One of the Leading Reasons of Our Being Always Late: Procrastination

Posted under Procrastination on Wednesday 20 August 2008 at 11:24 pm

In college, when I used to receive a task to write an essay and bring it to my instructor in 7 days, I was usually saying to myself: “Well, I have a plenty of time, I’ll be back to this assignment later on”. Two or three days after I used to think: “Maybe I should start dealing with the paper already?” The fifth day was always critical: by that time the necessity to start working on the assignment had been pressing a lot, therefore, I used to try imitating the work on the essay by creating a new file in my PC and looking through some related pages in the course book or in Internet. In the end of the ends, in the majority of the situations I was getting to the point in around 2-3 hours before the deadline. Chronic exhaustion, stresses, lack of success and personal progress, low self-esteem – those were the outcomes of my usual practice to put things off all the time.

ProcrastinationDo I need to mention, in how many other ways the habit to procrastinate can affect your life? People can lose their businesses and fortunes, lose their friendships and destroy their lives because of procrastination. Unfortunately, a real danger of the problem of chronic procrastination has not been fully recognized by our society yet. Moreover, many specialists tend to connect this problem with time management and inability of a procrastinator to plan his/her time. This is a great misinterpretation of this problem, and trying to help procrastinators by giving them recommendations to improve their time management skills is a big mistake!

Some experts tend to define procrastination as “an addictive disorder”, or simply as an addiction. Yes, all procrastinators do have a strong addiction: they try to escape from doing the things they do not want or hate doing by one or another reason. Therefore, they choose to postpone doing things, like other addicts use substances to postpone dealing with mental or psychological problems they face. As a solution for the problem of putting things off all the time, many psychologists offer looking for a reason of your procrastination and trying to eliminate it. Well, do you believe that it is really going to work? No way! Chronic procrastination is something like alcoholism or drug abuse: will an alcoholic stop drinking if he finds the reason that has brought him to drinking?

As I could observe, all chronic procrastinators have a cyclic way of living with their problem. Usually, when they figure out that their life has become unmanageable and their habit of putting things off is getting out of their hand, they start feeling guilty about their helplessness or not doing anything to change their habit. They check out information on the net or look for some books and articles related to the problem, learn all those easy tips on how to get rid of chronic procrastination, and make up their mind to start a new life without procrastination. Next morning they make a list of the things thy need to do, schedule everything very precisely and feel very proud of their work! Yes, sometimes they even have enough of willpower to complete some first tasks on that list! Finally, they think: “Hey, that was a good start! I got a great progress!” And after this – everything goes on the same way as it was before: panic before the deadlines in school, doing the work in the last minute, being late and frustrated.

This example is quite an illustrative picture. Real chronic procrastination is a very hard problem – probably, the hardest one that we will have to fight with. Getting rid of this terrible habit is connected with a very responsible approach to SAYING what you are going to do and DOING what you have said. That is why a huge motivation will be necessary. But I’ll tell you what: do not wait till you have “a dentist situation”, when your delays of going to the dentist have led you to the necessity to remove all your decaying teeth and replace them with implants. Getting the job done on time is much easier and more pleasant, isn’t it?