Many people have experienced procrastination. Procrastination is when someone cannot start something they need to accomplish, e.g., working on an essay, project or studying for an exam. Instead, they spent the time browsing social media, gaming, snacking, watching tv or anything else except to start on that project or study. It is not wrong to do all these. Still, when it is at the expense of the more urgent task that they need to do, or when it is a form of avoiding the job they need to do, they might be procrastinating.
So why do people procrastinate even though they know it will lead to poor outcomes, such as performing poorly at work or failing your exam?
No one intentionally procrastinates. People procrastinate due to fear. Fear of failure is often the underlying cause of procrastination. People often procrastinate because they are anxious that they cannot produce the desired result. The more anxious they feel, the more they feel afraid to start working on that project. Another reason for procrastination is extreme pressure to do exceedingly well or lack of motivation. People may procrastinate if they find the task is not enjoyable or have a sense of loss, e.g., not knowing where to start or the previous history of disappointment may also cause procrastination.
It may be helpful to break the task into smaller, easier to accomplish. For example, start with 45 to 60 minutes of studying and a 5-minute break, which is less daunting. Use a visual or a prompt like a to-do list or setting a timer to motivate you. You may also motivate yourself through a reward system such as a word of encouragement or a short internet browsing after a particular hour of working on the project. If you feel anxious, take a deep breath and imagine the reward at the end of the project. It will also be helpful to process with a professional counsellor or psychotherapist to find the underlying cause and reduce the fears associated with it.
Restoring Peace Counselling & Consultancy provides counselling for those who struggle with procrastination and avoidance challenges. Visit us at www.restoringpeace.com.sg or Whatsapp us at +65 8889 1848 for more information.
Keywords, procrastination, motivation, stress, anxiety, pressure