Do you find yourself postponing tasks often? Are you the type to push off working on an assignment until the last minute? Procrastination is one of the biggest challenges that hinder productivity. It prevents people from making the best of their time, significantly affecting their efficiency.
Considering this, people need to find ways to avoid such behavior. However, doing this can be challenging. Here are some helpful tips to ease your way and slowly learn how to avoid procrastination.
Reasons Why People Procrastinate
Procrastination is the habit of delaying or avoiding tasks regardless of consequences. People who procrastinate tend to hold off working on essential or challenging tasks. Instead, they gravitate towards simpler, less critical, or more fun responsibilities.
However, it is critical to understand that procrastination is more than laziness or simple poor time management skills. Research states that this behavior occurs as a form of self-sabotage and is influenced by demotivating psychological factors.
In simple terms, one of the reasons people procrastinate is because of anxiety, as well as fear of failure and humiliation. People struggle to find the motivation to work because they are scared of making mistakes and being humiliated for doing so.
But there are other reasons why people procrastinate. Internal and external factors help explain why people tend to brush off work despite its negative consequences. With that, here are some of the most common reasons why people procrastinate.
While some people find this unlikely, thoughts and feelings of low self-esteem contribute to a person’s likelihood of procrastinating. According to a recent study, people who deal with anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem are more likely to procrastinate.
Under this circumstance, procrastination becomes a chronic behavior stemming from self-deprecating thoughts, often questioning their worth and capabilities to accomplish a certain task.
Many believe that perfectionism is a positive trait, especially in the workforce. However, the persistent desire to achieve perfect results at the highest standard can push people to procrastinate.
Behind the advantages of perfectionism is the looming fear of failure. So, perfectionists tend to procrastinate to avoid disappointment and humiliation when faced with an impossible task or an unrealistic expectation.
Another internal factor that contributes to procrastination is problems related to focusing. Research shows a strong link between an individual’s capacity to stay focused for long periods and procrastination. It takes into account people with certain health issues, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
According to recent reports, roughly 4% of adults meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Considering this, circumstances like this can explain people’s trouble with focusing, thus leading to procrastination.
How Procrastination Affects Productivity
Knowing why people procrastinate is the first step. Next is to understand how procrastination affects productivity and work efficiency. Here is a brief overview of how procrastination affects and prevents productivity.
Poor use of time
One of the most notable effects of procrastination regarding productivity is the poor use of time. Typically, people are given a task, project, or assignment ahead of time and with enough leeway.
But when people procrastinate, they don’t efficiently use the time given to them. Instead of starting immediately once a task is assigned, they tend to focus on simpler, less stressful, and even less urgent responsibilities. While some people don’t have any problem as long as their tasks are accomplished within the deadline, procrastinating is still not the best use of one’s time.
Aside from that, procrastinating can lead to missed opportunities. You’ll likely miss some possibilities when you’re occupied with a project for long periods. It can be as simple as a family gathering you won’t have time to get to or a major project that could’ve boosted your position and career.
Higher levels of stress
Stress is a serious hindrance to productivity. When people feel pressured and stressed, it becomes harder to focus on the critical tasks at hand. Unfortunately, procrastination puts people in a high-tension and stressful situation.
When people procrastinate, they push off tasks as late as possible. Typically, within a couple of days or hours of the deadline. And as they are further pressed for time, they become more stressed.
Experiencing higher stress levels when trying to meet deadlines makes it even more challenging to focus. This also opens opportunities to make critical mistakes, inconsistencies, and poor decisions, leading to lousy output.
Ineffective team and collaborative work
Procrastination can be a harmful habit, especially regarding team or collaborative work. When you’re cutting work too close to deadlines, there is still a possibility that you won’t be able to finish everything on time.
Delays like this will not only negatively affect your team’s productivity and efficiency but can also nurture negative feelings such as resentment and frustration.
Helpful Tips To Avoid Procrastination
Now that you know why people procrastinate and how it affects productivity, let’s look into the tips, tricks, and strategies to prevent it.
Get rid of distractions
One of the reasons why people tend to procrastinate is because they are surrounded by distractions that keep them from focusing on what’s important. To help deal with this, knowing how to effectively manage your distractions is essential.
If you’re quick to be distracted by your mobile phone, set it to “silent” or “do not disturb” when working. You can also place your phone far away from your work area so that you won’t be tempted to check on it so often.
Speaking of workspace, you can also build a separate and isolated work area to minimize distractions. Aside from that, try to keep clutter to a minimum to prevent you from being sidetracked or distracted by something within your immediate space.
If you’re the type to be distracted by other tasks and responsibilities, such as chores, try to accomplish as much as you can before turning yourself in for work. Doing this will help you stop worrying about tasks you feel needs to be urgently done.
Create a routine and system
Another problem procrastinators often need help with is the feeling of being lost or disorganized. When this happens, people tend to settle down to the most straightforward and least stressful activity, such as lying down and wasting time on the couch.
One way to prevent this is to establish a daily routine to help you stay on top of what needs to be done. Time management strategies such as blocking and the eat-the-frog method suit this purpose. Time blocking allows people to set specific periods for certain activities, while the eat-the-frog helps identify and rank tasks based on priority.
From there, strive to follow your schedule and accomplish each task within the allotted time. Soon enough, this routine will become natural, and you’ll be able to stop yourself from procrastinating.
Focus on the goals, not the outcome
Perfectionism is one of the primary reasons why people procrastinate. Because of the fear of failure and humiliation, people lose their motivation and thus push off working on their tasks as soon as possible.
The pressure of constantly coming up with perfect results can be overwhelming. To help with this, people can shift their focus from achieving ideal outcomes to simply meeting the set goals for the specific task or project. The idea is to focus on the goal and its impact rather than fixating on the tiniest details of your work.
The goal is to reorient your priorities to relieve the pressure of perfectionism. Aside from that, shifting focus to achieving goals allows you to draw satisfaction from the impact of your work.
Procrastination is a critical issue people often face. Losing the drive and motivation to work can significantly kill your productivity and efficiency. Also, wasting precious time can affect your life and career in the long term.
Considering this, people must know more about procrastination and how to deal with it successfully. To do this, the first step is to learn why people procrastinate. Research suggests that procrastination is not simply laziness. Instead, it is rooted in much more complex human conditions such as anxiety and perfectionism.
Aside from that, people must also know how procrastination can affect their productivity. While some think that there is no harm done as long as tasks are completed within the given time frame, it is essential to know that chronic procrastination can harm more than just your work life but also your personal life.
Lastly, people should understand that fixing their chronic procrastination will not be easy. It will be a journey that they should slowly maintain to become a habit and lifestyle. Overcoming procrastination will increase your productivity and boost your drive and motivation.
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