Procrastination

Many individuals have the habit of delaying tasks. Do you too? If yes, then please read the following article to learn more about this habit of yours!

Definition

In China, procrastination is considered as a disease called 拖延症 (tuō yán zhèng) or ‘the delaying disease’. It means that a person is dragging himself and others down.

According to Tuckmann, an American professor, procrastination refers to “the tendency to delay a task or avoid it in a way that has negative effects on the individual.” For example, at work, gossiping with colleagues instead of completing a vital work survey is the action of delaying a specific task.

Procrastination is seen as a common tendency among human beings and research by Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne reported that about 20 percent of adults had been victims of procrastination.

Types of Procrastinators

What is a procrastinator? Someone who repeatedly keeps on delaying tasks is called a procrastinator. Now, let’s look at the different types of procrastinators.

  • Passive Procrastinators: They tend to delay the course of action as they lack proper self-esteem and cannot make their decisions. They have a sense of resignation and tend to embrace failures in all circumstances. These types of procrastinators yield to feelings of stress and tend to produce undesirable results.
  • Active Procrastinators: As the positive types of procrastinators, they postpone their tasks deliberately as they like to work under pressure and tight deadlines. And indeed, they may accomplish their tasks just before the deadline to attain their objectives and satisfaction levels.
  • Chronic Pathological Procrastinators: Individuals who tend to keep on postponing important tasks as routine.
  • Symptomatic Procrastinators: They are those who have been victims of procrastination due to their personal experience with disorders like depression or ADHD. 
  • The Worrier: Procrastinators who have the fear that they do not have the ability to accomplish tasks.
  • The Perfectionist: People who want to accomplish their tasks without any flaw and have the stress of not completing them successfully.
  • The Dreamer: Here, procrastinators believe that they don’t need to work hard to get what they want.
  • The Crisis-maker: People who wait for the last minute to work. Why? Because they think they work best under pressure and stress.
  • The Defier: Rebels who think that tasks given by employers are not worthwhile and thus set their own schedules.

Disadvantages and Advantages of Procrastination

Is procrastination a blessing or a curse?

Below you can read some of the drawbacks of procrastination:

Procrastination is believed by many to create obstacles that stop individuals from their reaching their desired destination and from accomplishing the necessary goals in life. It is a barrier to success. For example, if the renowned author J.K Rowling had feared her circumstances and delayed writing her books, she would not have enjoyed the worldwide and ongoing success of the outstanding Harry Potter Series.

Dire consequences accompany the act of delaying specific tasks.

Procrastination leads to a laziness in an individual. For example, employees may postpone their work so as they can have time to browse through social media. The habit of delaying tasks has a knock-on effect that leads to the postponement of more actions.

Deadlines are essential in ensuring that tasks are accomplished at the proper time. However, procrastination leads to people chasing after deadlines. When people tend to delay the work to be done, it reduces the time they have left to deliver. As a result, with the little time left and the deadlines near, there is a considerable amount of pressure and burden on the individuals to complete their work. Sometimes it can also occur that deadlines are missed due to too many postponements and this results in cases of high amounts of stress in an individual.

Stress is like an invisible enemy attacking without mercy. It is claimed that there is a direct correlation between procrastination and stress. When people keep on delaying specific tasks, they tend to have a stress response in their bodies. When these individuals have a self-resignation feeling and think that they will not attain their objectives, they began to feel anxiety, worry, and stress.

However, things don’t end only with stressful emotions. Did you know that stress can also worsen certain health conditions? It can increase the risks of illness such as obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems and asthma.

Procrastination is not only a book concept, but a real psychological condition. Psychologists said that it is a type of disorder that arises from low self-confidence, anxiety, or inaptitude of self-motivation.

The psychologist Piers Steel claimed in his work that:

Procrastinators perform more poorly, feel miserable, waste money on their taxes, suffer more medical problems, and put off important economic decisions such as saving money for retirement.”

Procrastination is associated with negative thoughts and emotions and can lead to people having a self-defeating behaviour and a sense of fatalism, whereby instead of trying to change their situation, people accept their miserable fate. It prevents people from enjoying and participating in the mainstream society and consequently, people are marginalised in the society.

Now, let’s look at some of its benefits!

A World War Two veteran once claimed that to “never make a decision too early!”

Despite its negative impacts on people, procrastination also has some benefits. For instance, it allows people to take their time to make better decisions. It provides an opportunity for a more in-depth analysis and critical thinking.

It is also a suitable method of relaxation for workaholics. If a person has too many tasks that need to be carried out, some of the work can be postponed. Sometimes some duties are delayed, ensuring that more time and concentration are given to more important tasks.

Ancient Greek philosophers believed that procrastination was a reasonable means to delay management. Like challenges and storms, procrastination is an obstacle that helps people to grow and overcome other hurdles. It helps in making people become more involved in creative processes. It is also a character-building process.

As sometimes, to make a great leap forward, you have to take a few steps behind. Similarly, during these breaks, thoughts are renewed which gives rise to better individual performance.

So, overall, what can you conclude about procrastination? Good or not? Please share your comments!

Coping with Stressful Situations: 4 Things You Can Do

Whether you are a student, a single parent or a full-time employee, you must have been faced with a situation where you’ve felt an overwhelming amount of stress. While some of these situations last only a few moments or hours, others can stay with you weeks or months on end. You may not even be aware of it in the beginning, but eventually, the stress will wear you down.

From back pain to anxiety and depression, stress manifests itself differently in different people. And even if the symptoms are not the same across the board, you can be sure that it affects chronic stress affect us all in the same way: it dampens the immune system and can even speed up the aging process.

So, even if stress is inevitable, you will have to build the necessary skills to deal with it.

Developing Good Coping Skills

You must expect stress to creep in your life at an unexpected moment and learn how to control your body’s response to it. Getting through a stressful situation depends mostly on us and is precisely what will make all the difference.

Tip Nº 1: Know what’s causing the stress

Before you learn how to cope with stress, you will have to understand why you find that particular situation stressful. Unless you are able to identify that, you will be unable to deal with it appropriately. Yes, changing jobs and upcoming exams are common stressors, but more than that you have to understand your feelings and thoughts. What is it about this event that’s causing you to worry constantly?

Tip Nº 2: Journal

The easiest way to find the source of your stress is by writing in a diary regularly. You can not only use the diary or journal to pinpoint the exact event that triggered the stress, but it will also allow you to see patterns, behaviours, and attitudes that may be contributing to the problem.

Tip Nº 3: Remove the source

Once you’ve identified the stressors in your life, decide if it’s something you can eliminate or not. Are you swamped with work because you are unable to say no? You need to learn your limits and refuse others. If anything, they might end up respecting you more for it. Better say no, than drive yourself into the ground to get it done or miss deadlines. The best way to do that is to write a to-do list. Is it a page long? Then, you have too much on your plate. You have to focus on paring it down instead of always trying to please everyone. Are there people around you who make you uncomfortable or constantly anger you? Don’t be scared to cut off people. Your time is too precious to be spending it around people who consistently causes stress in your life.

Tip Nº 4: Adapt

Heard of a post-mortem, right? Well, do the exact opposite. Go over everything that CAN go wrong and deal with them before they even happen. You will typically want to adopt this method when dealing with situations that you can’t eliminate or avoid. An example of such a situation is an upcoming exam. You can’t just ignore the exam – it won’t go away. So, instead of rooting out the cause, you have to take control of your environment and alter it instead. Write down everything you think may go wrong. These thoughts are exactly what is stressing you out.

Now that you know the things you are worrying about, write down everything you can do to remedy each of these items. Let’s say you have to drop off your the kids at school on the same day you have an important client meeting. What are the things that can go wrong? You may be late to the meeting, you might forget your laptop at home, the projector may not work. You forget your speech. So, now that you’ve written down everything you think might go wrong, find a solution for each of those. Set the alarm 10 minutes early. Pack your laptop the night before. Have the IT guy check the projector before leaving on the day before. Rehearse your speech one last time before bed. These small things will help you feel more confident and as a result, the level of stress you are experiencing will drastically decrease.

Tip Nº 5: Take care of yourself

If you are constantly putting out fires at work and at home without even a moment of respite, you will most assuredly burn out. Commit to a positive attitude and do small things that give you pleasure. Walk your dog. Go to a spa and get a massage . Put on some music and dance around with your partner or on your own. Exercise. These will all give you a well-deserved break that can help burn away tension and stress.