What is Procrastination?

How to Stop Procrastinating Now

What’s the Real Definition of Procrastination?

How to Stop Procrastinating Now
How to Stop Procrastinating Now

Let’s start with the definition from the dictionary.  Procrastination is the act of putting off, postponing, or delaying intentionally and habitually something that should be done.

This act may make you feel guilty for not being productive and responsible.  You become stressed, and this becomes an excuse to delay what should be done even further.

When you procrastinate, do you feel a low sense of self-esteem, not worthy, and distressed that you’re not meeting other’s expectations?  Do you overestimate the size of a task until the thought of doing it overwhelms you? It’s said that procrastinators expect too much from themselves and become out of touch with reality, and their goals are in reality, only wishes and dreams.

Procrastinators are often perfectionists. 

They spend an excessive amount of time trying to perfect one small task while the larger, needed task goes unfinished or not begun.

Perfectionists and procrastinators often continue to work on a tiny part of a project to avoid others’ evaluation, thus becoming a workaholic.  Some perfectionists’ underlying problem is that they are egocentric and will settle for nothing but the ultimate.

Psychologists classify procrastinators as two types:  relaxed and tense or anxious. The flexible type directs their energy into tangent tasks, thus avoiding what needs to be done.  They view the whole elephant and are unable to take a bite at a time.  They see the task as not pleasurable and enjoyable and demand instant gratification.  Procrastinators gain gratification by doing a more menial chore.

The anxious type is usually unrealistic about time and goals lacking the ability to focus and tell themselves they will start later.  They rationalize reasons for delaying a beginning.

As time runs out, guilt and anxiousness increase leading to depression and even withdrawal. 

Failure, delay, and unmet goals become a cycle with an eternal loop that continues to repeat.

Procrastination is common in the academic world when a student waits until the last minute to start an assignment.  Some students say they work better under pressure, but this usually results in inferior work.  They know the work must be completed to complete the course, but other more pleasurable distractions get in the way.

If you avoid reality, you could be a procrastinator on the road to a mental health disorder.

A compulsion to surf the net, play video games regularly, too much television, or even using sleep as an escape could require professional help.  These things are not bad in moderation but start with being honest with yourself.

Do you see yourself in these definitions?  This is an attempt to characterize the act of procrastination and help you determine if you are, in fact, a procrastinator.  No real solutions to procrastination are offered here.   The solution to most problems begins with awareness and admitting you have a need. We’re all guilty of procrastination to some degree.  Seek what degree is best for you.

Can Procrastination Ever Be Beneficial?

How to Stop Procrastinating Now
How to Stop Procrastinating Now

Procrastination rarely brings us feelings of happiness and delight.  On the contrary, it usually fills us with guilt, stress, and depression, and we’re perceived as lazy, with no sense of direction.  But can a deferment of actions to a later time, such as a better time, be beneficial?

Are we not procrastinating when we adhere to the sage sayings of “haste makes waste” and “when in doubt, do nothing?”  And, we’re told to “think before you speak” or put “mind in gear before opening mouth.”

Are these not forms of procrastination?  Yet, it’s perceptive advice.  It’s how we employ these words of wisdom that makes the difference.  If something needs to be done today, don’t put it off until tomorrow or suffer the consequences…unless this delay is used to our benefit.

Procrastination is poor time management and lacks organizational skills, and denotes a defect in your personality. 

Some procrastinators are known to be perfectionists, but they don’t have the necessary data to perform the required task or duty.

They’re not putting off the task forever but gathering additional information and statistics until they feel confident to act at an advanced level.  It’s not wise to perform unprepared but use your time judiciously in becoming competent, careful not to be labeled a slacker.

Procrastination, like water, follows a path of least resistance, so there’s no wasted energy or effort.  Often, we procrastinate not because we’re lazy but because of the convolution of the problem at hand.  As we ponder the situation, we can weed out what isn’t important, leading us to a better solution.

Procrastination can teach us discipline, patience, and the ability to work better under pressure.  While we ponder, we’re searching for a more effective way to do a task, which is a form of time management.  Procrastination prompts subliminal organization.

We can usually decide when to do a task and obtain better results when we act at our opportune moment.  But, we must not unduly delay determining when it’s to our advantage to seize the moment.

There are many good reasons for putting things off. 

Before making an important decision, have you ever said, “let me sleep on it?”  As you retreat into a quiet refuge to think creatively and clear your mind, solutions become apparent. Time flows persistently like a river but so do your thoughts.  They never cease.  Channel them productively.

If procrastination has become your lifestyle, know there are many good reasons for delaying action.  Don’t allow negative feelings to capture your mind.  Do your research, assess the problem, and begin.

Force yourself to sit and work for at least five minutes, and chances are you’ll keep going.  Do the worst first, and don’t worry about mistakes.  Visualize completion. Procrastination can be one of our most useful tools, but we must learn to use it like any good carpenter.




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