Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task, often until the last minute. It is a behaviour pattern that affects a lot of individuals, regardless of age, gender, or profession. While the behaviour may seem harmless, it has several negative consequences. Let’s explore the reasons behind procrastination and understand how to overcome this tendency to become more productive and achieve our goals.
Reasons behind procrastination
There are many reasons why we procrastinate. The common ones include fear of failure, perfectionism, lack of motivation, or feeling overwhelmed or bored. Understanding the reason behind why we procrastinate can help us come up coping mechanisms to overcome this behaviour.
Tips to overcome procrastination
While overcoming procrastination can be challenging, here are a few easy-to-follow strategies that you can adopt to overcome procrastination:
- Break down tasks – a large task can look daunting, so breaking it down into smaller parts/tasks and setting a timeline for completing each makes things look easy.
- Set realistic goals – this includes, specifying what you want to do, organising your list of to-do’s, making a list of the resources and time you need to achieve your goal, and making lifestyle/behaviour changes to realize your goal.
- Identify what triggers the behaviour – reasons like perfectionism, fear of failure, avoidance, and depression can trigger procrastination. So, to overcome the issue, it is important to find out the cause.
- Use time management techniques – following techniques that allow you to use your time efficiently and productively ensures success and increases your motivation.
- Find an accountability partner – find someone, like a friend or a colleague, to support you by reminding you that you have a commitment to keep or a goal to achieve, especially during the time when you may be losing your focus.
How I overcame procrastination
While working on a project I was responsible for developing a new component for one of our client’s website. The sheer size and complexity of the task seemed daunting, and I found myself delaying starting it because I didn’t know where to start.
During this difficult phase, it was my team leader who extended a helping hand. At our office, we have resources to help us deal with any issues we may be facing. Together, we broke down the project into smaller, more manageable tasks, set realistic deadlines for each task and prioritized them based on their importance and urgency. While I was working on the project, I had regular check-ins with my team leader to review my progress and discuss any challenges that I was facing. This helped me stay accountable and motivated.
As I completed each task, I gained a sense of accomplishment, which made it easier for me to tackle the next one. In fact, I went ahead of schedule and completed the project.
Overcoming procrastination is possible by changing your mindset and taking proactive steps. In fact, getting rid of the habit has many benefits. Beating the tendency to procrastinate makes doing tasks enjoyable, increases motivation and efficiency, helps become punctual and productive, and reduces stress levels.