The truth is that procrastination is an issue that concerns many of us. Why are we procrastinators really? What can we do to fix it? THE Dora MinouMA Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapist (adult, couple and family) writes about procrastination and gives us the necessary advice.
Procrastination for some people is a pattern and for others it can be an attitude in certain areas or situations in their lives.
Procrastination is defined as the process where one finds it difficult or makes excuses to postpone something important until later, giving priority to more trivial and pleasant things.
Why do we procrastinate?
Many adopt the view that they perform better under time pressure, others procrastinate by overestimating their capabilities: “I have time, I will do it when the time comes…” Others have the belief that they will not succeed, that they will fail, and postpone action so they don’t face disappointment or feelings of frustration and failure. That is, they could be procrastinators due to low self-confidence and feelings of incompetence.
Additionally we could say that procrastination is a derivative of stress or that stress triggers procrastination. Thus, a vicious circle is created: “I worry about whether I will succeed, which results in me delaying action and increasing the anxiety even more”.
In other cases we could refer to a lack of motivation, laziness and inactivity that block action and it could also be an element of the person’s personality.
Another reason could be the person’s belief that what they are going to do must be perfect. The perfectionism trap is often a reason why someone finds it difficult to start what they want to do.
Finally, it could be the symptom of an underlying or diagnosed disorder, such as depression, anxiety disorders, etc.
Most of the time the difficulty lies in starting something that we have undertaken. Vanden Heuvel states that procrastination is a symptom derived from the Pleasure Principle. This is related to the above, that is, in order not to experience anxiety and to avoid negative emotions, he systematically delays the processing of what he has undertaken. In addition, there is also the parameter for many that the stress is manageable until the time of the deadline decreases and then the stress of not being on time increases. Many people have learned to function under pressure and find that then they become more productive and focused. But is it worth experiencing so much anxiety before action?
How can we deal with procrastination?
– It is very important to be aware of what is happening to us. If we manage to clarify the reason why we delay in acting on something, we may be able to organize our work better and become more direct and efficient.
-Is there motivation in what we want to process? Did we commit impulsively, was it a choice made by ourselves, or were we forced to do something (eg is it a job requirement)?
– Is the postponement due to the fear of the result? Do we have the anxiety of failure? Are there practical difficulties or do we vaguely want to do something?
-Can we concentrate on what we are doing? Are we focused on one thing at a time or do we lose our minds trying to do many things at once?
– Do we sometimes postpone because we might be faced with an unpleasant development? For example, do we think that in this way we “exorcise evil” (eg I don’t go for a check-up at the doctor because I’m afraid he will diagnose something negative about my health).
-Initially it is very important to realize what is our relationship with time. A good sense of time is a prerequisite for better organizing our daily life and our obligations. It is very important to understand that the time in obligations that must be done is a function at our expense.
-Every time we postpone something the question to ourselves is: “What makes it difficult for me, what makes me delay…” and other such questions so that we can get in touch with our difficulty.
-We set small, achievable and realistic goals. Every time we achieve a small goal we are closer to the final result and this acts as a motivation to not postpone or give up what we have already started.
-We always keep in mind that by “gnawing away at time” we do not gain anything, on the contrary we burden ourselves with stress and pressure.
-We think about the result and focus on the feeling of satisfaction for the result, rewarding ourselves.
Prolonged procrastination can have negative effects both at work and in our interpersonal relationships. On the one hand it can lead to conflicts and create a sense of insolvency in others, on the other hand it triggers anxiety and guilt in the person who is used to procrastinating.