What new habits will help you overcome the procrastination?
Why do people hesitate (and how can I stop)?
Whether we work, go to school, or have personal goals that we want to achieve, there are many of us struggling with procrastination. While the occasional setback can be overcome, some people hesitate on every turn. This can create major problems in our work and even make it difficult for us to maintain certain positions in our life that we need to keep. To make matters worse, most people know they hesitate but don't know why they keep engaging in the behavior. The good news is that procrastination can be overcome. To help you overcome your procrastination issues, here is a detailed rundown of why people hesitate and how to stop.
Why do people hesitate? Reasons for procrastination
Everyone hesitates at times. However, for some, procrastination can be an everyday problem. Understanding why you tend to postpone your work is the first step in finding solutions that will keep you moving the work and tasks forward continuously. The most common reasons for people to hesitate are:
- Need a (bad) coping mechanism for emotional stress: The exciting thing about procrastination as a behavior is that it is often related to our mood and our personal reward system. When we hesitate, we often do so in order to cope with the anxiety and stress that comes with the task itself. If we don't, we can regulate our emotions for that short period of time after making the decision to hesitate. Unfortunately, although we know that hesitation will only lead to worse consequences, we will continue to deal with this behavior later as we have been temporarily rewarded for our choice. This cycle then continues until we continually postpone our work or refuse to do everything together. As you can imagine, this only leads to further consequences that can have a huge impact on our lives.
- Lack of time management skills: When we develop a schedule for ourselves, the planning stages can be exciting. You can spend hours figuring out how much you can fit into your schedule and plan ahead. The problem is that a schedule is mostly a theory, unless we know how long a particular task will take. When we go through our schedule and find that we don't have nearly as much time as we thought it can be easy to postpone our tasks in response. Learning how to properly manage our time and set realistic expectations is an important skill to learn if it adds to your procrastination habits.
- Working against motivation and energy: We would all like to be energized and focused all day long. Unfortunately, our body doesn't work that way. We all have different times when we feel most effective and motivated. Setting up all-day tasks with no all-day energy is a great way not only to fall behind, but also to hesitate. When we work with our bodies, we can better prepare for our days.
- No desire to do a certain task at the moment: Not all tasks are fun. When we don't feel like doing something, it can often be easier for us to put it off until we absolutely have to. Almost everyone has done this from time to time, but doing it regularly can do more harm than good. This is another common problem that chronic procrastinators have when it comes to getting their chores done.
- Overwhelming handling of tasks: When tasks are too big and intimidating, we can withdraw from them in response. The problem is that if they look too big to take care of now, they may still look too big to treat later. The good news is that even this discouraging reason for hesitation can be resolved.
These are just some of the main reasons we hesitate. Once procrastination has become a behavior and reasons become triggers, it can be difficult to prevent that habit from continuing. However, we need to find ways to get things done and become more productive with our time.
If you're looking to put an end to procrastination, let's take a look at some tips to help break the cycle and develop better habits.
How to overcome procrastination
Procrastination, like any other bad habit, is a learned behavior. By procrastinating, we've found that we can discourage negative emotions associated with certain tasks. This means that while we have these habits now, we can find ways to beat this system and find habits that will produce better results. Here are some ways you can begin to get past the procrastination and get your job done.
1. Leave more space in your schedule for delays and unforeseen problems
With time management issues at the center of your procrastination habits, there is a great deal of learning how to create a better schedule to work towards a more productive day. Instead of filling your schedule with sequential tasks, allow a reasonable amount of time between tasks. For example, if you assume that a task could take an hour to complete, schedule your next task 30 minutes after the first task finishes. That way, if your task exceeds your expected time limit, you will have more time to attend to it. This gives you plenty of time to get started, find your motivation, and get them done before your next task. Otherwise, you can take a look at your schedule and run in the opposite direction.
2. Learn how to break down overwhelming tasks into groups of subtasks
When you get easily discouraged or just don't have enough energy, big tasks seem too much to handle. Fortunately, almost all tasks can be broken down into smaller tasks. Imagine you have a 20 page financial report due in 3 days. You may have already looked at this assignment and decided not to bother with it yet. But what would happen if your 20-page finance project was broken down into the following tasks:
- Put the research together
- Pay attention to section 1
- Pay attention to section 2
- Pay attention to section 3
When you view your big task as multiple tasks, it is easier to complete each task over a period of time. This makes your massive task more accessible and easier to do.
3. Cut off larger projects over time
If you don't have a tight deadline, it may be better to isolate your project and complete it over several days or weeks. This can make it easier for you to focus on one task at a time and not overload yourself with too much work. Once you see how much better it is not to tackle a project at the last minute, you may find it easier to avoid future delays.
4. Consider the consequences of not getting your job done now
As mentioned above, procrastination becomes a habit as you can avoid the stress associated with getting your job done. However, if you are a chronic procrastinator then you are most likely familiar with the consequences of not doing so later. If you can use this to your advantage, think about what would happen each time you postpone a task. While this doesn't necessarily guarantee you will get started right away, it can help you get some of your work done. Then all you have to do is continue that advance and build from there!
5. Give yourself greater reward than postponing your work
Procrastination gives us a short-term reward for not dealing with our feelings in the present. To combat this problem, we must find a reward greater than that given by procrastination. Whether you're bribing yourself with a gift, remembering financial rewards, or finding some other way to incentivize yourself, finding a reason to get the job done can overcome your desire to postpone work . You can also get around this problem by looking for ways that you can do your chores in a more fun way!
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6. Be more understanding when you don't meet your expectations
For some people, procrastination can be part of an all-or-nothing mindset. Some of us expect us to perform at our best, and if we don't, we postpone work until we are in a perfect state of mind. Unfortunately, this state of mind can never occur. You need to be able to get your job done even when you don't feel like it. Try to be more understanding when you don't feel like performing or when you don't meet your expectations. They are only human and get better with time.
Get help when you need it
Overcoming procrastination is no easy task. For some, they may be able to implement these tips on their own. For others, however, they may need help breaking the cycle and putting new habits in their place. If you feel you need help, it is a good idea to seek help from a counselor. Counseling can help you learn more about why you engage in certain behaviors and what you can do to stop them. If you are looking for a counselor nearby but haven't found a good solution, you should consider online therapy.
For example, BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that connects you with licensed therapists from the comfort of your home. Some people prefer online therapy for privacy, while others prefer to talk to someone face to face. Both are effective options for developing tools to combat procrastination.
Procrastination can, but doesn't have to be, a big impact in your life. Take some time to better understand where procrastination is coming from and how you can break the cycle to overcome your procrastination habits. Once you know how to work more effectively, you probably wonder why you hesitated in the first place.
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