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What Is Procrastination and How to Overcome It

We've all been there. You've been given 30 days to prepare for a term paper- yet you don't even start on the paper until the day before its due. This is called Procrastination. A wise man described procrastination as the "dream killer" because it destroys productivity. Let's define procrastination:

Procrastination: the act of procrastinating; putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.

This is simply one meaning of procrastination.

There are many other meanings and interpretations but for the sake of simplicity we will just use the above definition. How many of us "putt off" until tomorrow what we should be doing today? It is believed that the majority of Americans procrastinate on a high scale everyday.

Whenever we practice procrastination it actually destroys our productivity- killing our dreams. Just think for a minute: what can you possibly accomplish (that's worth accomplishing) if you fail to take action? If you put off cleaning your home you will eventually be living in a pig pin, not to mention the health issues that can arise from poor maintenance.

Another version defines procrastination as "intentionally and habitually putting off what should be done." Notice that procrastination is intentional. So many people fool themselves into believing that procrastination is something that just "happens" without any human effort or contribution. This, however, is not true. You have to actively participate in order to procrastinate. When you know something needs to be done and you choose not to do it, you are actively participating in and causing your own failure.

Imagine if you felt that your body was just not functioning properly and you made plans to go to the doctor. Your appointment arrives and because you felt like you worked hard all week and you deserved a little rest, you put it off. One day turns into one week, one week into a month, and finally you just forget about going at all. After passing out at work, you find that you have a condition that could have been prevented if you would have just done what needed to be done.

Don't let procrastination kill your dreams of being a success.

There is no miracle solution for procrastination except to take action. Taking the necessary action when required to is the only solution for procrastination. Most people procrastinate when its time to go to the gym or work out but report feeling better after going to the gym or exercising. Whenever you procrastinate, you are left feeling guilty and even depressed at times. People who lack motivation to accomplish even minimal tasks have been found to be borderline depressed or manically depressed. You will always feel better after you get things done.

Procrastination adds to depression and can cause one to experience bad health, bad relationships, failing grades, and poor work performance which can lead to the loss of ones employment . No one wants to experience these things happening to them, so why do they procrastinate?

Recognizing Procrastination

The first step in overcoming procrastination is acknowledging that procrastination exist. You can't get to "victory" until you first recognize that you have a problem. Its kind of like having a medical issue. You cannot get the needed treatment that's required until you "first" acknowledge and diagnose the issue, then you can move on to treating the problem.

Establish "why" you procrastinate

Understanding the "why" behind your procrastination moves you closer to overcoming it. Let's say you are putting off cleaning your house . Maybe its because you've allowed it to get so out of hand that its become overwhelming to you and you just wish it would go away. Usually, procrastination takes place whenever a task that needs to be done is not pleasurable. Most humans have no problem with getting things done that's pleasurable to them. Its human nature. We are designed to move away from pain and draw close to pleasure.

4 easy Steps to counter procrastination

Step #1

  • Mind shifting: since you recognize that humans are wired to move away from painful things, associate procrastination with the consequences of not getting important things done. Create a mental picture of the negative results that can occur if you don't get things done. This mental shift can give you the motivation to "take action" in order to avoid the pain of the consequences. 

Step #2

  • Prioritize: Sometimes you may procrastinate because it seems like there's so much to do-yet so little time to get things done. A way to overcome this type of procrastination is through prioritizing. Write down a "to-do" list and then look over it to see what tasks are most important and what tasks are least important. Then prioritize those tasks according to there importance level (1. being the most important while 10. being the least important)

Step #3

  • Accountability Partner: Appointing someone to hold you accountable is another great way to combat procrastination. We usually attempt to do what we say when we know that someone else is watching us and will hold us accountable.

Step #4

  • Plan ahead: This step can tie into step #2. Establish your priority "to do" list the night before. Accomplishing your list ahead of time can first of all give you a boost of confidence-since you've gotten something done. You may also find yourself sleeping better at night looking forward to the next day. Since we cannot predict with certainty the events of tomorrow, be prepared to change some things around on your list if need be.

You are on your way to VICTORY!!

Now that you are on your way to a happier, fuller life- don't resist the urge to celebrate your accomplishment. You deserve it!

Dealing With Procrastination: Eliminating The Thief Of Time

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