The Truth Behind Why You Procrastinate
By: Tajiya Holland
Common misconceptions about procrastination are that it’s equivalent to laziness, bad time management, and that you do it because you work better under pressure. You tell yourself you’ll get to it later, but then all of a sudden, you find yourself scrambling at the last second to start and finish a task. We’ve all been there.
Have you ever wondered why you do this, why you keep reverting to procrastination while knowing that beginning ahead of time will make life so much less stressful? Though it’s not a guilty pleasure such as pizza and lava cake, your mentality during the habit leaves you wanting more of it.
You may not realize it at first, but you reward yourself every time you off put doing something. If you aren’t sure if certain things you do are considered procrastination, below are the realities that you use this mechanism to ignore negative feelings.
You tell yourself you work better under time limits and stress
Sure, you may tell yourself this, but you don’t. What you’re doing is boosting your ego. When completing a task, that’s not of best work subconsciously you tell yourself it’s okay because there wasn’t enough time. On the other hand, if it’s a great final product, you may feel more worthy of the completion.
You tell yourself you solely have a time management issue
In today’s society, hustling and always working is often praised. Continuously adding to a to-do list, can appear as being productive, but it’s procrastinating. Doing anything can satisfy your needs of being productive, even if it doesn’t pertain to urgent goals, which you are capable of prioritizing.
You clean up to delay things
As a child, completing chores around the house was pretty typical. It wasn’t an ideal source of fun, but maybe a reward came out of it. Now, as an adult, whether you enjoy cleaning up or not, it’s an escape from completing necessary work. Sitting down in front of a laptop to type out your essay turns into clearing up the desk space around it first for an hour is procrastination.
It serves its purpose to protect you. It is guarding you against unwanted stress, the fear of failure, judgment by others, and self-blame. “Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem.” Below are examples of when these undesired feelings come up.
In contrast to using cleaning up as a way to delay things, perhaps you don’t want to clean up at all. A sauce-splattered kitchen or a grime-filled bathtub supplies a feeling of disgust and discomfort. Often at times when a particular task is associated with a negative sentiment, starting a duty becomes difficult.
Having insecurities is something everyone endures, but quite often, it leads to procrastination. Even with strong abilities and talents, it can still be quite intimidating to have work criticized by others.
When your craft is critiqued, instilled into your mind is the question, “what if they don’t like it?” which then leads to thoughts of not fulfilling a goal.
We understand that mistakes happen; with the right intentions, mistakes can be okay to make. Knowing the consequences is what’s frightening about messing up.
Although there are trials and errors in many situations, not succeeding at doing something is looked down upon in society. Staying still in the present and not acting to create change can be much more comforting than dreading potential outcomes due to possible failure.
Falling behind, not reaching a goal, and scrutiny is what’s generally known to come with being a procrastinator, but there are other negative impacts:
- Lower-grade scores
- Missed out opportunities
- Resentment from peers, family, & friends
- Suffering health/well-being (mentally & physically)
- An increased burden placed on social relationships
- Poor performances and less satisfaction in work settings
Whether you tend to postpone things, or only do it on occasion, there are measures to take to ensure you can get and stay on track. First, be sure to prioritize your tasks and find the motivation to get started.
Take a break when necessary, you’re human, not a machine. If you’re struggling, what are you trying to avoid? Assess and work through those internal feelings. Lastly, be sure to complete each task before moving on to the next. Breaking a habit can be achieved though it’s challenging. Ignore the misperceptions. Focusing on when and why you procrastinate encourages improving the issue.