True procrastination is a complicated failure of self-regulation: experts define it as the voluntary delay of some important task that we intend to do, despite knowing that we will suffer as a result. A poor concept of time may exacerbate the problem, but an inability to manage emotions seems to be its very foundation.”

Procrastination refers to the habit of delaying an important task unnecessarily. A major misconception regarding procrastination is that people think of it as “laziness”, but in reality, it’s more than that, it is a result of stress and negative beliefs about one’s self. According to some researchers, procrastination is linked with fear, anxiety, misconception and sometimes ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

Procrastination has nothing to do with time management, instead, it reflects our way of dealing with problems and how we cope with the difficulties. Nowadays, people are not aware that in some or another way they are procrastinating. A simple technique to get an idea of it is to observe our behaviour by referencing some examples. You are procrastinating if you are:

  1. Not completing your work mentioned in the to-do list for a long time.
  2. Not being enthusiastic about the assigned work and not doing it till the deadline.
  3. Only studying at the last minute of an important exam.

The main reasons for procrastinating include fear of not being able to succeed in the assigned task, not much confidence if you will be able to do it the right way, and sometimes unappealing tasks are also causes of procrastination. There are two important theories on procrastination, Temporal Motivation Theory (TMT) and Emotion-regulating Theory (ERT). Both theories deal with the reasons for procrastination. TMT describes that one reason behind procrastinating is a lack of motivation. People find the task difficult and not appealing. Whereas ERT refers to a different idea. It explains that procrastination happens when people prioritize their present mood and focus on present satisfaction rather than focusing on long-term consequences. Another misperception regarding procrastination is that it has been seen also as a positive entity. Some believe they work better when they are under pressure. But in the real sense of today’s mood, they are making the future self-suffering. Which in some or the other way is going to affect their mental health and also the quality of their work or performance.

In the book “Psychological Science”, APS fellow Dianne Tice APS fellow Willian James,  fellow Roy Baumeister 1997, presented the first document on the nature of procrastination, in which they established a scale of procrastination and rated college students differently based on their academic performance, stress level, level of procrastination, and concluded that procrastination results in temporary benefits. Students who procrastinate get poor results and their quality of work also suffers compared to the students who are punctual about their work.

Procrastination ends up in suffering more and performing worse than other people”. 

Strategies to prevent Procrastination

  • Break down your tasks: making a to-do list plays a vital role in keeping an eye on the pending work and deadlines. Taking baby steps at work helps to prevent procrastination by making a habit of completing even small works.
  • Elimination of Distractions: According to many researchers, distractions are the main reason for delay in work. As it works as a supplier of present satisfaction and pleasure which make future self-suffers.
  • Reinforcement Technique: rewarding yourself or getting a reward from your immediate leader helps a lot to make a mindset and be regular at work.
  • Believe: All attempts to prevent procrastination are useless unless one has belief in his/herself. If one believes in his self then he has cleared half the path successfully.

To sum up, a person can overcome their behaviour through practising the above-mentioned practices and theories in their experiences which would bring a new person in them. In conclusion, a person should be able to identify his or her limitations, and wrong practices and should develop a strategy to overcome the limitations through the above-mentioned strategies. 

Wrtten by Rutvi Makwana | Edited by Nirjara Poptani