Factors That Trigger Procrastination & Putting a Stop to This Daily Life Evil
Afra Nawar Jahin
General Member of Research & Publication | BIZ BEE
Sep 2, 2021
Procrastination & How Should We Stop Doing It?
Opshora is just another university student who has deadlines for three assignments on the upcoming Thursday, which is four days later. She is very aware of the deadlines and trying her best not to procrastinate. She even downloaded a time management app to schedule her tasks and finish them before the deadline. But within 20 minutes of working on her first assignment, she decides to watch a 25-minute-long episode of her favorite sitcom and then, get to work again. However, after starting to watch the sitcom, she does not stick to only one episode. She watches three episodes and wastes 75 minutes when she has barely worked on her very first assignment. Not to mention, she still has two more assignments to complete.
Does she feel guilty?
Does she want to work on her assignments and remove the burden as soon as possible?
Then why is she not working and wasting her time instead?
-Because she is a procrastinator.
We all know what procrastination is. It is the act of putting off tasks until the last minute or even past the deadline. A person who procrastinates is called a procrastinator. But, do we know why people procrastinate? What is the point of delaying tasks until the last minute when it is always the best option to finish the tasks early? Does laziness have anything particularly to do with procrastination? Laziness is not exactly the reason why people procrastinate. Also, people often mix procrastination with poor time management skills. But procrastination is not even about time management. From the given example, we can see that Opshora downloaded a time management app to maintain a proper schedule for finishing her tasks. So, procrastination is neither about laziness nor poor time management. Then, what is procrastination about?
Emotions. Procrastination mostly happens due to negative emotions. Procrastination is a way of coping with some challenging emotions like anxiety, boredom, insecurity, self-doubt, frustration, and so on. In a 2013 study, it is found that procrastination is “the primacy of short-term mood repair over the longer-term pursuit of intended actions.” When a person does not like the tasks, he is given, he has a higher chance to procrastinate to get rid of boredom. Also, when a person doubts his own ability to do the task with utter perfection, he is most likely to put off the tasks until it is too late. A procrastinator usually thinks he procrastinates to feel better but it ends up making him feel much worse. To get rid of negative emotions, he ends up pushing himself towards negative results. From the example, Opshora was procrastinating to cope with the boredom of doing her assignments. But, in the end, if she fails to submit those assignments within due time, she has a huge chance of getting a poorer grade. Even if she submits her assignments within the deadline but only by finishing those at the last minute, she will feel more stressed and her assignments will not be perfect like they wanted in the first place. So, is there any way to ignore or fight these challenging emotions and get rid of procrastination?
Yes, there is. Although it is not going to happen overnight, one must keep trying harder for a long period to get rid of procrastination. There are indeed some old and healthy ways to get rid of procrastination, but one needs to keep practicing.
Trying to develop inquisitiveness:
When a person feels like he must procrastinate to feel better, he must constantly keep working on developing a sense of inquisitiveness and asking himself, “Why should I procrastinate? Am I going to get any benefits out of it? Would it eventually make me feel better or worse? What would be the result if I procrastinate?”
Considering the next activity:
Focusing only on the next activity helps to calm one’s nerves. For example, if a person thinks, “What would happen if I started researching on that certain topic which I’m not going to? Well, let me see if it is as interesting as they say it.” By doing this, without even realizing it, a person can complete his task just by focusing on his next activity one by one.
Making the urges more inconvenient:
When a person procrastinates, he usually chooses the tasks which are more convenient and enjoyable for him to do. From the example, Opshora thinks that watching some episodes from her favorite sitcom is undoubtedly easier and more interesting than doing her assignments. What if she made watching the episodes more difficult for her? She could cancel her Netflix subscription if she watched it on Netflix or for that matter, any other app. If she kept the sitcom downloaded on her phone or computer, she could delete those so that she had to download it again to watch it, which is more time-consuming and tiring. This method is like getting rid of procrastination with the help of procrastination. On the other hand, this method can be used oppositely by making important but difficult tasks easier.
If Opshora or any other procrastinator in the world is patient enough to practice getting rid of procrastination rather than wasting time, it is not impossible to control the negative emotions and stop procrastinating.