pro-cras-ti-na-tion |prəˌkrastəˈnāSHən, prō-|
the action of delaying or postponing something: your first tip is to avoid procrastination.
Who would have thought that after decades of struggle with procrastination, the dictionary, of all places, would hold the solution?
“Avoid procrastination” so very elegant in all its simplicity.
The term ‘procrastination’ often refers to the intended delay of an unpleasant task, often against one’s better judgement. We live in an era of distractions and there is no doubt about it. When an individual procrastinates, they pass the task at hand to their future self.
The distractions we find ourselves facing each day seem to be endless. Once entangled in the larger web of distractions, including the internet, busywork, errands, e-mail, and shopping, we can easily lose sight of the activities, people, and actions that will bring us happiness, satisfaction, and contentment. We get sucked into short-term distractions and quickly forget what really makes us feel good.
For many, procrastination is a strong and mysterious force that keeps them from completing the most urgent and important tasks in their lives with the same strength as when you try to bring like poles of a magnet together.
The costs of procrastination are often considerable. Evidence suggests that the habit of leaving things until the last minute generally results in low-quality work performance and reduced well-being (Tice and Baumeister, 1997). For example, students who routinely procrastinate consistently get lower grades (Ariely & Wertenbroch, 2002). Procrastinators also tend to postpone getting appropriate medical treatments and diagnostic tests (Sirois and Pychyl, 2013).
THE REAL ORIGINS OF PROCRASTINATION
Most psychologists see procrastination as a kind of avoidance behavior, a coping mechanism gone awry in which people “give in to feel good,” says Timothy Pychyl, a professor who studies procrastination at Carleton University, in Ottawa.
Some reasons for procrastination include:
- Absence of structure: The lack of imposed direction that has become common very in workplaces might contribute to the increase in procrastination. The collapse of the delay between impulse and decision inevitably favors impulse (e.g., checking social media instead of doing work); our easy online access makes urges easy to gratify.
- Unpleasant tasks: The most significant predictor of procrastination is a task that is considered unpleasant, boring, or uninteresting (e.g., Christmas shopping, laundry, or exercise). How can you complete your unpleasant tasks on time? One strategy is to divide and conquer.
- Timing: Another important factor is the timing of the reward and punishment—meaning that the point of choice and the associated consequences are separated in time. Procrastination occurs when present efforts are highly noticeable in comparison with future ones, leading individuals to postpone tasks without anticipating that when it is time to do them, the required action will be delayed yet again.
- Anxiety: Avoidance is a well-known form of coping with anxiety. Procrastinators may postpone getting started because of a fear of failure. Evidence indicates that procrastination is associated with high levels of stress.
- Self-confidence: When difficulties arise, people with weak self-confidence easily develop doubts about their ability to accomplish the task at hand, while those with strong beliefs are more likely to continue their efforts. When low self-confidence causes people to avoid activities, they miss opportunities to acquire new knowledge and skills.
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