How to avoid procrastination

I used to fancy the word procrastination in my childhood. It somehow sounded nice to me those days, something like personification, vindication, contemplation etc. Anyway as good as it sounds; it might not be the best thing to do. We are often victims of procrastination. At many points of our daily life we procrastinate.

For those who do not know what it means, in simple words – procrastination means to postpone or delay something.

Why do people procrastinate?

1. Lazy: The top most reason for people to procrastinate is laziness. Although laziness is responsible for a variety of bad things in our life, procrastination is one of them. Procrastinators often look for excuses for distraction. You may not intend to procrastinate but unknowingly your brain seeks distraction. If a group of people are gossiping around the water cooler at work and you happen to go there, instead of drinking the water and getting back to your desk to work, procrastinator joins the group. They will be the first ones to volunteer for non work related activities or anything involving them to not do their work.

2. Procrastinators also lie to themselves often – Say for example you plan for going on a diet regime or a 30 min evening walk plan. You do it the first two days and on the third day, you probably will find lying to yourself that it’s too cold in the evening to go for a walk or you do not feel well or you need to cook tonight or something else.

3. Avoidance: A lot of people also procrastinate due to fear of failure or fear of success. They worry about the consequences of taking up a task and what others will think about them if they don’t perform well or in the latter case if they perform it well. They are not willing to be judged and hence procrastinate doing something that is expected of them.

4. Anxiety: A lot of you might think that perfectionists do not procrastinate. Well here is a shocker – Fear of not doing things perfectly makes perfectionists procrastinate too.

How to overcome?

1. Do it beforehand: One of the best ways to overcome is to do things before hand. If you have a deliverable at work for Friday – try finishing it by Wednesday, if you need to buy gift for your friend for a weekend party – buy it the week before. Practice doing things earlier than due date so you have room for correction in case something goes wrong.

2. Prioritize: People who cannot prioritize their tasks and responsibilities often find themselves procrastinating less important stuff. Make a list of all the tasks and commitments you have and set a priority to them.

3. Become organized: Lot of people are clumsy while handling multiple tasks both at home and work, get organized and then as mentioned above prioritize each task.

4. Make commitment – and say it out loud: People do better when they are being watched. Making a public commitment helps in this case.

Avoiding procrastination is very easy if you identify the problem. Identifying is the hardest step – as expected a procrastinator will procrastinate identifying the problem too :). Once you take that big step to identify the problem – you have won the first battle – the rest is a cake walk.

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