Procrastination is not a problem of time management or of planning. Procrastinators are not different in their ability to estimate time, although they are more optimistic than others. “Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up,” insists Dr. Ferrari, associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago.
People procrastinate for different reasons. Below is a brief description of Dr. Ferrari three basic types of procrastinators:
Arousal types, or thrill-seekers who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
Avoiders who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
Decisional procrastinators who cannot make a decision.
These types highlight some of the common causes as to why people procrastinate. Though first we need to ask ourselves if we have properly considered the time required to complete a task successfully. It is procrastination of time management?
Also, there are so many distractions today, not least the social networking sites, that we can easily get sidetracked in to something that we didn’t intend to do or spend considerable time upon.
The most common cause of procrastination stem from three key concerns.
What if I do it wrong?
This is a reasonable concern. When we do things wrong, will it be fixable, expensive? But if this is your fear you have a few choices – you can hire someone else to do it for you, you can learn how to do it or you can let it go. Try to see this objectively – without the guilt about what you should do. What makes the most sense? No more procrastination.
What if I make the wrong decision?
Do you realise that in life there is rarely a right or wrong decision? It’s usually more about what is right for the people involved in the situation. With that in mind, we can learn from it when we make the wrong choice and then try again. What feels like the right choice for you? Again, no more procrastination.
What if I fail?
The fear of failure is one common cause of avoiding doing a task. We think of the different problems and weakness we have and how complex the work is. As we think in our mind the complexity of the project, we start thinking of the different reasons why we can’t accomplish it and the many other things that you need to do it. What if you do fail? Think it through. What will happen if you fail? Often when we procrastinate, the things we tell ourselves reflect epic failure, huge mistakes and earth shattering damages. Thankfully, most of the time we are wrong in our imaginings.
The next time you see yourself putting something off, take a moment to determine why. Try to address the fear and you may no longer feel the need to procrastinate.
Procrastinators are made and not born. This is good news as, because it’s a learned response, what’s learned can be unlearned.