Don't even think about accusing the dog of eating your homework, or your printer for malfunctioning. We all know what really happened. You can basically smell it on a person, and you can see it in their eyes... We all do it at some point in our lives. You've been PROCRASTINATING!!
I think there’s not ANY college speech class that did not mention the pitfall of procrastination. Many teachers warned me that this year, I mustn't procrastinate - or I might fail. But in fact, only 1 in 5 people are chronic procrastinators - and these people have it down to an art form. You see, the dictionary will inform you that procrastination is putting off doing something until later. But in fact - procrastination is the incredibly amazing technique of gaining time to do the things you want. Parents and teachers may shake their fists and cry "procrastination!" But let me tell you why procrastination is just another word for 'prioritisation'. Career procrastinators often have bad reputations, but they are often the most creative and motivated people around - it's just that they use their strengths to benefit themselves. And that folks, is not a bad thing. When you feel stressed, worried, or anxious, it's hard to work productively. In certain situations procrastination works as a coping mechanism to keep your stress levels under control. A wise solution is to reduce the amount of stress in your life when possible, such that you can spend more time working because you want to, not because you have to. One of the simplest ways to reduce stress is to take more time for play. Imagine that you're sitting down reading your favorite book. Parents seem to have the worst timing when it comes to interrupting a reading session. That's when you pull out all the stops. "Just a minute!" "In a sec!" "I'm coming!" "Gonna be down in a moment!" - Easy. In my household, you can finish the chapter and still get downstairs to dinner before the plates are ready - procrastination is factored in. In his book The Now Habit, Dr. Neil Fiore suggests that making time for guaranteed fun can be an effective way to overcome procrastination. Decide in advance what blocks of time you'll allocate each week to family time, entertainment, exercise, social activities, and personal hobbies. Then schedule your work hours using whatever time is left. This can reduce the urge to procrastinate because you work will not encroach on your leisure time, so you don't have to procrastinate on work in order to relax and enjoy life. I caution against overusing this strategy, however, as your work should normally be enjoyable enough that you're motivated to do it. If you aren't inspired by your daily work, admit that you made a mistake in choosing the wrong career path; then seek out a new direction that does inspire you. Procrastinating is really the most mentally gruelling task one can complete. While a non-procrastinator may sit down and type an essay in, let's say two or three hours, the procrastinator will spend the whole weekend preparing. They'll think about it, setting in motion the thought processes. They'll sit on MSN, Facebook or some kind of video game, testing their level of finger dexterity so that they could be proficient typers. They may download music, for inspiration. Go for a walk, because exercise fuels the mind. Maybe they'll spend time with friends, so that they're not disturbed by distracting texts or phone calls when they're trying to write their speech... I mean essay. Then, the procrastinator will work with a super-human pace, taking far less time to complete the same tasks as the ordinary person. On a Mythbusters episode, the crew decided to test if our perception of time could be altered so that more could be accomplished. People under stressful situations, or say time limits, can work their brains harder and faster. The Mythbusters created a watch which flashed a number that was ordinarily too fast to read, but when pushed from a crane the man could read the number. Similarly, the adrenaline of a looming deadline allows for superhuman thought. The procrastinator can create the piece of work in record time. Don't believe me? Just take the example of public speaking. For a prepared speech, speakers get up and give an ordinary recount. It's often boring. It's often not very good. Too rehearsed, or not rehearsed at all. But in short prep round, under the time pressure of three minutes - participants are forced to drag out that forgotten humor or intelligence within themselves so as to avoid embarrassment. The solution is straightforward: get off your butt and physically move your body. Exercise helps to raise your energy levels. When your energy is high, tasks will seem to get easier, and you'll be less resistant to taking action. A fit person can handle more activity than an unfit person, even though the difficulty of the tasks remains the same. So how come these people are called lazy? Procrastinators merely make more time, prepare further and adopt superhuman powers of thought. We should aspire to be like the 20% of chronic procrastinators in the world... you know, sometime in the future. After we finish the speeches, and go home. And watch the next episode of Grey's Anatomy...
For tasks you've been putting off for a while, I recommend using the timeboxing method to get started. Here's how it works: First, select a small piece of the task you can work on for just 30 minutes. Then choose a reward you will give yourself immediately afterwards. The reward is guaranteed if you simply put in the time; it doesn't depend on any meaningful accomplishment. Examples include watching your favorite TV show, seeing a movie, enjoying a meal or snack, going out with friends, going for a walk, or doing anything you find pleasurable. Because the amount of time you'll be working on the task is so short, your focus will shift to the impending pleasure of the reward instead of the difficulty of the task. No matter how unpleasant the task, there's virtually nothing you can't endure for just 30 minutes if you have a big enough reward waiting for you.
Center your work around an inspiring purpose, and you'll greatly reduce your tendency to procrastinate. If you haven't already done so, listen to Podcast #15 - What Is Your Purpose?. Finding your purpose is a powerful way to defeat procrastination problems because you won't procrastinate on what you love to do. Chronic procrastination is actually a big warning sign that tells us, "You're going the wrong way. Take a different path!" Once you've centered your life around an inspiring purpose, then you can take advantage of certain motivational techniques to boost your motivation even higher. For some specific motivational tips, read the article Cultivating Burning Desire.
A common form of erroneous thinking that leads to procrastination is perfectionism. Believing that you must do something perfectly is a recipe for stress, and you'll associate that stress with the task and thus condition yourself to avoid it. So you put the task off to the last possible minute until you finally have a way out of this trap. Now there isn't enough time to do the job perfectly, so you're off the hook because you can tell yourself that you could have been perfect if you only had more time. But if you have no specific deadline for a task, perfectionism can cause you to delay indefinitely. Procrastination will be dangerous to your wealth. There isn’t just one answer. Fear , lack of education and etc all contribute to one thing, that is procrastination and that’s the biggest mistake of all .In no other situation does the phrase “the waiting game is the loser game”. Apply more appropriately, to repeat Nike motto again: JUST DO IT..!!