We can define “procrastination” as the act of putting off our tasks until the last minute. Though procrastination may at times feel harmless, it can carry a range of negative effects — turning in a mediocre English essay to missing the deadline for your dream summer internship. If you believe you are a “procrastinator,” you are not alone! Procrastinators are all around us. ? We’ll explain how to overcome procrastination, but first, let’s answer the important question: “Why do we procrastinate?”
Why Do We Procrastinate?
Imagine that your mind is divided into two parts: one makes rational decisions, and the other is more primitive, emotion-driven and loves instant gratification. While our rational part tells us to study, the primitive part tells us to scroll through our Instagram feed. We procrastinate when we succumb to these primitive desires, thinking only about the pleasure of the present moment, ignoring lessons from the past, and disregarding our goals for the future.
Yet, as we procrastinate, our rational mind is still at play. We don’t get much joy out of these activities as we are filled with a sense of dread for ignoring important tasks at hand. You can call this state “the dark playground” — a bizarre predicament that brings guilt and, more often, panic. You’ve probably experienced something similar. Perhaps a scenario where you had lots of homework, but couldn’t put your phone down. In the end, you neither had fun nor completed your homework.
How to Overcome Procrastination
So how do we stop procrastinating? We can start by reviewing our plans, as poor organization can lead to procrastination. Create a schedule in which you prioritize your plans in a to-do list. Stay on track by tackling your activities based on priority and deadline.
Second, ensure your plans are as definite and precise as possible. When your plans contain ambiguity, your mind can’t see which steps to take and uses this as a reason to procrastinate.
Another step is to optimize your environment. Once you decide to start working, remove all distracting elements from your surroundings. Try putting away your smartphone or tablet and using website blockers on your computer to avoid the temptation of distracting, addictive tech. (That being said, you can always use your devices if you need homework help or expert answers. ?)
Most importantly, to overcome procrastination you’ll need to prove to yourself that you can do it! For procrastinators, starting a task is usually the most difficult part. It may seem hard at first, but persistence is key! Keep going, and you’ll definitely find success!