Procrastination as a source of stress
One common stressor in our today’s society is procrastination.
Regularly postponing things can easily become a source of stress for anyone. At some point they will feel forced to perform the tasks they delayed, and do so while pressed for time.
Procrastination usually means one of the following:
- Taking care of easier tasks, just to avoid the more difficult ones
- Preferring pleasant activities, while postponing the important ones
- Performing all kinds of activities that are not important for various goals that need to be achieved. This instead of focusing on what really has to be done
While procrastinating, people may feel good and not at all stressed. But as they are forced to focus back on the tasks they really should be performing, they become more and more stressed, because of lack of time.
What are the most important causes for procrastination?
Before learning efficient methods for fighting procrastination, let’s take a closer look at why this happens. Here are the most important causes for procrastination:
Reason #1: A low threshold for tolerating discomfort
Any kind of activity that is productive and helps with achieving various goals is known to require some degree of effort and time. In turn, this means that some level of discomfort is to be expected.
In fact, there is not uncommon for people with a low threshold for tolerating discomfort of any type – emotional, physical or psychological – to end up procrastinating more often than those who have a higher threshold.
People who do so are not necessarily aware of it, since it is their subconscious that determines them to feel discomfort and therefore, postpone any activity that requires effort.
Reason #2: Fear of failure
In adults, fear of failure is a reality. The envisioned discomfort experienced in case of failing to complete a task leads to procrastination, since the individual fears the consequences.
In fact, people who tend to be perfectionists are known to procrastinate more than others. This is because of their deep rooted fear of failure.
Reason #3: Fear of disapproval
Furthermore, procrastination can also be caused by fear of being disapproved by others. It is normal for many people to seek approval for their actions from others, be it authority figures or simply those around them, like close family.
Their self valuation is seen underneath the valuation of others. Therefore, they can postpone doing something indefinitely for fear that others will consider their work and their efforts sub par.
Reason #4: Being forced to do something
Another source for procrastination can consist of the individual’s own refusal to do something they feel forced to do.
Postponing the task seems like a good idea until the deadline comes knocking. In fact, you are then forced to work harder and faster in order to compensate for lack of action in the past.
All the above mentioned causes for procrastination are only happening inside your mind. However, they are not real factors that should affect the outcome of your actions.
In order to become more productive and to have results, you can start overriding them.
Here are some good techniques to get you there:
Technique #1: Stop over thinking everything
Your main enemy when you do not get to work and start doing what you are supposed to do is overthinking everything.
Just like Nike’s slogan ‘Just do it’ points out, there is no shorter way to achieving a goal then by getting to work on it right away.
Technique #2: Trade higher future discomfort for inferior current discomfort
As mentioned earlier, one of the most important causes for procrastination is the desire to avoid discomfort.
The problem with procrastination is that it never saves us from experiencing discomfort.
Actually, the future discomfort guaranteed by procrastination is higher and more difficult to endure than the present discomfort that you may experience while working on your task.
Technique #3: Make a plan
A very efficient tool to overcome any kind of anxiety and discomfort related to a certain task or activity is making a plan.
Lay out all the important steps and details of your plan. You will begin seeing things more clearly, once you do so.
A lot of people use this very efficient technique for fighting procrastination. And they are more than pleased with their results.
Once you write everything down, things become clearer and they no longer seem so impossible to tackle.
Reduce anxiety related to your activity. This is paramount for fighting procrastination and getting things done.