Procrastination – why it’s hopeless and what you can still do about it

Procrastination is the nasty habit of postponing things that need to get done. All the time.
On the other hand, if you’re not so familiar with Procrastination, you might not be needing this article, because you’re a very happy and efficient person.

So much has been written in the Productivity Bloging realm about Procrastination – two of my favorite sources are Stepcase Lifehack and Zen Habits:

How to Overcome Procrastination

How to Procrastinate

11 Practical Ways to stop Procrastinating

Dead Simple Guide to Procrastination

The Little Book of Procrastination.

Ok, so what could I say more than the obviously -much-more -productive people who wrote these posts?

Procrastination is not a habit – it’s more like an addiction.

First, there was one thing going through my mind as I read all the articles.

I don’t really want to do the damn thing I procrastinate about.

It’s like smoking or spending money addiction. You know it’s bad for you, you know you should stop. But somehow, there’s this thing, holding you back. The pleasure deriving from the addiction is greater than the pain afflicted.

In other words, the pleasure of doing other stuff, or postponing, is greater than the pain of actually getting to do that damn thing.

So in the end it’s about two options:

Either (1) you start using an enormous amount of willpower to get over it, and get that thing done.

or (2) at a point in time the pain will be larger than the pleasure, and you will HAVE to do it.

All these articles assume you’re already in point (1), where you have the willpower, and you only need a few tips on how to get it going.

What if you’re not already there? Is it hopeless? Will you be a deadline-trasher for the rest of your life? Will your phone bills remain unpaid and your expense reports undone?

I think it’s about realizing how important that thing is to you.

If it’s not a critical goal, worry less, see if it’s the kind of thing that either won’t be needed, or forgotten, or someone else will do it.

If, however, it’s that important to you, then – well – you probably already found the time to do it.

If you haven’t, then it’s not a critical goal and automatically falls into category A.

I know my procrastination “clients”: Expense reports, blog posts, and starting to write my coaching research paper. Are they killer goals? No. It’s just about balancing how much I can really manage.

So, don’t feel bad about procrastination. It’s a healthy addiction, after all. If we wouldn’t have it, we’d all be responsible and efficient people, getting everything done all the time. And where would the fun be?

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  • Arina Nikitina
    March 19, 2012

    Yes on all the points here, Maria!

    It is my observation as well that people who tend to procrastinate a lot are those who have no clear goals or don’t have one set ahead. They lose sight because they don’t appreciate what needs to be done. Why is this so? It’s because they cannot seem to find the connection between how important it is to complete or finish something that isn’t identified as a step towards their goal. So if there’s no target or objective up ahead, we cannot expect such folks to be hitting them right :)

    This post should explain it all and I do hope more people get to read your brilliant ideas. In that way, they will not only curb their habit of procrastination but learn to set goals, keep themselves motivated and become really productive individuals.

    Keep up the excellent work, Maria! Ave! Ave!

  • Maria
    March 22, 2012

    Thanks Arina! the connection between work at hand and a long term goal is a very good point. If only we could be more aware of it during out everyday work, I’m sure we would be so much more effective.
    Thanks for your feedback :)

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