Sunday, 10 May 2015

All about Procrastination.

Hi guys!

First off, I want to wish "Happy Mother's Day" to all mothers across the world! We (your children) love you and we thank you for bringing us into this world and for all the care, guidance and protection that you have provided us with throughout our lives.

So, a lot of things have been happening in my life lately and as a result I haven't posted anything in a really long time.

However, I have to admit that these past few days I had a lot of free time in my hands that I didn't fully take advantage of. And if there are 2 things you should know about me (that make a lot of sense judging from the previous statement): 1. I'm terrible at time management and 2. I tend to procrastinate... a lot.

Today's post is meant to inform you about everything you need to know about "procrastination", which is an issue that people nowadays are becoming increasingly concerned with. I am aware that it is very long, but I made a lot of effort analyze the topic as much as I could, so please read it if you have the time.




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                     What is procrastination?

  According to various sites the definition of "procrastination" is:
The act of avoiding  or delaying a specific action until a later time mostly because of laziness and low willpower.

  Or, as defined by many psychologists:
It is a mechanism for coping with the anxiety of starting or finishing any task or decision.



  While it is normal for a lot of people to procrastinate to a certain amount, if it becomes a frequent and persistent occurrence in the life of a person, it can lead to stress and anxiety, an enormous sense of guilt and even serious health problems.




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                  Reasons why we procrastinate:

There are a lot of reasons behind the tendency to procrastinate. Some of them are:

1. We find the task too overwhelming for us.
We sometimes are very intimidated by the difficulty of a task or the amount of time needed for us to finish it. We hesitate to begin working on it as we don't know where to start from. Moreover we might also try to avoid it entirely, as it is too tiring and time-consuming and we feel that we have better things to do than waste our energy on this type of work.

2. We don't know how to do something.
We might be unsure of what our next step should be when it comes to a specific situation or project. In order to make the right decision we choose to wait until we have acquired the appropriate knowledge or until we have some inspiration on how to proceed with the task.

3. Doing a specific task involves a form of emotional or physical pain.
Even though procrastinating may not be one of our usual habits, some of us tend to sometimes avoid situations that may cause uncomfortable feelings or emotional pain (like breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend), while some others will avoid taking actions that can cause physical pain (like exercise). We have the natural proneness to avoid things and situations that we are not fond of.

4. We tend to be perfectionists.
For example we refuse to finish a task unless we can guarantee a perfect result, or we hesitate to start a project because we are waiting to come up with the perfect idea.

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                       Personal Experience:

  Procrastination is a habit that has been affecting many aspects of my life ever since I was a child. 

  I remember always trying to avoid the things I hated doing the most -which was mostly studying for school- and delay them until the last minute. I found it very difficult to focus on completing a task and I would easily get distracted every few minutes. It was something like a natural fact; I preferred spending my time doing things that I was interested in, than doing things that caused me mental fatigue. However, I couldn't see how much of an impact that could possibly have on my future. It resulted in a great increase of stress and anxiety as I struggled to finish my assignments just before the end of a deadline. 

  As the years passed, things became more difficult for me as the workload increased. I ended up developing a serious problem at school with my grades and test results because I was having a lot of trouble with persuading myself to study for more than an hour per day. I was not able to fully make use of my abilities and my quality of work was less than average most of the time, so it really took a toll on my self-esteem. 

  I also had to deal with constant pressure from my parents who expected more from me and didn't fail to remind me how lazy I was, to the point where I felt that I had to lie to them about studying when I was really doing something else (But, I really don't hold it against them. The reason why they would scold me was because they thought that it would help me become a better person and not because they really thought I was useless). The worst part was knowing that what I was doing was wrong and feeling terribly guilty, but being completely unable to change my ways.
  
  Ever since I entered college, I honestly have tried very hard to deal with this problem as I'm fully aware of the ways that it can affect my future. But speaking from personal experience, once something becomes a habit, a way of life, it is extremely difficult get rid of.

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                    Solutions to the problem:

I have done a lot of research on today's subject, especially about the ways that someone can counterattack the issue of procrastination, because I think that this is the most important part that you should learn about.

And so, I have gathered a total of 10 simple steps to help you stop procrastinating:

Step 1: Realizing the situation
First of all, you have to realize that procrastination can lead to many problems in the near future. Leaving things for the last minute will result in an unnecessary build-up of stress and anxiety and cause your quality of work to decline.

Step 2: Get motivated
Motivation is very important when you need to focus on completing a task, especially if it's something you have very little interest in doing. You need to think of all the benefits that this action will lead to and convince yourself that it is worth doing. Moreover think about your goals and how much you want to achieve them.

Step 3: Minimize your distractions
Let's be honest; When it comes to carrying out a task you don't want to do, eventually you will start getting distracted by literally anything. You'll try to find any excuse to take unnecessary breaks or avoid the task completely. The best thing you can do to prevent this situation from taking place is to eliminate all possible temptation: shut down your phone and computer (unless the task involves their use), hide away all your video-games and comic books etc.

Step 4: Make a "To-Do" List
Plan your day out and create a list of everything that needs to be done. Work through your tasks, checking off each of them once you're finished. A list will not only help you keep track of what you need to do but it will also remind you of what you have already finished and how much closer you are to your goal with the completion of each chore.

Step 5: Do the harder stuff first
If you leave the harder tasks for last it is almost guaranteed that you will start getting tired and give up. However, if you finish them first then the rest of the things you need to do will be much easier to deal with. Also this way you won't have to rush to finish everything at the last minute, but on the contrary, you'll be able to take your time going through your schedule.

Step 6: Break the work down into parts
As mentioned in another section of this post, a reason why we tend to procrastinate is because we sometimes find the amount of work we have to do too overwhelming. Break your task down into smaller units so that it will seem easier to do and won't intimidate you as much. 

Step 7: Change your environment
Changing your work space can have a great impact on both your willpower and productivity. Choose a place that you feel comfortable to work in, but one that is also quiet and peaceful enough for you to finish your work without any disturbances.

Step 8: Take a break
If you can't seem to focus on what you're doing, then it would be a good idea to give yourself a break. It will help you feel more relaxed and motivated to continue afterwards. If you push yourself too much by trying to finish your work without breaks and as fast as possible, it will affect the quality of the outcome/finished product and it will make it much harder to move on to the rest of the tasks on your schedule. However make sure to time your breaks so that you won't be tempted to extend them.

Step 9: Get a companion
Having a friend around will not only boost your mood but it will also motivate you to work harder on your assignment. Getting your companion to help will also result in finishing the task much faster.

Step 10: Positive and negative reinforcement
When you are finished, review your task. If you have managed to finish within the deadline and you are satisfied with the outcome, reward yourself accordingly (for example, treat yourself to your favorite meal or snack). If you are unsatisfied, then decide on a punishment for yourself (for example, forbid yourself from using your computer or playing video-games for a week).




If you are a victim to procrastination, please remember:
  You have the strength to stand firm against it and you are not alone in this struggle. Some people can't understand what you're going through but there are many others who can, because they face the same problems as you. 
  Procrastination is a problem that affects many of us. Don't hesitate to ask for our help and advice.

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If you liked this post please share it.
Also, please leave a comment with your personal views on the issue of procrastination. I would also like to know, how has procrastination affected your life and relationships with other people and what do you think are some other possible solutions to the problem?

Thanks for reading!

Love, 
Stephanie

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