The power that stops you
There is a major power that seems to stop people from achieving goals, and no, I am not talking about money, it’s called procrastination. In my words, procrastination is the ability some have to not do things when they are supposed to be done. Not because they are hard, not because they require a lot of effort, not because they are tiring, just because of the lack willingness to start doing them. Procrastinators sometimes don’t even do tasks that benefit themselves.
Why does it happen?
There are many discussions about this, some call it the Mechanism of coping with anxiety, some say it’s a mental illness, low self-esteem, or even neurological disorder like ADHD. I guess most people call it laziness.
A procrastinator is normally a perfectionist that does not want to invest his time into something that he might fail at so that he also doesn’t have to deal with disappointment.
Some call it disorganization, saying that the procrastinator should’ve been busy with one task, but is busy doing something else.
It can be for avoidance, a procrastinator will not begin a task, so that at a later stage, he is not responsible for even more tasks that could give him higher responsibilities and expectations from others.
There are a few techniques that can help procrastinators, I have identified two that I believe to be very effective, but overcoming perfectionism seems to be the best way to avoid procrastinating.
This technique is very simple and it even comes with apps for smartphones to help you. All you have to do is make sure you are in a distraction free work space, choose one task, choose a reward, and go for it, 25 mins of work, 5 mins of reward.
Let’s say you need to write an article, about procrastinating, if you choose to write it on your computer and think that Facebook is a distraction, turn off your internet, on your computer and your phone for example, to make sure that you are in a work space that is distraction free. Choose a reward, for example, turning on the internet to check your notifications for 5 mins. If there is a distraction that you notice, that’s not what you predicted, write it down and try to avoid it next time you get ready go work.
This is what I believe to be the best technique, all you have to do is separate your big task, into smaller tasks and take them step by step. Thinking about your to-dos as a big project might be very demotivational, but if you cut them into smaller pieces, it might become easier.
Let me give you my personal experience. I was a horrible chemistry student, I was struggling to learn the periodic table. My dad noticed my struggle and gave me a solution that he had used, instead of focusing on all elements, just pick 2 per day, write them down on a piece of paper, and every time you get a chance, read the paper.
Did this work? Well, no because I am a professional procrastinator so I didn’t even try it. But I can say my dad was also bad at chemistry and then ended up becoming a chemistry teacher, chunking worked very well for him, and it has worked for many people in different areas. Just for the record, it took me 8 months to write this article.
Most procrastinators are very smart, capable and hardworking people. Some examples of well known procrastinators are Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton & Da Vinci. Da Vinci is definitely the most extreme of all, he had a 7 months deadline for the famous Monalisa Painting, it actually took him 15 years to do it. In his life time, he only did 50 works, as a reference we can use Van Gogh, he did 2000.
Procrastinators can spend 50% of their time “doing nothing”, and they are very well aware of this, yet it changes nothing.
What about you? What is your experience with procrastination and how do you deal with it?