We all know the term: procrastination. It is the thing, most of the students do before studying. Basically we just put off doing a particular task and doing something way more fun instead right?
In order to increase our efficiency we first have to understand the root of our procrastination and then we can choose a strategy to overcome it. In the first part of the article we distinguish several types of procrastinators. The second half summarizes different strategies you can choose to defeat this state of mind.
The two steps:
1. Understanding Procrastination
Everyone procrastinates occasionally. Some more than others.
There are those who procrastinate all the time, especially when they have to do something important or challenging. Due to the fact that they do not fully understand the reason of their procrastination, they become quick-tempered and tend to be frustrated with themselves and others as well.
What if I tell you that procrastination is not necessarily equal to laziness? Think about it! When somebody delays his/her tasks and responsibilities then he/she ultimately chooses to work intensely just before the deadlines. Isn’t it the very opposite of being lazy? Then why do we do this to ourselves?
We list six types of procrastinators. (This list was extracted from Dr. Sapadin’s book “It’s About Time! The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them”). Do you recognize any of them?
The Perfectionist Procrastinator
- As the name suggests, the main desire of a perfectionist procrastinator is to be perfect. This of course leads to a horribly crammed schedule with unrealistic goals.
- The main reason of their procrastination is their robust fear of failure. They would rather put off an important task than not to be perfect in it.
- This obsessive need to be flawless lay a terrible burden on them, which leads to a vicious circle of more frustration and even more delay.
The Dreamer Procrastinator
- This type of procrastinators refuse to do anything that is not pleasant. Their basic creed is that we should live our lives without any effort, difficulties or distress. Therefore they are rather passive.
- Since they believe that they are special people – who do not need any accomplishment or hard work – they cannot concentrate on details and tend to be vague
The Worrier Procrastinator
- Because they do not believe in themselves, they rather delay doing things that might result in failure
- These type of procrastinators have trouble with decision making. They cannot commit themselves to one side or another. Therefore they are desperately looking for others opinion, advice, help and reassurance.
- For them the unknown things are the most frightening. The worrier procrastinators hate any kind of change, they even resist it
The Defier Procrastinator
- Defier procrastinators define their own worth based on the expectations and opinions of others. They totally ignore their own desires and try to comply with every external requirement
- Naturally expressing negative feelings and opinions directly are not an option to them because that would put them into a bad light. Their need to be seen as a nice person avert them from expressing their thoughts. So alternately then convey these feeling by procrastinating
- Furthermore they almost always despise authority and challenging it by procrastinating
The Crisis-Maker Procrastinator
- In an event of an undesirable errand the attitude of a crisis-maker procrastinator can suddenly swap between hot and cold. They are underacting in one moment and overacting in the other
- These procrastinators are rather dramatic. They are enjoying every kind of attention
- Crisis-maker procrastinators try to prove themselves by taking risks all the time. This way they can resist the “dullness” of life by refusing to do things in an orderly fashion
The Overdoer Procrastinator
- This kind of procrastinators have a very low self-esteem. This is the reason why they are more likely to take on an unreasonable workload
- They hate to ask for help, it makes them feel small but they cannot say no to anything (even if it is against their own good)
- Overdoer procrastinators usually assign various roles and responsibilities to themselves and they easily get confused about priorities
- Overdoer procrastinators feel ashamed when they are resting or God forbid doing something nice for themselves. They usually repress any personal need
2. Overcoming Procrastination
Despite of the fact that procrastination only makes our lives more difficult and also increases our chance of failure we still do it. How come?
Procrastination is not just about laziness. It has many deeper, psychological reasons as well. For example the pressure of school can easily result in procrastination. Think about it: you have to gain good grades in order to get scholarship, you have to differentiate yourself by outstanding performance etc. In this case procrastination can be used as a defense mechanism against failure. From all this we can conclude that most people use procrastination in times of anxiety and fear. So what can be done to overcome this deeply rooted feeling which aims to protect us?
Tips for Overcoming Procrastination
You need to sit down and evaluate your behavior: what purpose does procrastination serve in your life? What habits and thoughts of yours result in procrastinating. Without truly understanding the root of this problem you can not overcome it!
How do you feel before and after procrastinating? Are these feelings positive or negative? Do they help you in your everyday life? If not, do you want to make a change?
Try to use time management techniques. But be aware that some of these techniques can cause more procrastination since they focus on the big picture which makes you more anxious. You should divide your tasks into smaller pieces so you can have the feeling of achievement every now and then!
Choose a few small tasks which can be easily completed. Write them down and finish them under any circumstances. This practice will rebuild your confidence in yourself, because it shows that you CAN commit and follow through.
When it comes to studying you have to decide carefully about the place and the company around you. A good friend can be as distractive as a crying baby on a train.
Set eligible goals and find productive reasons to achieve them. Also define the things that make you motivated and keep them in mind! But be careful! You should avoid stressful or negative methods of motivation like – If I fail my parents will be angry with me. – because this logic can get you into even more procrastinating (remember: procrastination can root in fear of failure).
This pretty much speaks for itself. As I already mentioned above, setting an unrealistic load of work as a goal will increase your frustration which generates procrastination
Nothing can keep you more motivated than engagement. You should consider taking part in your classes and instead of learning everything before the exam try to understand the material. If you really pay attention during the lectures then you have a much better chance of understanding the subject rather then just memorizing it which makes you much more motivated in the end
If you are interested in the topic, here is some additional info for you: