We have all done it at some point and many of us are guilty of being addicted to this habit. I am talking about procrastination. This state of mind is like inherent resistance towards what we should be doing. When you procrastinate, you are aware about what you should do and how you should do it, but you choose not to do it.
Some people argue that procrastination is often borne out of physical issues like tiredness or feeling sleepy. However, procrastination is usually a state of sluggishness that stems from the mind. The physical attributes apart, when we procrastinate, we go against our sensibility and prefer to put off our commitment. This is why I believe that overcoming procrastination is critical to achieve your true potential.
Procrastination has an even more serious form. Here, you might fight the resistance to procrastinate and start the task. However, very soon, your mind disengages from the work. You get easily distracted. You end up leaving the task incomplete. Later, the feeling of defeat and guilt troubles you. People who go through this process again and again are serial procrastinators. They have developed a cyclical habit of not starting with the assigned task or leaving it unfinished. Usually, they are perceived as being chronic shirkers.
How to stop procrastinating?
The Zen Mind focuses on being connected with the present and not obsessing about the past or future. To root out procrastination, it is important that you develop this sort of mindset. Procrastinators often find themselves weighed down by defeatist thoughts emanating from their past. They get anxious about their performance and promise themselves to complete the task in the future. A procrastinator is more likely to:
- Be easily distracted
- Have low self esteem
- Be apprehensive about the difficulty of the task
- Not have clarity about life’s goals
To stop procrastinating, you need to become more mindful.
What is mindfulness?
You are mindful when you connect with your present. Mindful people have a greater sense of awareness. They don’t think much beyond the current scenario. A mindful person is more likely to plan for the day rather than worry about the whole week or month. When you develop mindfulness, you realize that living in the present is perhaps the best choice. As a result, you don’t drag your feet through the day. Mindfulness makes you more responsive. You develop the attitude of doing things rather than being overwhelmed about the results or leaving things for later.
For overcoming procrastination and developing a more effective, mindful way of living, read the following:
1. Start with Self-introspection
The biggest challenge to solve any problem is acknowledging that you are struggling. Try to evaluate how you have conducted yourself during the last week. This is like playing the doctor. However, you are the patient too. You need to diagnose yourself. Take a pen and write down every time you procrastinated rather than getting on with the job. As you start jotting down the points, you might see that there are certain patterns to your habit of postponing things. It is very likely that you can identify certain types of tasks or working environments where you to dodge the responsibility. Like an investigating physician, look for clues to decode the pattern—the results might scare you but don’t give up.
2. Neutralize the Threats
Like most procrastinators, you might have developed habits that neutralize any enthusiasm to execute a task. For instance, every time a task is assigned, you take a coffee break or start checking your email. Such threats need to be addressed hands-on. You need to create barriers for yourself. This could be in the form of reminders on your desktop. Talk to yourself that whenever your boss assigns a task, you will not react in an escapist manner. Instead, you will try to evaluate how the task can be completed in a satisfactory way.
3. Explore Work Rather Than Getting Intimidated By It
Many times, procrastination stems from boredom towards routines or repetition. To stop procrastinating, you need to change the way your perceive tasks. The old habit of measuring the amount of effort has to be overcome. You need to develop an alternate approach. This approach is more likely to stick if it engages your mind. I recommend you to get more experimental. Search for different ways to complete the same task. This is a way of testing yourself. Challenge yourself and try to think beyond the ordinary or supposed methods.