Procrastination is a silent killer.
A killer of productivity that is.
Procrastination is, in my opinion, the most destructive behaviour that a person can exhibit if they want to be successful.
It is so destructive because of its sheer insidiousness.
Think about it - a lot of the time, you don't actually know when you are procrastinating.
That's because it's hard to put your finger on what procrastination actually is. It's very easy to convince yourself that you aren't procrastinating. It's easy to blur the edges of work enough so that you can claim you've done 6 hours of studying in the library. There is no real, objective red flag that says "now you're procrastinating".
But if you ask yourself, the last time you spent 6 hours in the library, how much of that time did you spend studying?
If you're honest, it was probably about 2 hours. Maybe 3 if you're a very good student.
The rest of the time, when you weren't actually studying, you were probably procrastinating.
No, those trips to the bathroom and to grab a coffee do not add up to 3 hours.
Al the time you spent talking, making pointless lists, reading irrelevant stuff, or reading the news - those things add up to a lot of time.
And that is procrastinating.
It should be obvious then why procrastination is so destructive.
You can wind up in a position where you think you are working 14 hour days without actually getting that much done.
Hell, it can really feel like you're working 14 hours a day.
You can become very successful.
But if you're spending 6, 4, even 1 of those hours procrastinating, you're wasting A LOT of potential and putting yourself through a lot of stress in the process.
why do we procrastinate?
Surprisingly, we don't procrastinate because we are poor managers of time.
Many people assume that procrastinators are just bad at planning their calendars. They assume that they just don't leave enough time to finish that essay, or practice the presentation, or train for the race.
But several comprehensive studies have been done on this topic and they are pretty conclusive: procrastination is not a breakdown of time management skills.
Procrastination is a problem of will power, habit, and personality.
Procrastination is in part a symptom of personality.
Different personality types have different tendencies when it comes to hard work and diligence.
People who are highly conscientious, for example, tend to value hard work, be very punctual, and they tend to procrastinate a lot less than people who are low in conscientiousness.
Similarly, impulsive, novelty-seeking people (a trait of openness) will procrastinate more, as they simply can't stop a new goal displacing the old one.
How you conceptualize negative consequences also seems to have a huge impact on your proclivity for procrastination. If you're the sort of person who says "well, it could have been worse", then you are more likely to procrastinate than someone who always dwells on lost benefits.
how do we stop it?
While a lot of what makes us procrastinate comes down to personality, it isn't a matter of fate.
Your personality just makes you more or less likely to procrastinate.
It makes it harder to resist the urge to put down your book and pick up the remote.
But that doesn't mean you can't beat procrastination, and beat it for good.
Below you will find some tips for overcoming procrastination in the long run.
If you can master just a few of these practices, you'll soon discover that your urge to procrastinate diminishes, and your daily output goes through the roof.
1. Break Down Your Goals
2. Write Everything Down
3. Develop Self-Discipline
4. Divide Up Your Work Into Timed Intervals
5. Break Up Your Work With Exercise