Procrastination is part of me, except I acknowledge it to make it the insignificant part.
“All We Have To Do Is Decide What To Do With The Time That Is Given To Us.” — Gandalf the Grey, The Lord of the Rings.
In short, procrastination is putting things off to a later time instead of acting on them immediately. Studies have shown that this might not be related to laziness but a way to deal with challenging emotions and negative moods.
As much as I like to act on things immediately, there are situations in that I procrastinate and put them on a later timeline. I will give self-justification and proceed to do other non-critical things, like watching Netflix or being a social-media zombie. At times, it is self-doubt, especially when I need to meet up with another person. The thoughts of rejection or negative feedback deter me from taking action to arrange for the meeting.
Yes, I know that this is not constructive, and the situation will still be there until I take proactive steps to act on it. Thus, there are some small things that I have done that help me to mitigate procrastination. For example, when I was writing this article, I decided to take a 20-mins nap before continuing. Can this be considered procrastination?
1. Focus on the Positive Outcome
I tend to weigh the benefits of putting the task off later over the benefits of doing it now. Therefore, I will justify a relative attractive outcome of performing the task currently instead of putting it to a later time.
I work out a schedule for cleaning different parts of the house throughout the year. When I need to wash the bathroom, I leverage another behaviour to work on this task immediately. I prefer to have a clean bathroom and a mirror that’s free of water stains. The outcome of having a clean toilet with a spotless mirror motivated me to act on this task immediately.
2. Leverage on the Chain Effect
Have you heard of the 4 Brain Chemicals that make us happy? I have heard about this previously, and I came into this again when I attended a LinkedIn Learning program.
I will list what I need to do in the Reminders of my iPhone, giving the task date and a time to remind me to execute it. After completing the task, I will check off that item and move on to the next thing. This process releases Dopamine which motivates me to do my stuff. However, there is a negative aspect that I am aware of and moved on from that since. That’s the feeling of happiness and achievement when people view and like my LinkedIn post. Now, the numbers don’t matter to me.
3. Faced the Outcome and Moved on
You have two options, either to struggle internally on the outcome, to acknowledge the result and move on. What do you choose? People usually like to hang on to the first option as long as possible when the action doesn’t bark them. Many could put that away and forget about it until something triggered the situation into existence.
I used to be in the first situation, and I still like to be in the first situation, especially when I need to meet up with people and face the unknown. However, I am aware that this action is not supporting me in delivering what I need to do. Thus, I will motivate myself to face the situation, acknowledge the outcome and move on to the next course of action.
My entrepreneurship journey helped me significantly in achieving this by facing rejections head-on. One of the reasons why people procrastinate in delivery outcomes is that we expect the action to yield a negative result or be rejected. However, rejection is a certainty that enables us to move on to the next step. Indecision is what that’s holding us back when we can’t make the next move.
People know that I go for actions, and I cannot stand myself positioned at a fixed location doing nothing, watching the actions goes by. I like to be involved and give my best in doing what I need to do to get things done. However, I am not without procrastination, and I hold back at times before taking action. Knowing that this exists empowered me to do something to mitigate it.
A final note is that resting time and time to divert our attention to other hobbies or diverse activities is not a waste of time or procrastination. On the contrary, it means self-growth, self-preservation and gaining the additional perspective to allow cross-pollination.