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Eliminating Procrastination from your Life

Eliminating Procrastination from your Life

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work - Stephen King

The weekend is just a few hours away, and you are stressed, working at inhuman speeds to complete your report before the deadline. And all this time, one thought pesters you, 'why did I not start early?'. This act of delaying or putting tasks off to complete at another time is called Procrastination. Sounds familiar? Well, you are not alone. Many individuals fall into the trap of endless procrastination. 

Procrastination is often confused with laziness, when in fact it is quite different. Procrastination is the active process of ignoring or delaying an important task and completing an enjoyable or easy one instead. Procrastinating over long durations of time can lead to an individual becoming demotivated, experiencing added stress leading to anxiety, and in extreme cases, may lead to the individual losing their job. 

Is it possible to avoid procrastination? What can we do to eliminate it? 

Yes, it is possible to steer clear of procrastinating and eventually eliminate it. The first step would be to recognise and acknowledge that you are procrastinating. This involves identifying why you are putting off a certain task. If it is for a good reason like excess workload, then you aren't necessarily procrastinating. You may be procrastinating, if you are filling your day with low-priority tasks, leaving an item on the To-Do List for too long, starting a higher priority task and immediately taking a break, or waiting to be in the right mood to tackle a task.    

Before you can stop procrastinating, you need to identify the reason for procrastinating. The reasons will vary from person to person. It could be because you find the tasks boring, your organisational skills are lacking and lead to you feeling overburdened, or self-doubt in your abilities to complete a task. Being a perfectionist can also lead to procrastinating to avoid the risk of executing a task imperfectly. Another reason for procrastinating is poor decision-making abilities.

Procrastinating is an ingrained behaviour, a habit. This means it takes consistent efforts and isn't something you can stop doing overnight. Try adopting different strategies to stop the practice of procrastinating. A few simple ones could be: 

  1. Make your environment as conducive as possible to work or complete your tasks. Remove any distractions from around you and find a de-cluttered and quiet place and begin even if you do not feel ready.
  2. Commit to your task and assign a reward for yourself for completing the task successfully. It may be a small reward, something as simple as a piece of cake, this will give you the motivation to move ahead. 
  3. Address your tasks as and when they crop up, instead of letting them build up.
  4. Get into the habit of tackling those tasks that you find unpleasant or tedious at the start of your day. This will ensure that you can concentrate on tasks you find enjoyable for the rest of the time.
  5. If you delay projects or tasks because you find them overwhelming, breaking them down into small goals can help ease your stress and make the task more manageable. 

Eliminating procrastination can seem like a difficult task, but as long as you are willing to make the effort and follow strategies you will be able to eliminate procrastination from your life.

About the Author

Nasir Shaikh is the Chief Executive Officer of Lexicon Management Institute of Leadership & Excellence. He is also a Board Member in Rising Star Outreach of India. He dons various roles such as Life Leadership Coach, TEDx Speaker, Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Passion Catalyst.