Insight, Inspiration, Motivation


Procrastination, according to professor Piers Steele, of the University of Calgary, has become a much more common phenomenon than ever before.

Apparently, three out of four college students consider themselves procrastinators. Professor Steele says that people who procrastinate tend to be less healthy, less wealthy and less happy. It is easy to understand the less healthy and less happy part, since repeated episodes of stress can certainly cause considerable damage to the cardiovascular system, and it is very likely that the colleagues and families of procrastinators have issues with this habit. There can be monetary losses too. Failure to file income taxes or pay bills on time can mean paying fines or interests which can add up over a person’s lifetime.

 There could be many reasons why people procrastinate. Not knowing what to do or how to get something done, not having the confidence to do it right, fear of failure (or even success), being overwhelmed by an enormous task, wanting perfection, and sometimes, sheer lack of will or motivation can be the reasons. In today’s world, the biggest contributing factor would be the various distractions provided by the digital media –  e-mails, computer games, television, text messages, and so on.

So, how do you get over this habit?

Well, the first step would be to identify and acknowledge the tendency, especially when there is something important that needs done. Then, try to figure out what is preventing you from taking action. Next, put in place structures that will help you to avoid procrastinating and motivate you to work on your goals. Most importantly, use the help of people around you.

Not Knowing – If the cause is not knowing what to do or how, the answer is simple – seek help. There is always somebody who has done it before.

Lack of Confidence – This is something that everybody has felt, at some time or other in their lives. You will never know until you try. Ultimately, there is no failure. There is only feedback  – i.e., if things don’t go the way you hope, you learn why, and do it differently the next time.

Being overwhelmed – If the task is too big or complicated – break it up into small steps. Figure out what are the milestones you need to achieve towards the goal, then the small steps towards each milestone. Start with one baby step. Reward yourself at each milestone.

Wanting perfection – This is often seen in creative activities. The truth is that is easier to improve upon an imperfect product than to produce something perfect. Perhaps every procrastinator does know this deep down – but often uses this as an excuse.

Lack of motivation – If this is the reason, then you have to look deep within and ask yourself if you believe in what you are doing or going to do. If you do not see value in an activity, that can be cause enough for a lack of motivation. It is then important to clarify your reasons for doing it.

Finally, if you really mean to work on something, you have to find a way to avoid the many distractions in life.


March 29, 2011 - Posted by | Personal Journey, Psychology, Self Improvement

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