So I came across this post on Instagram while procrastinating, which said ‘The fact that I procrastinate and still get things done is the real reason why I procrastinate’, and I couldn’t agree more! Laziness-induced procrastination has been one of the leading causes for unpunctuality and preventable deferrals; the most prominent source of which being Social Media. Here’s what a satisfactory social-media-procrastination-session looks like- you sit on your couch/bed in the most comfortable position, with at least 7 tasks from your to-do list running in your head and of course, your portal to the limitless world of necessary and unnecessary data, your phone. And then, as time goes by, you scroll away into eternity on your favourite social media app until you reach the very end of the explore page. Before you know it, two hours of your very valuable time have scrolled away too. Or sometimes, even though you realize you’re wasting time, you still continue procrastinating because, “Yeah there’s enough time, I can finish my work later”.
Apart from neurological reasons, there are numerous physiological causes of procrastination. An important one is frail self-control, which includes factors like lack of self-motivation, laziness and unwillingness to work. Procrastination is typical of students.
They often fall prey to distraction and temptation, or prefer temporary satisfaction in the present over long term relief gained after the completion of the task. Another reason is the time frame they’ve been given. If a 2 hour assignment is to be completed over a 2 day weekend, they would probably drag it to the last hour of the last weekend day, and sometimes still manage to complete it well before deadline. Sometimes the value of the reward expected and the time lag between acquiring the reward and working for it today also leads to procrastination. People also procrastinate because of indecisiveness and the inability to prioritize important tasks. When given too many options to choose from or given options with wider and vital scope, people fail to analyse them well and end up wasting time deciding which one to do first or how exactly to take the right actions.
Though procrastination is considered normal to a certain extent and has countable pros, its cons weigh more. On the good side, it increases your working capacity and provides an energy boost- you know you have little time left until the deadline, and so you accelerate your functioning speed to accomplish the task. Procrastinating for a while after a long hectic day is somewhat desirable, to give yourself a mental break to prepare for the next set of tasks. And on the bad side, well we all have had the taste of it, haven’t we? It leads to stress and panic when we realize the amount of time we wasted. It can depreciate the quality of our work product, because things done in a hurry don’t always end up well; and this could ultimately affect our productivity and persona.
What is required now, is to devise solutions to combat this undesirably-desirable evil. One could try maintaining a physical list of tasks for each day. Personally, the motivation I get by ticking off completed tasks gets me going. Break tasks down to smaller, accomplishable pieces. For example, you are required to make a research project. Start by outlining the main tasks this involves, like collecting information from sources, arranging for accompanying images and visuals, piling up stationery and other physical materials required. And then carry out these bits of the whole task with short breaks in between. This makes the job more well-organised and likable. If devices and media are a distraction, keep aside at least two hours of your day as a gadget-free period. And during this time, try to squeeze in as many assignments as you can, with a reward of getting to use your devices again for as long as you want, after the two hours.
Taking into account my procrastination levels in a day, I can not-so-proudly say that I put the Pro in Procrastination. In conclusion, don’t be like me. And if you’re reading this while in your procrastination phase, good luck to you.