Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? Wait a minute, that's not how the saying goes. Are you a procrastinator? If you are, there are a number of possible reasons. There are also some consequences when you procrastinate. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to overcome procrastination.
Why do people procrastinate?
Procrastination is common in those that are perfectionists. If a perfectionist is working on a task, they may believe that the task won’t be finished to their unrealistic standards. So, they put it off.
For other procrastinators, they’re too easily distracted. If they get thrown off track easily, they may have a difficult time staying on task.
For some, the task at hand may just seem too overwhelming. If there’s a really big job that just seems like it's too much to handle, some people will put it off until later or find other things to do to keep them busy.
What are the consequences of procrastination?
It's no surprise that there are significant consequences when people procrastinate. A student who procrastinates rather than working on a big project or studying for a final exam may have difficulty passing their classes.
In the working world, procrastination may mean that you’re unable to meet your deadlines, which could result in career challenges or even possible termination.
Procrastination and the stress associated with it can lead to serious medical issues. If you ignore certain symptoms and put off going to the doctor, your health may suffer. Small issues have a way of becoming bigger ones if you avoid getting them checked out.
Try these strategies for overcoming procrastination:
1. Stop living in denial. If you’re a procrastinator, it’s necessary to accept it. Otherwise, you’re unable to address the issue and work on overcoming it.
2. Think about what your procrastination is costing you. Are you struggling in school? Is your procrastination putting your job at risk? Do you have a million things to do around the house that just aren't getting done? If you stop and think about the consequences of procrastination, it may give you the motivation to work on ways to fix it.
3. Make a list and prioritize. Make a list of tasks that you want to complete and put them in order of importance. Sometimes we put things off simply because we don't want to deal with them.
• Go through your list and check each one off as you complete it. Focus on doing just one task at a time and when you're done with one, you can move on to the next.
• Include something fun on your to-do list. Use it as a reward for finishing the important tasks. Just ensure that you prioritize and put the more important things ahead of the fun one.
4. Break things down into their component parts. Many tasks seem overwhelming because they are big, daunting tasks. Break your to-do list into bite-sized chunks and each step will seem less intimidating.
5. Eliminate distractions. There are distractions all around us, all the time. You may be in the middle of a project when the telephone rings, or someone interrupts your workflow to ask you a question. You may feel compelled to check your e-mail or answer that text message that just came in.
• If you can put all other things aside until you cross a few items off of your list, this will help tremendously in your effort to beat procrastination.
These tips can be very helpful, as long as you’re willing to try them. Make a to-do list, put things in order of priority, and schedule a little "me time" by putting some fun things on your list as a reward. Get started now!