Are you behind on a project? Do you often hold off on doing things until the very last moment? If the answer is yes, then you may have a problem with procrastination.
Tim Pychyl, associate professor of psychology from Carleton University in Ottawa, offered an explanation for why we sometimes fall into this destructive habit. He said that “We procrastinate because we give in to feel good. If a task makes me frustrated or bored, avoidance lets me escape those negative emotions”.
The problem is that if you avoid your responsibilities for too long, they pile on top of each other, and when you inevitably have to deal with them, you’ll experience a great deal of stress, anxiety, and even relationship problems. This in turns may cause you to neglect any health issue that you may have – heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc.
While this type of behavior is very common, therapists say that it can be managed and overcome. The key is to understand why you may feel the need to procrastinate and what you can do to avoid doing so. So without further to say, here are five (5) big signs of procrastination and five (5) suggestions on how to get passed them:
1) The dreadful deadline is right around the corner. Professor Pychyl insists that holding off on writing a report until the night before the deadline is not necessarily a sign of procrastination. As long as you know you’ll have enough time to finish it by the time you need it, everything should be just fine.
However, if your plan was to start working on the report two (2) or three (3) days before you needed it, and you ended up avoiding the task just because you didn’t feel like executing it, that’s a clear sign of procrastination. It doesn’t matter whether your excuse is that you went on a marathon of Kubrick movies or you used that time to clean the house.
One way to avoid falling into this trap is to start off a project by setting small goals for yourself. Piers Steel, professor of organizational behavior from the University of Calgary, gave a statement informing that this approach may motivate you to actually work on the project because you don’t have to do something you don’t like for too many hours at a time. However, it’s important that you’re goals are well defined and that they sound like instructions you may give to another person.
2) But forget office work. What about physical exercise? Did you invest money into fitness equipment only to have it collecting dust? You may have embarked on the adventure with every intention of getting in shape or keeping yourself healthy, but if you’re a procrastinator you ended up avoiding this task.
You can overcome this by breaking the task into very small actions. Don’t tell yourself to get on the exercise bike and work out for an hour. Tell yourself to get on the exercise bike and move the paddles.
Routines can also help. Make it a goal to exercise every night after the news or after your favorite show.
3) Is social media a distraction for you? Procrastinators will often spend hours on end on Facebook or Twitter just so that they can avoid accomplishing tasks that they don’t feel like executing, but have to.
More traditional distractions also include watching TV, eating, and sleeping.
Setting different passwords for your various social media accounts and asking the websites not to remember them may demotivate you from spending so much time browsing through memes.
4) Can you make it to the restaurant on time or do your friends have tow wait an hour for you?
If you constantly cancel meeting with your friends, going on a date with your husband, or frequently make them wait for you, you are a procrastinator. The solution is to once again break a task into very small steps.
5) Do you hang around people who almost never finish a task on time? If yes, then you should stop. Start making friends with people who are always on time, or even finish a task earlier than required. This may help you change your pattern.
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