Beat procrastination and achieve your goalsWe often find it easier to procrastinate than to put in the effort needed to get the job done.
Every day, we are faced with decisions we must make to move forward in our daily lives. These choices can be simple, like what type of tea to drink or snack to eat, or complex, like finishing work- and school-related projects. However, we often fail to make these choices when it really matters and, instead, choose to procrastinate or delay making a decision, often not knowing that this seemingly harmless habit usually has far bigger repercussions in our life, including negative impacts on mental health.
Procrastination is a common challenge that many people face every day. Many delay or postpone tasks or decisions even when they have to make them because we often find it easier to procrastinate than to put in the effort needed to get the job done.
The thing to understand is that people don’t procrastinate because they don’t want to complete their tasks or activities. When you ask a student why they didn’t complete their homework on time or a co-worker why they failed to meet their deadline, the answer is usually the same—“I thought I had enough time to complete it.” And in most cases, they did have enough time, but they still failed to deliver. This is often surprising for those who don’t procrastinate, as they may wonder, “how can you fail to meet the deadline or complete the homework when we both had the same amount of time to do it?”. But the feeling of “I can do it tomorrow. I still have time,” is so overpowering that people often fail to realise that they have failed at these tasks repeatedly, causing problems in their personal and professional lives.
In addition to this belief, there are other personal factors that can cause individuals to procrastinate. Seeking perfection in their tasks is one reason that can lead people to keep procrastinating because they struggle to meet their own high standards and may put off tasks until they feel they have the perfect plan or are in the perfect mindset to complete them.
Another common factor is the fear of failure, which can be debilitating and cause people to avoid tasks or activities they fear may not be completed successfully. They start to feel that if they are going to fail, it’s just better not to try at all.
The result of all these delays is often increased stress and anxiety. When tasks are constantly being delayed, it leads to frustration and feelings of guilt and shame. When these feelings accumulate, they negatively affect an individual’s mental well-being.
However, the most significant impact of all these delays comes much later in life. Learning how to overcome procrastination can be a step towards improving these aspects of one’s life. By addressing the root causes of procrastination and developing strategies to manage time effectively, individuals can reduce their stress and anxiety.
Setting small, achievable goals rather than tackling a large task all at once can help overcome procrastination. Breaking a task into smaller, more manageable steps can make it feel less overwhelming and easier to complete.
It’s also important to eliminate distractions as much as possible, especially when our devices and apps can easily take our attention away. This might mean finding a quiet place to work, turning off your phone, or setting aside specific times to focus on tasks.
And, if you find yourself feeling guilty for procrastinating and feeling guilty or stressed, it’s important to be understanding and remind
yourself that everyone makes mistakes. Forgiving yourself and moving on rather than dwelling on the past can help you overcome procrastination and improve your mental well-being.
We must realise that we often procrastinate when we don’t have a clear goal or direction. Without a set direction or purpose, it can be easy to become complacent and feel that things will happen or work out on their own. This absence of focus can lead to a lack of reflection on our actions and a tendency to continue with our daily lives without considering the long-term consequences.
People often have thoughts like “Well, I am trying to earn money”, “I am trying to build a career or get a job”, or “I want to be famous”. However, it’s important to ask yourself if these goals are truly your own or if you have been conditioned to pursue them. One solution to this is to identify your goals and what you truly want to do.
The question can be difficult to answer, but you have to come up with it, and procrastination will not give you the answer you desire. A vague goal only gives a vague direction forward. You need to have a specific goal that you can pursue with clear steps.
We have to realise that the right moment or motivation does not just come to us; we have to actively seek it out. We only have so much time to spend, and we have a choice: we can either keep waiting for the “perfect” moment or start taking action right now. As the saying goes, “it’s either one day or day one.”