Chapter: 26 Avoid Procrastination

Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is the habit of putting off tasks even that task is important.

Many of you have certainly procrastinated in some point of your life. You may have put off your studying tasks to the last day before exam. You may have put off your homework to the last minute. These are just few examples of procrastination. Procrastinating habit not only wastes your time but also makes you less productive, lazy, unsuccessful and causes feeling of regret.

So, without wasting anytime I would like to show you two major causes of procrastination, which are:

1. Lack of desire to do the task.

2. Fear of doing something.

1. Lack of desire to do the task:

To complete any task easily you need stronger desire to do that task. But if desire to do any task is less, then procrastination occurs. Have you ever noticed why you procrastinate to study, to do your work, exercise etc? But why don’t you procrastinate to play games, watch T.V., do chatting etc? This is because to do hard-work you lack desire but to get entertained and recreated you have great desire.

2. Fear of doing something:

Due to fear also many people procrastinate. For example, you are procrastinating to participate in speech contest because you think you don’t know how to prepare and present speech. But when you dig deep down to find the reason, the reason may be that you fear public speaking or fear of making mistake.

Well, every problem has its own solution, so procrastination also has its own solutions which are:

i. Avoid being perfectionist:

Perfection is the thing which we all want. But you should be clear that perfection shouldn’t be taken as thing to be achieved but it should act as a direction to be better and better. There is no perfect thing. Human beings are also imperfect, so we have such a large space to improve ourselves, which makes life exciting.

Perfection is the enemy of good.

But what mistake people do is, they regard perfection as a thing to be achieved and wants to achieve it. Being perfectionist is the major reason why daily routine of many students won’t work. For example, whenever a student makes his routine, he tries to manage all his activity in a best way possible. And next day, when he makes mistake, even small mistake he starts to feel regret and disappointed for not being able to follow the routine perfectly. After sometime he will says, “From tomorrow I will follow the routine perfectly.” Then he put off all of his remaining scheduled tasks and ends up watching T.V or doing something useless. And again when next day comes, then again he makes mistake somewhere and again he put off all his scheduled tasks for tomorrow. In this way, this type of cycle continues for few days and at the end, he throws that routine into dustbin.

If this above mentioned story resembles to your daily life then what you should do is ignore all the past mistakes and forgive yourself. At such condition, instead of wasting your precious time by putting off your remaining tasks, if you had tried to complete such remaining tasks then you could have done far better.

Like this, you might have put off various tasks because of fear of not being able to finish those tasks in a perfect way. For example, you might have put off to participate in quiz, speech, sports etc. because you think that you are not perfect enough to win or perfect time hasn’t come yet.

Always remember,

“Winning means being not afraid to lose”

-Frank Tarkenton

Don’t wait for being perfect, don’t wait for perfect time. Because there is no perfect thing nor there is perfect time.

“Don’t wait for iron to get hot but make it hot by striking.”

If you wait for perfect time or being perfect, then you will have to wait for whole life. Remember,

“It’s now or never.”

ii. How to deal when things don’t go your way?

Life is not a self made dream. So, things always don’t happen as our wish. Sometimes situation may get extremely irritating or out of our control. For example, sometimes you may oversleep, you may miss your bus, lose your keys, books and so on. In such condition, you become extremely angry, anxious and you may even feel like not doing anything. Such situation can be self degrading.

To move ahead from this type of situation you can go through below mentioned steps:

      1. At first, realize what has happened? If it is your mistake then admit it. If you think it isn’t your mistake then find out who has caused it? Realize situation could have been more worse. For example, instead of losing Rs 10, you could have lost your whole purse or something more expensive.
      2. Find out what kind of impact it has created? Find out the solution to reduce the impact? If you can’t find the solution then let it go. But realize one thing that being angry, irritated and inactive will only affect you and make situation more worse.“For every minute you get angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
      3. Find out the reasons that have caused it? Find out how can you prevent such things in future? Try to just relax and find out what to do next. Don’t get frustrated.


iii. Think in a long term way:

When you watch T.V or get involved in useless task then you start to put off your important tasks like doing homework, studying etc to the last hour. This is because you regard homework as only small task. Research has proved that if you link any activity with long term reward or gain then you will try more to achieve that activity. So, instead of thinking homework as small task, if you regard it as more important task then you will get more desire to do it. So, think about your homework in this way: ”If I don’t do my homework then my teacher will punish me, my grade will go down, I will be regarded as negligence student, I may even be beaten publicly…..” And if possible try to link in this way also, “If I do my homework then I will be able to learn more and get better, I will be regarded as good student…….”


iv. Increase the desire:

Do you think you have a strong desire to do an activity which you want to do? If you have, then there is less chance of putting off that task. But if you lack the desire then you can go through below mentioned steps:

        1. Find out why you want to do that task.
        2. What kind of change will occur in your life by doing that task?
        3. Remember, the situation or thing what motivate you to do that activity? For example, may be you want to study because your teacher had scolded you, your friends had teased you for your low grades etc… And try to remember how you had felt at that situation.

Repeat this process whenever you lack desire to do any activity you want.



Other quick and short term methods which you can use to end procrastination are:

i. Focus on starting:

Many times people procrastinate because they focus on finishing the task. When one focuses on finishing the task, then the task appears to be more difficult than it actually is. For example, imagine your teacher has given you 10 pages homework. If you say I am going to do 10 pages homework then you will feel less motivated and more bored to do your homework. But if you say, I am only going to do 1 page homework, then it appears to be easier and less boring to do. And once you get started, keep on doing it as much as you can and don’t stop even after finishing 1 page.

In this way, if you just focus on starting rather than finishing then there will be less chance of procrastination.


ii. Give yourself reward:

If you work hard then you will ultimately get rewarded. But sometimes we have to wait little more time for getting reward. For example, imagine you are preparing for exam which is 3 months ahead. In the beginning you may feel motivated to study hard. But after few days your motivation will start to go down and you start to procrastinate. To avoid this kind of situation you can create a reward system. Give yourself reward whenever you finish certain tasks. Reward must be according to the difficulty level of tasks, that means harder the work, greater the reward should be. But don’t give yourself reward when you don’t accomplish the task.

By creating reward system your mind will start to relate “hard work=more reward”. With the passage of time when doing of the tasks becomes habit then you don’t need reward to do tasks.


iii. Do nothing:

How many times you have put off your homework tasks to watch T.V., to have fun or to get involved in short term pleasuring tasks? Perhaps, many times. Remember short term gain is long term pain. In such case do nothing, don’t watch T.V. neither do other pleasuring tasks, just sit down. And observe your breathing. If you can, then think of consequences of not doing your important tasks and rewards of doing your important tasks.

After sometime, you will automatically get motivated to do your tasks.

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