Procrastination has become probably one of the most overused terms in the last couple of years. Its immense popularity shows how important it is for our society to be super productive. It also means that we want everything to happen as fast and as effectively as possible. Therefore, we look for thin books or short programs which would show us “how to overcome procrastination” with immediate results. A few of them might have some effect, but honestly, if they worked as promised, we would not need 100 books on procrastination with 100 different methods. We would only need one. The reason why so many techniques have emerged is that procrastination is a complex issue that cannot actually be solved using simple methods (we psychologists would call them compensations – hacks that get around one’s impediment instead of trying to deal with it). Maybe your procrastination problem has deeper roots that need to be addressed properly in order to work it out. I know, this process is not as fast as one would wish for. But it can be worth it.
What causes procrastination?
We can often feel confronted with the expectations to act in a certain way, to achieve certain things, or to be at least as productive as our super successful neighbor. The world is getting faster and some are not catching up with it easily at their natural pace. You will find out that most people are not able or lucky enough to comfortably keep up with what they think society expects them to accomplish. We put ourselves under great pressure to do things that we don’t want to do or consider quite pointless. We often stress ourselves because we falsely believe others hold some high expectations of us which in fact we have fabricated ourselves. Usually, we are the ones who put the most pressure on ourselves.
As a result, we look for ways to do more, faster. And if we don’t succeed, we feel that we are procrastinating and less productive than others. The truth is, however, that most people feel exactly the same way. We might think that others don’t have a problem with productivity and that we are the only ones who are lazy, not good enough, or have some kind of handicap that keeps us from our goals. These are false assumptions. Procrastination has its cause and we can work on finding it and improving our mental state. Procrastination isn’t a personality trait. And as for being or not being “good enough”? What does that even mean?
Another reason why a procrastination problem can develop is that we often see our value as based on our results. Such thinking might lead to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, sexual or sleep disorders, to name only a few.
How to overcome it, then?
So what can you do to deal with procrastination? You could use different life hacks that would make you more productive, but that is not a long-term solution. You should view procrastination as a symptom, not a cause. It is a way your brain tries to tell you that something is not all right, that you need to change something about how you perceive your productivity (and that doesn’t mean doing more). So, you need to listen to yourself more and with honesty.
If you want to cope with procrastination, you should ask what the possible cause might be. Is it peer pressure? If yes, what can you do to stop it from affecting you? Or is it your own ambition? Maybe it would be good to ask yourself why you think you need to manage to do so much. Then try to work on addressing these causes instead of looking for ways to conceal them.
Listen to what your body and mind are telling you. If you can listen to other people’s expectations, why not to your own needs? Be kind to yourself. Once you realize this, you will know what to work on next.
To sum it up, procrastination is a big issue for many of us. We feel the need to be overly productive. We tend to think that our value lies in how much we manage to do. But this might lead to severe health problems and worsen the quality of our life. If we only search for ways to do more, we cheat ourselves. We need to find our own pace and accept it. We need to find what causes our procrastination, address the issue and work on how we perceive our own productivity. Sometimes we just need to stop and take a deep breath.
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