Eliminating Procrastination

“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” – Napoleon Hill

We’re all guilty of procrastination at some point in our lives. Everyone puts off unpleasant tasks from time to time. Our modern day life, which claims to help us be extra efficient, is laden with landmines of procrastination. According to researchers at Florida State University, it is well documented that interacting with a mobile phone is associated with poorer performance on concurrently performed tasks because limited attentional resources must be shared between tasks. Americans are viewing their phones more than ever before - an average of 52 times per day. The easiest way to cut back on this? Turn off your push notifications - all of them. However, problems arise when procrastination begins to impact your life experience negatively. For example, if chronic procrastination extends to matters of health and self-improvement, you may be at risk of adverse outcomes. Chronic procrastinators always have trouble completing tasks. Signs of chronic procrastination include:

  • You have difficulty coping with changes and transitions

  • You’re chronically late

  • Your to-do list in never ending

  • You focus on non-essential work rather than what needs to be done

You can also procrastinate based on the task itself. One common pitfall of situational procrastination is that we either maximize the effort, or we minimize it. We either exaggerate how much time or effort it will take to complete a task, or we minimize it’s impact (eg: “No one will watch this video anyway”). Here are some common ways we allow ourselves to delay doing what we need to do:

  • Avoidance: not going to the location, for example, avoiding your home office when you know you need to tidy up.

  • Distraction: surfing the internet rather than tackling our to-do list.

  • Comparison: I may not have finished my project, but some people haven’t even started theirs!

  • External blaming: blaming your boss, family, or other outside elements for your inability to complete a task.

  • Denial: pretending that whatever you’re working on at the moment is more critical than the project you’re avoiding.

​The above list probably feels all too familiar! Most of us can recognize when we’re procrastinating and justify our actions. But with just a little effort, we could use that same energy towards admitting our procrastination and developing techniques for motivating ourselves for greater productivity.

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