Procrastination is a problem all of us have faced at one point or another. For as long as we can remember, we have been struggling with avoiding, or delaying issues big and small. Everybody puts things off until the last minute sometimes, but real procrastinators chronically attempt to avoid “too difficult” tasks and are always looking for other distractions. Procrastination shows us our true enduring struggle with self control as well as our false ability to find out how we’ll feel the next day. It starts as a simple “I don’t feel like it-” but then begins to start a downward spiral of negative or bad emotions that damage future efforts to get things accomplished.
The problem usually shows up in childhood; procrastination along with losing things, trouble paying attention to what’s important, being impulsive, and even high-risk behaviors are a few clues that lead to procrastination. In adulthood this can carry on into on-going problems with making deadlines, cleaning, paying bills, showing up to appointments on time, and a constant unreliability that drives significant others, family members, and employers crazy.
Pies Steel, a human resources professor at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business, stated that 95% of the population procrastinates at times, with 20% being chronic offenders. 1 out of 5 people procrastinate so badly that it could be jeopardizing their jobs, their relationships, and even sometimes their health. The new trends of technology such as the internet, social media, TV, and cell phones are some of the many distractions that make one put things off. In 1978 , 5% of the population admitted to being chronic procrastinators compared to about 26% of the population today.
There’s no way you could avoid procrastination by simply removing the distractions. However, you can get it done with the help of time management in order to create a new habit of getting things done. Before that though you need to recognize that you’re procrastinating and why. You have to understand your issues before you can even start to tackle the problem. Procrastination is a habit, which is a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. You can’t break something like that overnight. If you’re procrastinating because you find the task unpleasant or dull, try to focus on the long term rewards. Research shows that impulsive people are more likely to put things off because they are only focused on the short term rewards. You can attempt to combat this by finding out the long term benefits for completing the task. A way to make a task more enjoyable is to find out the monotonous consequences of avoiding it. What will happen if you don’t complete the work? To avoid being overwhelmed, organize your projects into smaller tasks and pay attention on starting them, rather than only focusing on finishing them.
Procrastination can hold you back from your potential and erode your career. If left unrecognized, it can destroy teamwork, reduce morale, and even lead to depression and job absence. It’s very important to take proactive steps to prevent it.
Just to prove that everyone procrastinates at one point or another, I wanted to point out that I procrastinated interviewing any students about procrastination.