I’LL DO IT LATER. NO, YOU WON’T.
When I woke up this morning, I could tell you exactly how my morning would go if you’d asked.
I could tell you that although I got up 3 hours before my first lecture, I would just go to have my bath 30 minutes before the scheduled time. I could tell you that I would spend the remaining 2½ hours twisting and turning on the bed, doing absolutely nothing in particular.
I could tell you that I would rush out of the room with unironed clothes a minute before the class, speedwalking and hyperventilating along the way. I could even tell you that I would spend the first few seconds of sitting in the lecture room wondering if I’d applied my body cream or not(why does my face feel so dry?).
I could tell you because this was the pattern every single school day. If you didn’t know me, you’d incorrectly assume that I enjoyed being late to classes. I hate being late as I dread unsolicited, unpleasant attention. I hate it!
Why then do I follow the same pattern every single day when I hate the outcome so much?
Well, the answer is my subject matter. Procrastination!!
Procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so.
According to this definition, you’re very aware of the consequences of delaying your assignment until the last minute and yet, you do exactly that- delay it.
Psychology explains procrastination as a result of a negative balance between self-control, motivation and core values.
What this essentially means is that an imbalance in these constants is responsible for your problem. You need more self-control, a great source of motivation, more positive values and less negative ones to conquer procrastination.
Self-control: You tell yourself, let me just scroll through TikTok for 5 minutes and before you know it, you’ve been there for 5 hours. You probably think that I’m exaggerating but the only thing stopping some of you from doing this is your inadequate mobile data. It might not even be TikTok, it might be sleep. “I can sleep on water”. Yes, I know that, Angela. You don’t want to do that a week before your finals though. What is particularly interesting about self-control is your idea of it. Your cocky self thinks that you’re the captain of the ship that has long sailed.
Motivation: Let’s face it Desmond, you don’t like Anatomy. That’s why you find yourself sleeping off barely 30 minutes into your TDB. It’s not just academic books though. You want to be a better Christian or Muslim but the motivation to read the Bible or the Quran is more times absent than not. This applies in any circumstance.
Negative core values: Here we have depression, low self-esteem, self-sabotage, laziness, anxiety, and fear of failure, amongst other factors.
I would unnecessarily extend the timeline for important, essential events because I was scared and overwhelmed
Did you know that your perfectionistic tendencies could be one of the reasons you procrastinate? The reason you haven’t written that perfect story that’s in your head is that you’re madly obsessed with all the t’s and the i’s being crossed and dotted respectively. You want a 10 and end up getting zilch because you just won’t take the step.
How do you stop procrastinating?
- The first step in solving any problem is to identify the problem and get acquainted with it. “Why do I procrastinate?” Answer that question and you’re halfway done.
- If your problem is a lack of control, you should set stiffer limits for yourself. Delete distracting apps and set daily time limits for others.
- For motivation, you should set immediate rewards and “punishments” for yourself. When you finish a task, reward yourself. Take yourself to dinner or something. A pat on the head, you know. We’re all big babies at the core. I once heard the story of a truant who started going to school frequently because he got a crush in class. Motivation!!!
- Prioritize tasks and divide large, overwhelming ones into smaller, feasible ones.
- Set targets for yourself. To-do lists could help you with this.
- Learn the skills of consistency and organisation.
- Be kind to yourself and take breaks.