Do you ever say things like “I’m going to do this thing no matter what” then you don’t. Even when you try your best to do it, you just stop feeling the motivation to do it. That’s me.
I think at some point I felt like I wasn’t a procrastinator anymore. That I could do things Immediately but I later realized that it never left. I even dished out different tips on staying proactive.
What I did notice is that a lot of us confuse procrastination with laziness subconsciously. Maybe through parenting or the perception society give us about procrastination.
Laziness is being unwilling to perform an action or task. When you are lazy you are totally not interested in doing it. When you procrastinate, however, there are higher chances of you doing it but not at the right time.
Finding out that procrastination was different from laziness helped me fine tune my thoughts to figure out why I actively procrastinate.
Because I realized that I didn’t always procrastinate and there are times when I do things Immediately without feeling the need to push it forward or do it later.
What exactly was the difference between my procrastinator self and my go go self?
I realized that one of the differences is confidence. Because in between procrastination and doing stuff there’s a lot of other things going on in my head.
Honestly, I don’t get distracted unless I want to be distracted.
Sometimes I really want to be distracted from my feelings about the task because I’m not confident about my ability to perform the task excellently.
This is what I mean
When someone says on Monday that you have to write a 2000 words essay and submit before Saturday, you freak out at first. Your anxieties take over and you imagine failing at writing the essay a couple of times or you imagine not performing well.
To stop yourself from feeling anxious, you distract yourself with a movie or with social media. And you don’t end up thinking about the work until you are about to sleep. That’s when you worry about not doing it well.
When its Thursday night, you eventually get the drive you need to see the work through. Because you realize you have to do it before your deadline. You have to submit. Then for a brief second, you forget about how scared you are to complete the task and you actually complete it.
Sometimes all it takes to not procrastinate is the extra Pat on the back and the boost of confidence. Which is why when I feel scared and I cower from performing a task, I ask myself why. After that, I try to find myself motivation.
That lack of confidence is usually because I’m afraid of being rejected. Sometimes, I write good pieces and I don’t post them because what if people don’t like it. What if I get no reactions. So I just brush off the sad feelings by getting lost in a good book.
Other times, I procrastinate because I have too much to do and I feel overwhelmed by it. Like having a totally messy room and not knowing where to start cleaning up the mess from. Or having too many plates to wash and freaking out thinking about it.
Procrastination doesn’t just happen because we are lazy. It’s because we are sometimes afraid to face ourselves or to face our fears so we take the easy route.
What’s the solution
I know I have written a bunch of posts on how to do stuff Immediately but the truth is the only way to stop procrastinating is to face yourself everytime you want to procrastinate.
It requires concentration and awareness. Because our decision to procrastinate happens within seconds. One minute we are thinking of fully immersing ourselves in work, the next we are distracted.
Awareness means being aware of the present. So instead of staying in your head and just thinking of random stuff, you would focus on being present in the present. It takes a lot of practice and exercises to become more aware of our thoughts and our environment.
But when you learn to be aware of your own thoughts, it becomes easier to tackle tasks immediately.
I’m currently working on becoming more aware so I can detect the reasons for my procrastion before moving a task forward.
Using a planner
A lot of people talk about using a planner on blogs and vlogs. It works, yes. But what if you also procrastinate using a planner.
From experience you can buy a planner and not use it because you plan to plan with it later ( kindly ignore the weird word play.)
Which is what happens to a lot of us.
For me, it is because I give up habits after two weeks of trying. That’s why when I’m making plans, I feel bad because I might not be following the plans strictly. So I try to plan as little as possible before I eventually give up planning.
If there’s anything I learnt about myself this year, it is that I can follow plans if I want to. And when I use my planner right, I’m more productive.
One thing I realized over the years is that I’m an over ambitious planner. I tend to bite more than I can chew everytime which makes me anxious. I end up not doing anything at the end of the day.
Now I’m learning to take things easier with myself.
Brain dumping works
To get myself to do things sometimes, I do a little brain dumping. I basically get a book and a pen and I write down everything I’m thinking about the task.
You won’t know how much this works until you actually try it. When you braindump honestly, you find out a lot about yourself and about the reasons why you need to push a particular task away.
P.s: You would forget things sometimes. You need a book to help you remember.
Sometimes you might just be tired and you need rest. Or you have too much going on.
Gratitude logs over self blame.
It’s good to understand that procrastination comes along with self blame or self pity. Self blame for me makes it tougher to not procrastinate. At some point, you would get too comfortable with blaming yourself.
A better approach I found is thanking myself for the things I actually did. While blaming yourself, you might totally forget about the little things you accomplished.
Gratitude grows into positivity and you need all the positivity you can get to get tasks done. It is easier to do things when you feel positive than it is when you are beating yourself up.(Also from personal experience.)
Remember that laziness is outrightly deciding to do nothing and procrastination is pushing things forward because of different reasons.
The solutions I have offered are currently working for me since it’s a gradual process.
I hope that you find them useful.
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