Procrastination or postponement is an essential part of time management. In psychology, procrastination (from procrastination – retardation, latency, procrastinatus: pro (instead of forward), crastinus – tomorrow) means a tendency towards a constant “postponement for tomorrow” even of the important and urgent tasks, leading to painful psychological effects.
Realizing the need to carry out specific essential tasks, one deliberately distracts his attention to a day-to-day entertainment and slows the execution of a particular task as much as possible. Procrastination differs from laziness: lazy persons are not eager to do anything and will not worry about it. In the state of procrastination, people realize the importance and timeliness of the job but do nothing, just seek self-justification to postpone it for later instead. Procrastination is also a different state than rest. When we rest, energy reserves are created, and when something is postponed, then energy is lost, and one feels depressed and anxious.
Procrastination turns into a problem when it becomes a “working” state where one spends most of their time. Such a person postpones everything important for later, and when all the deadlines for doing the job have passed, he or she either gives up the whole plan or tries to do the job in a shorter time. As a result, the performance is poor, and the output is incomplete, which leads to the corresponding negative effect – missed opportunities, dissatisfaction by some colleagues, etc. Thus, by getting stressed, a person can feel guilty and reduce his productivity.
Reasons for Procrastination:
- Low self-esteem – uncertainty in oneself, in what one does – whether people will like it, whether it makes sense to lose energy, power, time and money.
- Perfectionism – the work is postponed in the quest to achieve perfection, perfecting the details and ignoring time
- Self-limitation – the baffler limits himself from the subconscious fear that he will be successful, will be able to move away from the masses, and will be distinguished.
- Disobedience – a striving to show self-reliance and ability to work according to their own decisions. These rebels, always dissatisfied with their achievements, and they spend their entire lives thus proving their independence from the public opinion.
Temporal Motivation Theory – according to it, the subjective utility determining one’s desire for self-improvement depends on four parameters:
- Expected remuneration, Values
- Delay time
- Susceptibility to retention
From this theory, it can be concluded that the lower the level of postponement, the higher the expectations of the work and more valuable the results. The best work is done when expectations are high and there is personal interest in it, with the deadline minimized.
Techniques to deal with procrastination
Dealing with procrastination depends on the degree of motivation (the interest in work and the positive expectations of the task completion). In some cases the solution to the problem is changing the workplace. However, this is the universal and radical path and most people are not ready to take it.
There are different methodologies related to time planning and management, allowing to reduce more or less the degree of procrastination, thus leading to increased life satisfaction and stress reduction.
Working time planning:
- Allocate 20% free time, 60% of your time for current tasks, 10% for unforeseen tasks, and 10% – for spontaneous commitments.
- In order to plan your time qualitatively, you can allocate tasks to different categories in time– long-term, medium-term, short-term
- Basic principle – regularity, orderliness and consistency
- The planned volume of tasks should be realistic for the time you have.