In many facets of our lives, including jobs, relationships, and health, we may “put things off.”
Procrastinating has little to do with the management of time and more to do with the management of mood.
“Of all the popular messages that define our very existence, few, from creator Kimberly King Parsons, are as universal as this one: “Took Me Eleven Minutes to Do The Things I’ve Been Delaying for Three Months: A Memoir.
We really can’t make ourselves do things sometimes! Last month, when I asked people to talk about occasions when they had decided not to do anything they should only… do… my mentions were inundated. A few examples which are representative:
“In February, I had a passport photo taken. Since then, it’s been sitting on my dresser so it won’t take me 10 minutes to complete the renewal form and mail it in.
“Bonfe took $8/month FOR A YEAR from me because I was too lazy to call and cancel or just answer calls and cancel when they called me to arrange maintenance of the furnace.”
Yesterday, I changed an outside bulb. It took me three minutes from the start to the finish. For two years, he was burned out.
Two years ago, I purchased a car and stopped purchasing a city sticker that I was legally forced to park in the city of Chicago for almost as long. All I have to do is send an email with one (1). Next year, maybe.’
Whether that’s observing your plants wither for weeks before repotting them (the total time to finish: six minutes) or waiting until you’re pulled over to fix the registration sticker that’s been outdated for a year (that was me, I did this), a lot of people are procrastinating on all sorts of little stuff.
Exactly, why? If it’s quite easy to do the things, and if it can be serious or very difficult to have the effects of not doing the thing, why do so many of us look the other way?
Joseph Ferrari, a DePaul University professor of psychology in Chicago and author of Still Procrastinating? The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done told VICE that people have looked at this form of procrastination for a long time as carelessness or dysfunction when it is really a tactic for avoidance. Ferrari said, “It’s not time management, it’s a much more complex concept.”
As a time management issue, people talk about procrastination because that’s what it looks like on the surface, right? ‘Said Fuschia Sirois, who is pursuing procrastination at Sheffield University and has co-edited the book Procrastination, Fitness, and Well-Being. But it doesn’t necessarily have a thing to do with time management. It has to do with control of mood.
Here are a few of the various factors why, as per scholars, we resist relatively easy tasks, along with ways that we can try to handle our procrastination and get things done.
You put off a mission, and there’s… no excuse not to put off a task.
Procrastinating on minor issues can have economical, personal, and professional implications. But sometimes there aren’t any! Remember the passport photo that was sitting around waiting for you to mail in the application for 10 minutes? Why waste even that much time on it when travel is out of the question because of an ongoing pandemic?
Likewise, Ferrari pointed out that we do not live in a community that helps us to get things done early. The government might claim, “File by February 15th, if you owe money on your taxes, and we’ll take a percentage off.” They don’t, so why pay before April?
“In our community, we get blamed for being late,” Ferrari said. “We don’t get praised for being early.” And you can extend that to any job that needs to be completed as you internalize the message that there is no point in being early.
Tim Pychyl, an associate professor at the Department of Psychology and head of the Carleton University Procrastination Study Project, said enjoying the stuff you’ve done will help get around this. “As opposed to the negative feelings we have at the moment, we have to concentrate on the good feelings we will have when we achieve the objective,” Pychyl said.
It might sound cheesy, but even if you don’t have a list of things to do, write down the things you’ve accomplished or those you’ve begun! Check them off and consider them as your day’s winnings. That, too, will provide you with the optimistic emotions that make you do more. Pychyl said, “They give you a sense of success.”
And what’s cool is that once you start, your optimistic feelings about doing the task are actually fuelled by the progress. “It is one of the few times we see an upward spiral that advancement fuels well-being and leads to more advancement.”
There’s something about the task itself that trips you up and the way you feel about it.
“Procrastination is an evasive coping method,” Sirois said. How do I navigate uncomfortable emotions about the paperwork I need to do? I know, I’m going to set down the assignment and feel better about it. Oh, I’m already getting better. You were only controlling your mood by slacking.
Sirois said one common way that procrastination occurs is when we feel lost. We are less likely to tackle it with gusto when a job is new to us, unfamiliar, or feels large and meaningful, like applying for a credit card or tweaking a resume. It’s a fairly simple equation: more avoidance equals less confidence.
Or maybe you feel inept or nervous about a job because you’re concerned about how you will be judged by others for doing it. We hear a lot about self-confidence, but Ferrari said it is just as important to have social esteem. “People are very, very worried about how others feel about them.” There is a propensity to say, “I would prefer people to think that I lacked effort rather than ability.”
Even if it’s little things like taking five seconds to write a text or answer an email, the fear of messing up will prevent you from starting in the first place. And if you do a decent job, on the other hand,… Oh, what if you can’t keep it up? What if, next time, you can’t do it as well?
It might be as easy as the fact that it’s not fun to do the assignment. People are hard-wired pleasure seekers, according to Sirois, which means that if the things you put off is even a little uncomfortable or needs effort, it is easy to put it off if it veers slightly left of neutral into “not very fun” territory, even if you know you can knock it out in less time than it takes you to rewatch an episode of 30 Rock.
To try to trick yourself into correcting behavior that is fundamentally emotional, you use logic.
There is a common theme to all of the explanations for putting things off: they are linked to negative emotions. Pychyl said that procrastination is an emotion-focused coping mechanism’ at its heart.
“We’re faced with a task that makes us feel awful for whatever reason,” Pychyl told VICE. Frustration, boredom, anger, anxiety, there’s a negative emotion attached to the mission, whatever it is. “Pychyl said, “Your emotional brain, your limbic organ, has got you. “And it gives you a nice shake.”
Many of the common tips provide logical strategies for moving through procrastination: cut the job into tiny pieces, rearrange your schedule, go for a walk, and close the 47 tabs you have open. And sometimes, to a degree, and for some individuals, certain items may be beneficial.
But the issue is that these are logical answers to an unreasonable problem that is emotional. Sirois said yes, “you can make what I call ‘less procrastinogenic’ your environment. But don’t think that’s going to be the solution.” Instead, she said to look at this as the scaffolding on which your other attempts would have to be constructed.
Sirois said to start by making sure you have all the knowledge and tools you need if it’s a lack of trust that causes you to put off a mission. Are the directions definite? You’ve got questions? You probably won’t keep going if you’re ill-equipped at the start.
Second, deal with that, and you’ll reduce the confusion and make it easier to get started. And you can build it up into something that’s far more than what it really is when you overthink a job.
You’re caught in a spiral of guilt.
Procrastinators tend to be deficient in self-compassion, according to Sirois. They are unkind to themselves; they believe that nobody else procrastinates and that they are bad people because of their propensity to drag their feet. The thing is,” she said, “no one else thinks that! You drive it, you stir up even more negative feelings.
If you avoid a job because you already have negative feelings about it, and now, on top of that, you are concerned about how you will be viewed, you will just avoid it even more. “Your inner critic pipes up and becomes increasingly mean: “Why haven’t you already done this? “Rapidly becomes “Why are you such a total screw?
Sirois said, “All that self-criticism does, then, is create more negative feelings about the assignment, which just makes you want to avoid it all the more.” That’s why these things drag on.” Instead of what you’re avoiding, you might start thinking more about the waiting itself, a pattern called “procrastinatory cognition,” in other words, ruminating about your own procrastination.”
Sirois said that they prefer to go straight to asking “What’s wrong with me?” when people are being avoided. which does not fix the issue or provide any real insight. They should ask themselves instead, “Why am I having trouble with this assignment?”
You’re not looking for assistance.
Depression seems to be a lonely struggle, but everyone does it actually! And that means that it can still be spoken about. “Sirois said, “Recognize that you are not the first person to meditate, nor are you going to be the last. “Everybody’s doing that. I think that’s a very powerful message: in terms of the remorse and embarrassment, people sometimes feel, to normalize it and take the edge off.
It can also help you get through it by thinking about it. Sirois helped perform a study that showed that some of the tension that makes procrastination happen can be minimized by social support. You say, “I’m struggling with this, can I vent?” There’s emotional social support. “And there is social support for information, which looks like asking, “Have you ever done this? Could you give me another little advice? ”
There’s a catch, of course: it won’t be easy for those who have internalized negative social expectations around procrastinating to seek that help. Being kind to yourself rather than harsh will make it easier to ask for support.
In the Ten minutes, it took to read these tips, don’t expect you to get rid of the urge to procrastinate, and try not to be too harsh on yourself. “As Sirois said, “You’re only going to drive to procrastinate more by yourself.
And it might be time to speak to a therapist if this conduct has become a daily occurrence, the kind of things that paralyzes you in your personal and professional life or prevents you from achieving your goals. A symptom of mental illnesses, anxiety, and ADHD may be excessive procrastination; a mental health counselor may be able to tell you more.
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