The research reveals that our inclination to delay or postpone things is often tied to having low self-belief and can lead to depression.
Below are some ways to stop procrastinating, get moving and make things happen, as follows:
Procrastination derives from the Latin word procrastinare, which means ‘deferred until tomorrow’. It is irrational human behavior because even though we know it’s in our best interest to act now, we delay unnecessarily. Believe it or Not, a lot of the time, procrastination/inaction is a habit that happens without us even realising it.
Habits are important to be aware of so that we can break free from them, otherwise, the consequences can be very difficult to shoulder.
According to research that asked people what their biggest regret was, procrastination regrets ranked the highest, the things they did not do with their loved 1 while they were still alive caused the most suffering.
The Big Q: Why do it?
Research shows that procrastination is tied to being easily distracted, impulsive, and having low self-belief in your ability to follow through on what you set out to do.
There are steps you can take to overcome procrastination and get closer to the life you want.
Many times, before we start to work on a task, we feel bored or a sense of dread. We want to get away from these uncomfortable feelings and the task causes them. While this can make us feel better in the moment, it can affect us in the long term. When people begin to procrastinate on a regular basis, they choose instant gratification over distant rewards and future goals. Repairing their mood quickly and getting stress relief as soon as they feel uncomfortable becomes a priority. But delaying in order to feel good can have harmful consequences in the long term because it leads to regret, suffering, and mental illness.
The Big A: If 1 wants to overcome procrastination, instead of fleeing from uncomfortable feelings identify the negative emotions that are arising in you as you prepare to work and just continue with the task.
Anything unpleasant feeling initially is temporary and dissipates. The more you learn to tolerate this transient discomfort, the more your self-control builds and you start to see yourself differently. You start to see yourself as capable. This is the place of motivation.
Another option is to choose the emotion we want to focus on. Even though we might be feeling annoyed or stressed when we sit down to work on a task, there are other emotions that we are experiencing too. We might have a desire to learn something new and become more proficient at something or get promoted and no matter how small this desire is, it is there.
Everyone has an inner landscape of emotions that we feel at any time, and we can choose which emotion from this inner landscape we want to focus on. So instead of thinking how much we loathe beginning a project, we might tap into the wish to enrich ourselves mentally or professionally.
This action not only makes it easier to engage, but it makes doing the work meaningful because we are connecting with our values and motives.
A sure way to overcome procrastination and become more motivated is to do it badly. You might feel stuck in place to start working on something because you think that it needs to be done perfectly, or that you cannot begin because you are not capable enough yet. So you delay.
Instead of waiting until you are better prepared or feel like it, dive right in. This not only applies to work, but anytime you have to make a decision in life.
Doing it badly allows you to take action and makes it much easier to follow through, and you can always refine things. If you use this motto, you will start to notice that the aversion you feel towards tasks changes into excitement and ease.
At the heart of procrastination is the thinking that tomorrow, we will feel like it more.
But studies show that people not very good at predicting how they will feel in the future.
You know how it is: you decide to give up cigarettes for example, but before you do this, you treat yourself 1 last time. And right after you have had your fix, you think that it will not be so hard to stick to the plan, but as soon as temptation hits, you are back to where you started.
People often think that the way they are feeling now will be the way we will be feeling in the future. When it comes to procrastination, they are happy now because they have put off doing something, so they believe that these positive emotions will also be there tomorrow when we come back to the task, this never happens.
Knowing that we are unable to predict or anticipate emotions makes it easier to act now because it can allow you to start on a task even when not motivated. And when you start to do this, is when momentum builds. And when momentum builds, the seeds of motivation sprout.
People erroneously think that they need to feel like it or be motivated before doing something, but it’s the opposite. Motivation follows action, it really does.
If you want to reduce the amount of time you spend procrastinating, cut back on mind-wandering and daydreaming.
About 50% of people’s thoughts during the day do not have anything to do with the task in front or what’s going on around us.
We spend much of our time thinking about something else or mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds. But research shows that mind-wandering can disrupt performance and impact reading comprehension. It shifts 1’s attention away from what is important in that moment, and this makes it harder to get back to the to-do list.
The more you daydream, the harder it becomes to control, and it is tied to depression. Often when daydreaming, people direct their attention towards the self, unrealised goals, or think about an idealised self that does not match up to how things are now.
This leads to rumination, which can become fertile ground for depression. The antidote to this is to focus on the moment, the task at hand and/or whatever you are doing now.
Use power breathing to break the cycle of anxiety and frustration that comes with being distracted.
This is the essence of mindfulness and it is the essence of living.
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!