Procrastination is the act of putting off or delaying something that requires immediate action, like performing a task, doing a mission, achieving a dream, or facing personal and social problems. Some may call procrastination a habit, some will say it is a disorder, but for me I consider it as a disease: A disease I’ve been battling since time immemorial.
I’ve always believed that this is common for high school and college students, you postpone completing a project or reviewing for an examination until it’s hours before the deadline, but I’ve been out of school for about eight years now and I am still suffering from this. I perfectly acknowledge that it is because of my own doing, I don’t attribute it all to technology, to my work, with my relationship or even with my social life. There is like an invisible magnet pulling me from doing anything I intend to do, and that I am helpless and weak to even fight, as a result, I just succumb to it. However, I couldn’t dismiss the fact that, that is only an excuse and that I only have myself to blame for procrastinating.
Why is it difficult to start a task I ought to do? Is it because of fear? Scared that I wouldn’t be satisfied with the outcome that’s why I stalled it for as long as I can? With regard to my personal and social issues, is it because I hate confrontation and I just wait until it’s about to burst and have no other choice but to face it? What about accomplishing my dreams when I know that doing what I have to do is for my own good, then why do I have to procrastinate?
What causes me to procrastinate?
1. Laziness. My daily routine is somewhat unvarying, I go to work, I finish my duty, take my dinner, watch TV and then sleep. That pretty much sums up my daily activity and after a long day, once I am home all I want to do is relax, sit down and basically do nothing.
2. I-am-not-good-enough mentality. I always wanted to learn how to play musical instruments, I always dreamt of writing a novel, I wished to be fluent in Mandarin, but somehow they remain as they were before, dreams. A lot of what ifs arise that obstruct me from doing the things I want to do; what if after a month of learning to play I still wouldn’t get it? What If I finish writing a novel and nobody likes it for it ended up mediocre, or worse, what if nobody reads it.
3. Technology. With the advent of smartphones and social media sites, everyone has become so busy. I could just sit down and use Facebook or Instagram oblivious of the fact that it has been an hour of purely scrolling, checking pictures, condescends friends’ posts, scrutinizing people’s sentences and secretly judging them. (This is cruel, I know)
4. Fear. Everyone fears the future, even if some wouldn’t admit it. I am scared on what will happen once I take the big step for there is a 50% chance that it will fail. I am frightened that I won’t be able to live up to everybody’s expectations.
5. Ardently wishing that the problem will just go away. Sometimes I know that there is already a problem or that an argument is imminent, I just choose to ignore it. It is either I hate confrontation or I think that arguing will just prove to be futile. And deep inside me, I fervently wish that the problem will solve itself that I don’t need to face it and that I don’t have to have awkward conversation with anyone.
6. Prefer doing the more pleasurable things than the less pleasurable things. It doesn’t take a genius to explain why I tend to do more pleasurable things than the less pleasurable even if the less pleasurable one is more important than the other. Would I rather do first and fix the faucet than watch my favorite movie currently playing on TV knowing that I can do the former later? Or start to write a novel first before checking my Facebook account? The answer would be a resounding NO. (I know I should be ashamed)
7. Lack of motivation. There are things I want to do because I only want to feel good about myself, it may not be a bad thing, but I have a hard time getting the motivation to do those things. If I am not motivated I may not rush into doing those things thinking that it is only gratifying for me, that’s vanity.
Is procrastination curable?
Aside from there is no medicine to cure this, some tricks that I read on the internet just seem to not work on me. But I just cannot give up, I still have to find ways to cure it, even if to just lessen it before it’s too late and there is nothing left but regrets. That is why I’ve come up with my own list not to try to cure but to help prevent often procrastination.
1. Make a to-do list and always crossed out the tasks I accomplished. Making a to-do list and crossing out the things I’ve done can show me of the progress I make to give me a certain feeling of accomplishment.
2. 20-minute rule. Allot a minimum of 20 minutes per day, better do it with an alarm, and start working on something. Be it doing household chores being put off a long time or just exercising only put in mind that it is only 20 minutes of your 24 hours, its nothing.
3. Set a deadline. Setting a due date for a task helps me consider the urgency of the matter, allowing me to do it immediately leaving postponement out of the picture.
4. Find something to motivate me. Whether it’s the prospect of reward or a guarantee of a bright future, whatever it is I have to find it.
5. Divide the task into small parts. If I am doing a project, it is much better to divide it into small section. I take a rest every other section and it helps a lot counting the sections I’ve done and sections left behind.
6. Asking someone to help me. Asking a favor from a friend can help not only making things done faster but also guaranteeing that I am having fun doing it.
7. Asking someone to push me into doing it. I sometimes ask my wife, my family or my friends to remind me of the things I needed to do and I ask them not to stop bugging me until it’s done.
Same with me, some of this tricks may not be for everybody as well. No matter how much we age and we mature, procrastination is sporadic, it will happen and sometimes you just cannot control it. But one thing I am sure of is that, if I need to accomplish something, I must do it, NO excuses. No “do it later,’ but always “DO it Now.”