Procrastination has always been a huge issue in my life. When studying I would wait until the very last minute to start assignments, often missing deadlines as a result and at one point resulting in having to restart a course. I remember the agony and devastation I felt when I considered myself a failure as a result of restarting my course. Fear of failure was one of my worst fears and, ironically, it was this very fear that caused my procrastination. These days I still struggle with procrastination, even although it may not seem obvious to others.
The main shift took place when I started keeping a diary and listing my to do items each day, a habit I got into shortly after beginning therapy. Indeed there were many habits I formed in therapy that, without my knowing it, made procrastination less of an issue in my life. Today I still psychologically resist doing tasks but rather than putting things off for days or even months I now take just a few hours before tackling items on my to do.
In this series I will examine the scientific and psychological research on procrastination and tell you the practical steps you can take to stop procrastinating – highly effective steps that have worked – even for a chronic procrastinator such as me.
But what is procrastination exactly? According to Wikipedia
“Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the “last minute” before a deadline. Procrastination can take hold on any aspect of life — putting off cleaning the stove, repairing a leaky roof, seeing a doctor or dentist, submitting a job report or academic assignment or broaching a stressful issue with a partner. Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt.”