Quick Questions: What does procrastination mean? Why do people procrastinate so much? Is procrastination a mental illness? What can we do to overcome it?

We often have these questions in our minds. If you want to know the answers to these questions then keep reading till the end.

While most of us think of procrastination as “laziness” or lacking “willpower,” it goes a bit deeper than that.
⁣According to research from Dr. Piers Steel, a professor of motivational psychology at the University of Calgary, “Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond."⠀

This means that procrastination is not a time management problem but an emotional regulation problem! Mind blown? Yup, me too.⁣

There are various reasons due to which we procrastinate, some of them are- we are emotionally drained, we are afraid of finishing a task as it may leave us open to external criticism, we are afraid of the outcomes, sometimes it is due to the adaptive mechanism ( which basically means a mechanism in which we then to require time to get used to the environment of the place, or work atmosphere at all stages emotionally, mentally and physically as well!).

Now let us, deep-dive, into the ways in which we can overcome procrastination -

Work through your emotions -

We should start by “acknowledging procrastination” like asking ourselves that, What am I putting off? How long have I been putting this off? Then, We should try to “analyze which kind of emotion is putting ourselves back” is it fear, boredom, anxiety, stress, or anything else. We need to figure this out. After that, we should “identify the behavior”, as to when we are in a condition what response do we give at that point of time. Lastly, we need to “challenge our emotions” so that we get a clear image of how we should react when we start procrastinating.

Chunking -

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This method basically means breaking down large tasks into smaller tasks. When we break down large tasks into small tasks the process becomes less intimidating and allows us to simply focus on the very next step. For example: Writing an essay is a large task. We can break this task into smaller tasks like - Create an outline, write the introduction, write three main points in each paragraph of the body, write paragraphs one by one, and then fish it with a conclusion.

Do the task for just a few minutes -

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When we procrastinate we not only spend time doing “wrong tasks” but we also delay in starting the “right tasks”. Starting doing our tasks is the toughest thing that we'll face. But one of the best ways to overcome procrastination is to start doing the tasks. When we start doing our work and stick to it for a few minutes, there are high chances that we will continue to do that task until we finish it.

There is a famous saying, "If you put off everything till you're sure of it, you'll never get anything done." SO START FROM TODAY!

- Moulshree Sarwate