You have a test soon but, instead of studying, you surf on the Internet and waste a lot of time watching videos of kittens. You know you still have to write a report but instead, you rather change your laptop’s wallpaper. There are an infinite number of situations where we postpone our tasks. If you identify yourself in some of these situations, then we welcome you to the world of procrastination.

We all have inside a procrastinator that keeps us from spending our time and efforts on those things that are really important. Taking it down is no so easy and it needs of a great willpower.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is avoiding or consciously and systematically postponing those tasks we find unpleasant or uncomfortable. Important tasks get replaced with tasks less important but that we find more pleasant to do.

Although it is commonly believed to be laziness and sluggishness, procrastination is actually a symptom of not knowing how to properly manage our time. It overestimates the time you have to do a task or, on the contrary, it underestimates the time you need to finish it. Any excuse will do to leave for tomorrow.

What’s the reason?

There is not a single one to procrastinate. It’s a very complex phenomenon and it has different cause-effect relations depending on the people it affects. Generally speaking, we could say that lack of motivation is one of the main causes as we always postpone those tasks we find more unpleasant.

The most common profiles of a procrastinator are:

  1. Excessive self-confidence. We have a false feeling of self-control and confidence so we postpone our work as we have still plenty of time. When deadlines are close, the procrastinator is able to do the job and hand it in under schedule. It the procrastinator obtains a good result, this situation is likely to continue in time although it builds more stress and anxiety.
  2. We want to do everything so perfect that we end up being afraid of finishing tasks as we think it’s not as good as expected and, therefore, we lose motivation.
  3. Low tolerance to frustration. We are afraid of ending up overwhelmed and to feel bad about it so we postpone our work.
  4. Too much activity. We enjoy coming up with ideas but never really put them into place as we are too busy thinking about new ideas so we are never able to do anything of what we said we would do.

Fighting procrastination back is not easy, but learning how to manage our time might be the first step towards an improved personal and professional life. Having the right tools can help us motivate ourselves and achieve our goals by forgetting about last minute stress.

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Image: Nessima El Qorchi

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