Students, why is procrastination a barrier to you achieving your goals?

Procrastination is a barrier to achieving your goals because the time spent procrastinating is robbing you of your time, energy and enthusiasm. You lose your peace of mind, the ability to achieve and ultimately, it affects your ability to succeed.

Procrastination is one of the biggest and most common regrets. It is the thought of knowing you should be doing something but instead you keep putting it off.

Procrastination is a silent and destructive force that stops you taking action. Here are some of the known methods to beat procrastination where you can start immediately on fulfilling your full potential.

The ways to beat procrastination:

1. Why
Remember your ‘Why’ for the tasks you are undertaking.

2. Self-Awareness
Becoming self-aware and recognising when procrastination is pushing you in the direction away from your goals. This is the first step in helping you to move forward.

Ask yourself:
“Is what I am doing taking me closer to or further away from my goals?”.

3. Journal
When procrastination is affecting your decision, time to re-assess. What is making me feel this way? What is stopping me from starting that task? Journal the answers so you can see them in front of you. This will help you to understand what is blocking your path.

4. Reframe
Time to reframe what it is that you feel is blocking you. Talk it through with trusted others and you will see they have perhaps felt the same way too. Seek out solutions to overcoming how you feel. You need to remove those blocks and reframing can help you to do this.

5. Accept
Accept that not all areas of your work, projects, studies are stimulating, you have to work your way through them and the quicker you get them completed, the quicker you can move on to the areas that you do enjoy and feel much better.

6. Focus
To keep on track you need to stay focused. Spend a few minutes each evening making a to-do list of what you wish to accomplish the next day. Set reasonable expectations for the day. This keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and helps to keep you focused on just those tasks.

7. Habits
Build a habit of knowing what you need to get straight on with the next day, making it easy for you to get started.

8. Your own mini deadlines
Plan your own mini deadlines as this has a way of breaking procrastination and can begin to motivate you.

9. Bite size chunks
Break your workload down into bite size chunks that feel manageable. When you tick them off your to-do list this will help you to build your confidence in your time management skills.

10. Plan a timetable
When you have a plan you can follow your plan and not your mood. Once you start you will be more motivated to continue. Taking small steps in the right direction will result in action and achievement.

Are there different types of Procrastinators? Yes

According to Psychology there are different types of procrastinators each one having different reasons for procrastinating.

The Avoider
1. Making excuses and putting things off until the last minute.
2. Getting anxious when others talk about the task you’re avoiding.
3. Having a to-do list and convinced other tasks are a priority first.

The Optimist
1. You consistently think a task isn’t going to take as long as it does, or that you have plenty of time to get the task done.
2. You brush off warnings from others about deadlines or consequences.
3. You fail to see the pattern of wasting time.

The Pleasure Seeker
1. You don’t do what you’re supposed to do until you genuinely feel like doing it, which doesn’t always happen.
2. Deliberately choosing something to do that you like better.
3. You believe it will all get done in good time.

What are the drivers of procrastination?

• Fear of failure.
• Perfectionism.
• Overwhelmed.
• Unsure of what is expected.
• Having trouble focusing.
• Uncertain of the next right step
• Afraid to ask for help.
• Lack of confidence in own ability.
• Don’t know where or how to get started.
• Fear of making a mistake.
• Bored with the content.
• Difficulty prioritising.
• Waiting to be in the right mood.
• Lack of motivation

How does procrastination leave you feeling?

• Overwhelmed
• Anxious
• Stressed
• Disappointed
• Sad
• Paralysed
• Energy depleted
• Unfulfilled

What does this lead to?

• Under achieving
• Failing to reach goals
• Lack of enthusiasm
• Panic as running out of time
• Anxiety
• Stress
• Low mood

Scientific studies of procrastination have spiked over the past 20 years. Researchers once considered the issue a basic time-management problem, but they now view it as a complex and highly individual phenomena.

Experts define procrastination as the voluntary delay of some important task that we intend to do, despite knowing that we’ll 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.

Almost everyone procrastinates at some point. It could be as simple as putting off completing an important form or piece of work until later.

There are some people who think a procrastinator is someone who is being lazy, they are so wrong. They can be forgiven for they are only seeing at face value and lacking the understanding of the true depth from where that person who is suffering with procrastination is really coming from.

Procrastination can be a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks such as boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.

The guilt that is being carried around every day when knowing a task should be getting done and yet feeling unable to get started. That nagging voice inside your head at the end of another day when you haven’t made a start. The huge amount of energy that is being drained out of you whilst that task still sits there waiting to be worked on.

What compelled me to write about procrastination?

I can truly say that my own motto for living my best life was ‘Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today”. However, somewhere over the last ten years or more, slowly but surely procrastination has crept into my life under the radar.

Life used to be all about taking action, physical action and feeling fulfilled. Now most of life happens online and I think this is where procrastination has been able to escalate for many beyond reason.

The sheer volume of information overload that has grown over time in this fast paced world. What we encounter in our lives has driven us into a state of fear of making the wrong decisions until we are part paralysed about making choices and decisions, thereby leading to a lack of decision making skills or putting off the hard choices in favour of the easier choices and this is not allowing us to push through and achieve more fulfilling lives.

Thankfully I have recognised this trap and work hard every day to live mindfully and know when procrastination is pushing its way into my decision making process.

Try and live your life with a more mindful approach because living without being mindful will leave you vulnerable to procrastination controlling your life.

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