Postponing things for later is usually a sign of laziness. We prefer to indulge in pleasure first, and then go to work. Unfortunately, such behavior usually does not herald anything good and may lead to a constant postponement of performance of duties. Is procrastination always the result of laziness? Could it be a symptom of an illness? How to deal with it?
What is procrastination?
Generally speaking, procrastination is a compulsive delaying of responsibilities. It manifests itself in the fact that we never perform the work assigned to us immediately after receiving it. We postpone the implementation itself as long as possible. As a consequence, our actions are usually inaccurate and chaotic, and the short time we have to do the job can cause stress and distraction. There is no specific reason why a task is postponed. People who suffer from procrastination often have high goals and plans, but are unable to get to them – they constantly postpone it. They feel worst about completing tasks that do not have a specific deadline.
Student syndrome - how does a procrastinator act?
Procrastination is sometimes called the student’s syndrome. Why? Imagine a student who has to write a thesis. Usually they have an entire academic year for this, or even longer. Unfortunately, most students do not come to work until the deadline for their work completion. If a person sees that they have delayed too long before starting work, they postpone the date by which they must present their work. If he succeeds and the date is changed, he doesn’t sit down to work right away. He delays writing again and sets to work when it is too late again. As a consequence, he writes the work on the fly, makes mistakes, does not have time to sufficiently analyze the sources. In this situation, procrastination can even cause plagiarism. This is a classic example of what the phenomenon of procrastination is and its repeatability.
The causes of procrastination
While the causes of procrastination are very often found in inborn laziness, genes do not have to be responsible for avoiding duties. Procrastination is often the result of certain situations that we experienced in childhood. Compulsive postponement of responsibilities may result, for example, from the fact that our parents put too high demands on us in our childhood, and we felt unappreciated or even unnecessary. It is the fear of too much responsibility, even if deeply ingrained and hidden, that can cause procrastination.
Procrastination and perfectionism
Very often procrastination goes hand in hand with perfectionism. When we like to work the best we can and give our 100% of the standard, and on our way there is a task that we are not able to perform perfectly, we get discouraged easily and postpone its implementation in time. As a result, under time pressure, we perform the task even worse than we expected. However, we have a very good excuse for ourselves – no time.
Symptoms of procrastination
If we postpone the task from time to time, it does not immediately mean that we suffer from procrastination. This phenomenon concerns frequent postponement in time, therefore the frequency of its occurrence is so important in its diagnosis. If you suspect you are suffering from procrastination, think about how often you postpone something. Think about the causes of your behavior and the effects of it. If, after postponing a task, you feel bad about it, feel guilty, or have stress, you need to think more about solving the problem. There are a few simple techniques that can help you get the problem under control.
Overcome procrastination with planning
The best way to fight procrastination is to plan and set goals. Many people need a specific incentive to work in order to get down to work at all. Such a stimulus can be a specific action plan with deadlines for the performance of work that are actually earlier than the realistic deadlines. A good solution is also to divide the work into batches, i.e. divide it into several days. In this way, we do not have to spend too much time on the task and we are able to deal with it without much effort. If you have any remorse about postponing everything, stop worrying and go straight to action!
Procrastination in children
Nowadays, full of stimuli and various entertainment, we deal more and more often with child procrastination. Children accustomed to playing all day long are not able to do even simple household tasks. When their parent tells them to do something, they postpone the task as much as possible and follow the instructions only if they have no other choice. It is important to detect procrastination in a child at an early stage. By introducing a simple reward system, e.g. watching TV only after cleaning the room, we can easily develop good habits that will also work in adulthood.
Read more: Procrastination in Children
Treatment of procrastination
Unfortunately, in some cases, procrastinators have a very big problem with self-discipline. Such people, despite the designated action plan, are unable to get down to business and are not able to deal with the problem on their own. Procrastination is not caused by laziness, but rather a psychological problem. If you also feel that it is a habit to put things aside and you do not know how to control it, be sure to consult a psychologist. The specialist will advise you on how to overcome postponement and, above all, will focus on the source of your problems. Thanks to the psychological consultation, you will gain motivation.
What to expect from visiting a psychologist?
If you’ve managed to report that you are procrastinating, you’re halfway to your goal! Now you just need to implement the right practices and change your mindset about responsibilities. Although it is not easy and often requires a lot of effort, with the help of an experienced psychologist you can do it faster than you think. The psychologist will set goals for you, introduce you to techniques that will help you overcome the problem, and will also be your support and mentor.