The Unknown Secret To Stop Procrastination

Tired of feeling discouraged every time you procrastinate? Here's how to solve this problem once and for all!

If you are here, it means you’ve been struggling with procrastination and are looking for a way to solve this problem. Well, first of all, there is no such thing as stopping procrastination. However, you can learn to manage it better and even use it to your advantage.
Here is the secret to stop procrastinating negatively:

1. Understand that procrastination is not a mental illness

There is a lot of misconception around procrastination. Some people think it’s a symptom of OCD or anxiety, and while it is possible for people with mental illnesses to procrastinate, procrastination itself is not an illness. Some people think it’s a sign of laziness and bad time management, which is also not always true. Everyone is different and there are many causes that can explain procrastination, so first, you need to find why you procrastinate.

2. Figure out why you procrastinate

Humans are always hungry for pleasure. We naturally prefer to do things that make us happy, it’s normal. Often, people will procrastinate on a task because they know it will not bring them joy, and so they don’t feel like doing it. Let’s take an example. You have to write a 500-word essay, but your friend offers you to go get some ice cream because the weather is just perfect. Obviously, you’ll want to get ice cream. It’s a natural response and your brain will gladly make up excuses as to why you need to go get that ice cream. Excuses like: “The weather is so nice it would be a shame to just sit at my computer. I can write my essay later when it’s dark out.”
Of course, in some cases, this could be a great decision. Like if your essay is only due in two weeks and you do end up writing it in the evening, it won’t be so bad to go get ice cream with your friend. It’s important to have fun. But if it’s due the next day, and you haven’t even started yet, it might not be such a good decision. This is where procrastinating becomes a problem.

3. Find out why you can't stop procrastinating

As we’ve mentioned, procrastinating on an unpleasant task is a natural response, which is why it is so hard to control. It’s almost like you’re fighting your instinct. This is why, no matter what you try, in the long term, you will never be able to completely stop procrastinating. But don’t get discouraged! If you can’t beat it, use it.

4. Don't run behind perfection because perfectionists tend to procrastinate more

It is true that perfectionists tend to procrastinate more. Wanting a task to be perfectly done is an impossible desire, but perfectionists tend to forget that. So, they’ll push back finishing a task until they feel is the perfect moment. Or they will procrastinate starting the task because they’re not confident they’ll do a good, or perfect job. They might even procrastinate turning it in because they feel it needs more work.
Being a perfectionist myself, I can say that this is not a good mix. You cannot procrastinate and then expect the work to be perfectly done. It doesn’t work that way.

5. Carefully observe what happens when you procrastinate

Procrastination often comes with negative feelings like stress and worthlessness. Procrastinating will cause stress because you’re piling up unpleasant tasks that you will surely have to do one day, and when you do, it will be stressful. You might feel like a failure too, knowing that once again, you gave in. It’s discouraging, it is, and it might seem like a vicious cycle you will never get out of. But that’s not true.

6. Don't ignore the problems caused by procrastination 

Some say they procrastinate because they work better under pressure, which might be true, but might also be bad if not calculated. By doing this, you are giving yourself a lot of unnecessary stress that your body doesn’t need. You might also miss some deadlines, which will either give you a bad mark in school or an unhappy boss at work. However old you are, it’s important to turn in your work on time.

7. Finding out the type of procrastinator you are

There are different types of procrastinators. This mostly depends on the reason why you procrastinate. Some procrastinate starting a task, while others procrastinate finishing it. To stop procrastinating, it's important to find out that which type of procrastinator are you.

In general, there are six types of procrastinators:

  • The perfectionist wants it to be perfect.
  • The dreamer doesn't like to pay attention to details.
  • The worrier worries before even starting.
  • The crisis-maker thinks he works best under pressure.
  • The defier hates that it's imposed.
  • The overdoer takes on too much.

These different types of procrastinators depend on the part of a task that you find unpleasant. This will then impact how you procrastinate.
In my case, I love the feeling of satisfaction when I finish a task. So often, I’ll start a task quickly and try to finish it all in one go. That way, I have instant satisfaction. But for bigger tasks, when I know that isn’t possible, I will still start it quickly, but once I stop, I will have a hard time getting back to it and finishing it. And I’ll admit, sometimes I take longer to start it too. This is true with mandatory tasks, but also with reading a book for example. I’m a bookworm, but sometimes I’ll be halfway through a book and will not touch it for months at a time. Once I start, I never want to stop, so when I have, it’s hard to get back to it.

8. Research about the positive impact of procrastination

One of the good sides of procrastination is that, although it is forced, it does provide motivation. When you know a deadline is approaching, you are motivated to get the task done, whether it is pleasant or not. All your time and energy will go into this one task, and you will probably do a good job. The key is to learn how to find balance and use this to your advantage.

9. Learn how to be a reasonable procrastinator

A good procrastinator still procrastinates but reasonably. You need to learn to procrastinate less and to control it. You might never be like these people who finish their work two weeks in advance, but you don’t have to wait till the last minute either. Just make sure you’re respecting your deadlines.
Instead of doing tasks according to the level of pleasure they give you, do them according to the deadlines.

You’ll soon find that doing tasks on time brings great satisfaction and it will become a new source of pleasure for you. You might still be last minute in some of the tasks, but just make sure you keep some kind of discipline, so you respect deadlines. Give yourself enough time to do a good job.
This way, you can use the motivation that comes with a close deadline, but without the added stress of a bad procrastinator who has 10 other tasks awaiting. If you want to give your full attention to a task, you can’t be thinking about everything else you procrastinated on.
If you’re like me and you like the feeling of satisfaction when you finish a task, split them up. That way you’ll at least have the satisfaction of finishing this one part of the task. Once you know why you procrastinate, you’ll find tricks that work for you.

10. Make procrastination an asset

Procrastination can even become an asset if used correctly. People who don’t procrastinate might be doing their work in advance, but they might have no motivation and no pleasure doing it. Energy and motivation can be felt through your work, so if you’re full of it, it will certainly show through. Just make sure you still give yourself enough time to truly give it all.

In conclusion, some people are natural procrastinators, but it doesn’t always have to be seen as a flaw, or as something you need to fix. Too much of anything is rarely good, so the key is finding out why you procrastinate, and figuring out how you can use it to your advantage. Like I mentioned earlier if you can’t beat it, use it.

The secret to stop procrastinating
source: wp
~ A young gal with a love for words ~ If I'm not writing, I'm reading, drawing, or playing the piano.

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