It is normal to set aside things that we do not feel like doing from time to time. However, there is an extent that habitual procrastination can lower competence in career, social life, and even mental health. Some cases of severe anxiety are due to procrastination. Hence, it will need professional help or counseling to prevent other secondary effects like depression.
Types Of Procrastination
It is harmless to put off tasks for a while sometimes. However, the practice of procrastination takes precious seconds of our time that should be for rest, personal growth, and quality time with friends and family.
Here are three types of procrastination. Where can you see yourself?
- Passive Procrastination
This type is the most basic kind of procrastination. Tasks are not completed or even started because of the person’s indecisiveness to act because of the feeling of paralysis. Instead of doing what is required, the person often sleeps, play games or a bunch of unimportant stuff.
2. Active Procrastination
Most literature states this as a positive type of procrastination. Active procrastinators deliberately choose to do things at the last minute. These people work better under pressure. Most of the time, the motivation of active procrastinators is the deadline of the task. With the clock ticking, there is an adrenaline rush that keeps them very focused.
But, things may go wrong while hustling to beat the deadline. Emergencies may come up while you are doing the task at hand such as, for instance, the computer breaking down or a power outage in the middle of writing an important paper.
Furthermore, anxiety may also build up from the practice of active procrastination which may result in an eventual decline in competence and performance.
3. Active-Passive Procrastination
Active-passive procrastinators set aside tasks, and they do not deliberately decide to do things on the last minute. Instead, they do stuff that is quite productive such as cleaning their rooms, doing laundry, practicing an instrument, or even working on an assignment where its due date is still far-fetched just because they enjoy it more.
However, active-passive procrastinators may end up being the same as the second or first type where they either hustle to beat the deadline and compromise quality or failing altogether in completing the task.
Practical Tips On How To Procrastinate Less And Do More
One of the main barriers to productivity is procrastination. Even if a person is an active-passive procrastinator, time is still wasted because he or she is not doing things in the right order. Here are some practical tips to beat this behavior:
- Set A Time Frame
A big project can be very overwhelming, and it is easier to set tasks like this aside. Upon receiving an assignment, you should be able to identify the estimated amount of time to complete it.
“Fear makes us feel alive and know we are stepping outside our comfort zones, which is exciting,” says Steve Orma, PsyD, a clinical psychologist. So, first, set a deadline for yourself. Ideally, this should be at least a day before the actual deadline. It will allow you to have leeway to polish your output or extra time if ever an emergency comes up.
2. Set Small Goals
From the identified timeframe, set small tasks on a schedule. For example, in a paper assignment, set time for research, for writing (you can schedule for each sub-topic if you want to), for proofreading, and further improvements.
(Pro-tip: For an excellent paper, if you have enough time to spare, sleep on it and read the article on the next day. It will allow you to clear your head and make better revisions.
3. Set Reinforcements
To keep the motivation, give yourself some scheduled breaks. Number and length of breaks should be parallel to the allotted time frame. Breaks can be the rewards you give yourself after completing small goals. These can also prevent burnouts, especially on a long-term project.
4. Set Reminders
The best way to stay on track is to write down the schedule and post it where you can see it. Organizational apps can also be very helpful. Some feature an alarm for set goal reminders to keep you on the right phase of the project. “A good way to keep from destroying your self-esteem is by keeping negative self-talk in check. Catch yourself before you go spiraling down the hole of negative thought.” You’ll notice a big difference,” says licensed psychologist Cindy T. Graham, PhD.
The ‘Just Do It’ Attitude
“Happy people make healthier choices,” explains Scott Glassman, PsyD. You can go a long way with these tips. However, discipline is still up to you. There are times that we feel scared that if we do the tasks when we feel lazy, there will be no flow and the output will be bad. But here is a very important pro-tip: the flow happens after you start to work and not before.
You might feel groggy at first, but you have to muster every bit of motivation you have and start.