Procastination is Torture
I am the undisputed Queen of Procrastination.
I have no heirs, as no other procrastinator will get round to seeing me, or organising a coup.
And I hate it, as do all other procrastinators.
Procrastination is a prison. And the key is just, ever so slightly, dangling out of our reach.
I’m not alone in my procrastination prison; apparently 15 to 20% of the population are procrastinators. As children and teens we put off doing what we do not want to do, yet as I am getting older I notice myself and other procrastinate over what will make our lives BETTER.
Take this post in particular, I have wanted to write it for ages, and yet I kept putting it off, and if I’m being honest it wasn’t that it was too much work, but I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.
I also used to drag my heels constantly applying for new jobs, because as much as I want a new job that challenges me, I’d leave every application to the last minute. Every application loomed over me, giant terrifying, fraught with potential for epic mistakes (that would make the human resources team guffaw-oh the pain of imagined humiliation….). It was just overwhelming and in the spirit of absolute candidness, I procrastinate out of fear, fear of rejection.
Other acquaintances put off achieving their goals because it isn’t the ‘right time’, another sets exciting goals but then creates a litany of roadblocks as to why this goal isn’t achievable.
We get in our own way!
Why do we do this to ourselves??
Hara Estroff Marano writing for Psychology Today spoke to Dr Ferrari who identifies three different types of Procrastinators.
Arousal-Those who enjoy the adrenalin and euphoria of the last minute rush.
Avoiders-Those who procrastinate out of a fear of failure or success. That would be ME!
Decisional Procrastinators-Me again! These, as you probably deduced struggle to make a decisions. I’m cursed thinking through all possible options until eventually, I make no decision at all.
Live Science places procrastination firmly in the realm of learned behaviours. Procrastinators are made, not born, and that means they can be unmade, unlearned.
Procrastination can stem from a fear of failure, lack of confidence, indecisiveness, brought up y parents who were too authoritarian.
Having worked out why I (or perhaps we) procrastinate, how can I/we stop it?
I’ve been working on my own procrastination for the last few weeks and here is what I have found to work for me, before trying these for yourself remember: progress not perfection and you will, hopefully, like myself make slow steady progress. Which is better than spinning our wheels going nowhere, isn’t it?
1. Break everything down into small do-able chunks. Take applying for jobs, I set myself a target of jobs applications that had to be finished and set back everyday. Totally overwhelming for this fearful procrastinator. Instead I search daily for 3 jobs, then on Fridays apply for them all. I’m finding a lot less stressful.
2. Give yourself a break from email, YouTube, face book et al. Unplug yourself and give 30 minutes undivided attention to that task you have been putting of, be it researching that essay or cleaning the kitchen. Many procrastinators have a skewed view of time, either over-estimating or under-estimating how long a task will take to complete. You can get a lot done in half an hour when you stop taking mini breaks to muck about on the Internet.
3. Write a list. Keep it small, Stick to it. I find if I give myself a small list of to do’s I am much more likely to complete them all,rather than create an exhaustive list (with good intentions) that never gets started.
What are your tips for tackling procastination?