Uncovering Myths About Procrastination

We use procrastination to avoid unpleasant feelings, to escape from the pressure, duties, responsibilities and to forget reality. All humans procrastinate to some degree so you do not need to judge and punish yourself for it. Below we will offer a constructive approach to procrastination and how myths about it hinder us to objectively look at procrastination and understand its roots.

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Face Your Fears! Face Your Procrastination!

One of the main solutions and ways to overcome procrastination is to stop denying it. It is like an elephant in the room, and being an atheist about it makes things worse. In order to be able to successfully address and defeat procrastination first, you need to admit its existence. This way you will be able to stand face-to-face with procrastination, which is a big step forward and will help you to explore it in depth. As Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen explain in  “Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now” behind most procrastinators stands the fear. Fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of failure are the most frequent reasons for procrastination. Disguising your fears in a cloak of a better sounding or less controversial word does not diminish the severeness of them.

Define What Procrastination Means To You

Acknowledging the problem is a valuable achievement that will help you find its roots, causes, and treat them accordingly. After this step you should try to define your procrastination, what are the things you do during procrastination and when are you most enjoying procrastinating? What are the activities you undertake most frequently during procrastination and how you can find another time to be engaged with them?

Everyone Procrastinates Differently

For some people, procrastination might be reading fictional books, writing diaries, meeting friends, or playing video games. We can easily find different names for these activities other than procrastination, but just because the timing of these activities is wrong and occurs in the middle of the deadline or in the middle of unfinished projects it is called procrastination. Besides, some people procrastinate more than others, and therefore every individual’s definition and approach to procrastination is vastly different from each other. Usually, the people who procrastinate more have a more negative attitude towards it than those who are more or less successful at taming their bad habits. If somebody is telling you that they are more productive after procrastination or that their success lies on procrastination, they probably just procrastinate less and are more organized than others (myth busted).

Be Aware of Repercussions

There is a big difference between procrastination and putting things off. Some people procrastinate in doing something that is less consequential but can be pedantic when it comes to their main project, while others can simply ruin their lives by procrastination. Hence, everyone is affected by the different consequences of procrastination. Among many types of consequences here we will only discuss two of them: External and Internal. External consequences can have a devastating impact on your college grades, relationships, or work. While internal is more like a struggle with inner demons, constant self-criticism and self-punishment for unaccomplished tasks. Which might have severe implications on your mental health later on.

As we have already explored, systematic procrastination can be more dangerous than it can seem at the first glance. There are many hidden layers of it and in order to uncover its mystery we will look through it layer after layer:

Myth#1 Technology makes procrastination easier

We all know how it feels like to go down the rabbit hole of social media and lose the sense of time and reality. It won’t be an overstretch to say that hours can fly as minutes on social media platforms. The snooze button on an alarm clock can easily prevent you from starting a day at a reasonable hour. Your phone connects you to the entire world, but it also takes away the most important things from you, such as time and discipline. Knowing all of this, it is hard not to blame technologies for making procrastination easier. However, mature adults should be able to control their behavior and be aware of the consequences of their actions. There are many ways that would help you not to abuse technologies and instead make the best out of them. You could set time limits for apps on your phone or turn off the notifications for social media apps so you don’t feel the need to check your phone all the time.

Myth#2 Procrastination can be beneficial

If you are trying to find an excuse for your behavior and have been looking for the answers on the internet, then you probably have stumbled upon the articles presenting procrastination in the positive framework. Unfortunately, it is not true. No matter how certain you are that you work better under the pressure, this is simply one more excuse you tell yourself to justify your actions. As Timothy A Pychyl claims, criminals are also using this tactic when they are looking for ways to justify or “neutralize” their actions. This is a simple psychological trick of “self-indulgent reconstruals” that procrastinators and people who try to justify their wrongdoings often rely on. Until you acknowledge that what you are doing hurts your work, it will keep hindering you from achieving your goals.

Myth#3 Procrastination is a time management problem

No, it’s not. Procrastination is an emotional problem first and then everything else. The genesis of the problems that cause procrastination is that we don’t forgive ourselves for the mistakes we make. People who acknowledge their wrongdoings and forgive themselves are less likely to commit the same mistake twice. This logic also applies to procrastinators. Continuing to avoid problems, duties, and responsibilities is much easier when we don’t recognize their importance or urgency. If you don’t acknowledge that you have made this same mistake over and over again and now it’s time for something to change, you will be spinning your wheels. Dedicate yourself to progress rather than regress and frivolous activities.

Myth#4 I am waiting for the right moment to start working

Some procrastinators’ most popular arguments are that they are waiting for the right mood, inspiration, or time of the day to start working. The thing about inspiration is that it does not come from wasting your time. Most often inspiration strikes when you are in the middle of research or work. You need to dedicate some time and energy to your work until you form a connection with it and start analyzing it on a deeper level. The same applies to those who wait for the right moment or more time to start working. For those of you who tend to name time deficit as an excuse for procrastination, you should try the “Swiss Cheese Approach”. The term was first mentioned in Alan Lakein’s book “How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life”. “Swiss Cheese Approach” got its name from the form of Swiss Cheese that has many holes in it. These holes resemble small chunks of time we might have throughout the day. If we start working during these small-time periods, the work will get done much sooner than initially expected. Hence, you should use all the possibilities at your hand and stop delaying doing your work for flimsy excuses.

Myth#5 This task is so easy, I can easily do it later

Irrationally evaluating the difficulty and seriousness of the task is another common approach usually adopted by procrastinators for justifying delay of the work. The truth is in most cases leaving only 1 hour to write your 2000 word paper is not the best idea and your grades will reflect the time you have spent on the paper. Even if the content and the idea of the paper are excellent, you will still lose points for grammar or spelling errors because you won’t have time left for proofreading.

Conclusion

Procrastination is one of the most common approaches used for avoiding doing work. One of the biggest problems of procrastinators is that they try to disguise their actions into something they are not. Procrastination is mostly caused by emotional problems and the comforting thoughts we try to provide for ourselves when we are simply lazy or afraid of not being good enough. Some people want to become popular fast or get a promotion soon without the need to wait for months and years for it. But just because you do not like your job or do not enjoy what you are studying, you should not be wasting your time. There is always a better solution than procrastinating:

  • If you do not like your job, you can change a profession. It might mean risking your stable life but in the long run, your happiness is more important and for the sake of being more satisfied with your life after ten years you should be willing to take risks now while you are still young and have time.
  • If you want to become successful quickly and don’t want to wait for years or months until you achieve it, there is always a solution for that. Especially in the digital world, there are thousands of people thinking and working for making success easily reachable. If you are trying to establish your name in the music industry, you can buy apple music streams on Jaynike. If you are into video making, you can take a look at YouTube tutorials for improving the quality of your videos and making them more engaging. If you desire to become a better manager or improve your professional skills, you can check out free online courses offered by LinkedIn or other websites.

Stop looking for excuses and start working towards your dreams. Life is too short to waste it on unnecessary struggles.

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