Procrastination: What it is and How to Overcome It

Procrastinação: o Que é e Como Superá-la

Procrastination is the biggest enemy of productivity and prevents us from realizing our full potential in the various areas of life, making us feel bad about ourselves for wasting time on tasks that are not a priority.

According to the American magazine Psychology Today , everyone puts off certain things they have to do, but the biggest procrastinators avoid difficult tasks and tend to deliberately look for distractions.

Somehow, those who procrastinate are aware of their actions and the consequences, but changing their habits requires an even greater effort than completing the task at hand.

What does it mean to procrastinate?

According to Psychology Today magazine, procrastination is linked to impulsivity, creating a general difficulty in regulating our own behavior, and can simply mean choosing pleasure over discipline.

We procrastinate whenever our actions do not go beyond our intentions and we postpone a task to the detriment of another more pleasurable one. Postponing is synonymous with procrastinating whenever there is no plan for what needs to be done, something that can result in a feeling of guilt, stress or loss of productivity.

Avoiding urgent tasks, despite the negative consequences, is a form of procrastination, which, like laziness, represents a lack of motivation. The difference is that, in the first case, there is an intention to complete the goal in mind, but there is, at the same time, a conscious choice to take another action.

We all postpone things, but we procrastinate when we generate delays (at home, at work, etc.) that affect our quality of life, delaying priorities and turning all our attention to the simplest and least demanding tasks.

How to stop procrastinating?

It is necessary to understand the reasons that lead us to procrastinate before understanding what strategies we can use to counter this tendency. Everyone has different reasons for putting things off.

Some of the reasons that lead us to procrastination are:

Consider that the challenge is very difficult and that, therefore, we are not up to it;

Having many decisions to make;

Have difficulty concentrating;

Spending too much time on social media;

Leave everything until last.

A battle between the “present self” and the “future self”

According to Jari Roomer, author of several articles on productivity, we have two versions of ourselves: the “future self”, which sets goals and imagines successful results, and the “present self”, responsible for doing what needs to be done. Be done. When these two reflections of ourselves are not aligned, we give in to momentary pleasure, through distractions that make us feel good in the moment.

Adopt a broader perspective.

To stop feeling bad about what you've put off (and, finally, take action) the first step is to adopt a broader perspective on situations. Look at everything you have to do and ask yourself the importance of each function. Take a step back and try to understand whether you really need to take these actions or whether, in reality, they no longer make so much sense.

Get to know yourself.

There are people who work better under pressure (and sometimes even get better results than the rest). According to Psychology Today magazine, there are two types of procrastination: passive and active. Passive happens when we are distracted, for example, browsing social media; active, on the other hand, has a more strategic nature and may involve an intensive focus closer to the deadline. The trick is to invest in self-knowledge in order to understand whether working in a race against time works for you or not.

Understand the difference between what you are and what you do.

The belief that your performance is tied to your self-worth can cause you to procrastinate. It is very important that you understand the difference between the person you are and the quality of what you perform. Regardless of whether your perfectionism often tries to block it, know how to recognize your identity in what you accomplish and value the characteristics that make you unique.

Create your own strategies.

Only when we stop performing a certain action does it stop being a habit. Therefore, you need to create strategies that help you get where you want and obtain the best possible results:

Start with the most difficult or unpleasant tasks, so you can free yourself from them as soon as possible and focus on more pleasurable activities;

Minimize distractions;

Look at yourself in a positive way and forgive yourself;

Offer yourself a reward every time you complete a task.

Sources: Psychology Today, MindTools and Jari Roomer

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