No matter how you frame it, one of the biggest enemies in life is procrastination.
So loathed is this enemy, and how negatively we see it, has led us to use different words to describe it so that we can tell ourselves that we are not procrastinating.
Some of the words we use as an alternative to procrastinating actually have negative connotations. Yet we still use them to describe the act. Which is a reflection of how gloomy we attribute the word to.
While some people see procrastination as a mortal enemy and constantly try to defeat it. Others see it as part and parcel of life and embrace it like an indulgence.
No matter where you are at regarding procrastination, there are 4 major sources of it.
1) Avoiding pain
Pain is not all physical. Psychological pain can, in many ways, be much more destructive to a person.
And it can be so much pain to bear that an individual does everything he can to avoid doing things that evoke psychological pain.
The level of psychological pain a person can endure depends from person to person.
So while you might be able to withstand heavy amounts of misery and heartbreak, others might have a very low tolerance for even a minute amount of it.
For example, the prospect of missing the latest episode of your favorite drama series on prime time can be too torturous on your mind to skip it just to catch up on school revision.
2) Fear of failure
I remember a time when I was fit as a fiddle and could do 10 chin-ups easily. Yet I never attempted to go above 10 because I was afraid that I would find out my limit was at 11 or 12. This little fear in me stopped me from ever finding out, or going beyond, my limits.
While the above is not a great example of the fear of failure triggering procrastination, it is still an appropriate example of it.
We live in a world where failure is looked down upon. Even relatives in family gathering love to gossip and laugh over the people around them encountering failure.
It’s not nice. But a fact of life.
The fear of being unable to accomplish whatever task you attempt to take on can lead to hardcore procrastination.
3) Social disapproval
We only need to look at social media to see how important people view social acceptance is in life.
The constant sharing, liking and commenting is very much about social acceptance.
People for example would share stuff that their friends would like and avoid sharing things that would be met with disapproval.
A fear of social disapproval can be a big source of underlying motivation to procrastinate.
There’s nothing worse than spending hours on an activity and being ridiculed by family and peers for doing it.
Often times in life, we have to do things that we don’t like, yet are expected of us.
While many still go through the process of doing these “unwanted” stuff, many also refuse to go through with it.
For example, you might feel a little resentment or even anger that your mother laid the expectation on you to empty the trash everyday. You feel that it’s unjustified how you somehow became the person responsible for this task. And decides to procrastinate instead.
You have not been treated fairly. And there’s no justification for you to go out of your way to do a task that has been thrown at you.
There are some basic ways you can apply to defeat this enemy of your residing in your head.
If you have already decided to combat it, you already have the battle half-won. The next step is to take action.
Just do it
I used to go to the gym. And for a period of time, decided to stop altogether because the traveling is just too boring and tiresome.
This simple reason alone was enough to demotivate me from working out.
But I found that I enjoy exercising. The problem was the journey to the gym.
To eliminate this laziness, I forced myself to just get out and make my way there no matter how unpleasant the trip might be. Because once I get there, I would be having a blast of a time.
Set aside time for unwanted tasks
You might see certain tasks as a complete waste of time and therefore refuse to do it.
But maybe a part of you might find that it is necessary to do them. Or else your wife would be nagging at you for the whole week. Or that you would have to sidestep your boss when you see him in the office after the weekend.
In this case, set aside a little time just to complete those pesky tasks.
For example set a time and decide that you would spend 30 minutes for housekeeping. And stop as soon as the 30 minutes expire.
This method helps you to get your ass up and at least get a little stuff done.
Give yourself a treat
Can you recall the last time you rewarded yourself and given yourself a treat?
Most people can’t.
A great way to motivate yourself to take action is to reward yourself with a treat when an errand is done.
For example, you might have always felt a sense of guilt when playing video games for 4 hours straight. You can reward yourself with that 4 hours on the condition that you get a specific task done. You can then have guilt-free gaming and enjoy it better.
Make yourself accountable
When you go public with a declaration of your commitment to beat procrastination, you will feel that others will be holding you accountable to do exactly that.
This is very powerful stuff.
Being held accountable can often be motivation enough to “coerce” yourself into doing something your don’t like, yet knows it is good for you.