it from becoming a common habit in our lives. Find out in detail how to leave procrastination behind!
What is procrastination in psychology
What is procrastination? In order to fully understand the term, we proceed to expose its meaning, as well as the reasons why it happens and the consequences of procrastination. We will also differentiate the types that exist.
Meaning of procrastinating in psychology has its etymological origin in Latin; pro is forward and crastinus refers to the future. Procrastination is the action of postponing or postponing activities and situations for others that are more pleasant, even if they are irrelevant. Through this act there is an evasion of responsibility or action making use of other tasks that serve as a refuge and an excuse.
Two different levels can be distinguished in procrastination :
Eventual : refers to people who do not delay regularly, but on a timely basis.
Chronic : the second to those that do it constantly and in many different situations.
Causes of Procrastination
Among the causes of procrastination, the most common that have been identified are the following:
Self-regulation and proper time management difficulties : inability to delay immediate gratification and low tolerance for frustration, as well as difficulties in time organization may be at the base of the tendency to postpone.
Fear of failure and perfectionism : faced with an action that has no guarantee of success and there is the possibility of failure, people may unconsciously try to avoid that moment as a way to protect their self-esteem.
Low self-image and self-concept : irrational beliefs by which people perceive themselves as not very competent and therefore have a tendency to avoid certain activities or actions.
Anxiety : the saturation and accumulation of work can increase the feeling of vulnerability and the development of catastrophic thoughts, so it is possible that people present difficulties in making decisions, insecurity and immobilization.
Perception of the action : if the act to be performed is perceived as overwhelming, difficult, boring or stressful, the chances of procrastination are increased.
Procrastination : it is an evasive behavior that is used as a mechanism to avoid facing a task that produces anxiety or fear, for which another act is carried out that produces temporary relief as a means of escape from stress.
Temporality : time is one of the factors that affect procrastination, so the further the goal is, there is a greater tendency to procrastination, in many cases due to loss of motivation.
Impulsivity : impulsivity and impatience lead to a lack of self – control , which can explain the act of procrastinating.
Types of Procrastination
From the various causes for this postponement, different types of procrastination are distinguished:
Procrastination by avoidance : procrastination is avoidance behavior due to fear of failure or feelings of vulnerability to a task.
Procrastination by activation : refers to the delay until the end or limit, until there is no choice but to perform the task.
Procrastination due to indecision : the person spends an excess of time thinking about how to carry out the task or considers too many options, mentally ruminating in a neurotic way.
Consequences of procrastination
In extreme cases, this evasive attitude can lead to the development of dependence towards these other activities or external elements that fulfill the function of evasion, such as television or mobile phones, sometimes generating addiction.
This trend is present in all population groups. Not only among young people, as has usually been believed due to the existence of the so-called student syndrome, which refers to the phenomenon whereby in the academic field people postpone tasks until the due date. However, this attitude is not limited to the area of studies, but is present in many other spheres of life .
If you wonder How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Work Done, you should know that procrastination is conceived as a volitional problem, that is, related to the will. It is also related to a lack of self-regulation and self-control , as well as difficulties in planning and time management.
For this reason, to stop procrastinating, normally the approach to this tendency to postponement is oriented to work and training of these competences , increasing the organization skills of the person, responsibility and self-motivation.
To stop procrastinating, it is important to incorporate a series of habits into your day-to-day life that prevent or reduce the tendency to procrastinate. Here are a series of tips and strategies to stop procrastinating :
Start the task : The first step in learning how to stop procrastinating is to force yourself to start the task. To facilitate this push, you can add pleasant elements that help overcome that resistance and motivate you, such as playing music. The most difficult thing is the first step, once it is taken it is much easier to continue.
Eliminate distractions : to make it easier to focus on an activity, carry out a stimulus control, whereby those that are tempting or make it difficult to carry out the task are not kept in sight or close. Also try to minimize the possible interruptions that you can foresee. Find out how to improve concentration .
Analyze your work environment : how to stop procrastinating? Continue to evaluate your current work environment and the elements that compose it and try to identify if any of them (disorder, light, etc.) is hindering our activity. It is also good to change your workplace from time to time.
Goal setting : Goal setting using the SMART technique is a good way to avoid procrastination. Its acronym in English suggests that when setting goals, they are specific, measurable, achievable, achievable and time-limited to promote their achievement.
Simplify : one of the elements that can generate this attitude of postponement is a perception of the task to be carried out as overwhelming, difficult and / or heavy, making it larger than it really is. To overcome this perception and increase willpower, it is advisable to divide the objectives to make them smaller, including the steps to be taken in each sub-objective. In this way, those actions and procedures necessary to achieve the goal can be seen more clearly and concretely, just as the initial perception of the task is overcome.
Plan: to avoid procrastination, make use of calendars, lists, timelines and agendas that are visually useful for scheduling the tasks to be carried out based on the objectives and the organization of time. How to stop procrastinating? Monitor and review compliance with your plan on a regular basis.
Schedule breaks: take breaks every x time, for example 45 minutes, while you perform a task, as well as set the time of these breaths. In this way, your perspective of the activity will not be so negative, since you will know in advance that you will be able to take breaks and when they will be.
Manage energy: to stop procrastination, when planning, do not do it solely based on time criteria, analyze yourself and identify at what hours or moments you have more energy or are a more productive person and take this into account when scheduling your day-to-day .
Set limits: put a time limit to finish an obligation and previously set a small reward for finishing on time.
Use apps: there are several mobile applications that can be useful in your goal of stopping procrastination, some of them are Todoist, Quality Time, Corkulous, Stay focused, Time Tune, etc.
Looking for company: how to stop procrastinating? Looking for company since carrying out those tasks that we try to avoid with another person can be an incentive to carry them out, as well as it can promote taking responsibility for the supervision of another person.
Make it public: if you announce to the people in your close circle those tasks that you have to carry out, it is more likely that you feel responsible to fulfill them in the face of other people and feel a little more pressure not to fall into procrastination.
Reflect: spend a few minutes to think and analyze the negative consequences of postponing each of the tasks, the cost of not performing the action is evaluated.
Reward yourself: It is important to include motivation in the process of stopping procrastinating, so reinforce yourself with small rewards that are rewarding. It is advisable to establish the prizes in advance so that it is not an excessive prize or they are too many.
Be flexible: do not treat yourself too harshly if you cannot stop procrastinating in a short time, since it is a process and implies the establishment of habits. Therefore, pay attention to the small advances and progress that you are making.
This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.
That’s all from our side about, How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Work Done.