I Put Things Off
Updated: May 22, 2019
I always put things off until the very last minute.
It is quite normal for someone to put off doing chores like cleaning your room, doing homework or studying, stacking the dishwasher or any other seemingly mundane and boring task. Not many people enjoy doing these things but they have to be done and if it’s your turn, you might as well get it over and done with.
Unfortunately, you have a habit of putting things off until the very last minute in the hope that someone else will step in and save the day for you, and sometimes, if you’re very lucky, somebody does, but usually not.
This is called procrastination and it often happens when we are feeling overwhelmed with a task that we know must be done but we either don’t feel like doing it or fear doing it because we really don’t know how. It feels much more comfortable to put off our important jobs and forget all about them. We rationalise that they’re not that important and if they really are, then someone else will do them for you.
Procrastination causes us to utilise delaying strategies like watching TV, playing video games, going out to visit our neighbours or friends or even hanging around our parents to see what they are doing. It feels much better to do these things, keeping you in a comfort zone. Unfortunately for you, this strategy is just like junk food, it has some very unhealthy side effects. As a deadline approaches, you become more and more worried. Stress levels rise, and the stress itself becomes distracting. The pain from the stress can then trigger an elevation in the problem, worse procrastination. Suddenly, it’s an hour from bed time and that assignment that you were supposed to do hours ago has not even been started.
It’s beginning to feel very uncomfortable, so you look around for a way to get out of the situation you have put yourself into. Maybe you can throw a sickie and buy yourself another 24 hours. It’s a bit desperate but it might work. Maybe you can arrive at some plausible excuse as to why you can’t hand in your homework. So you start telling lies, convincing yourself that they’re only little white lies and they’re hurting no-one.
Life becomes more complicated, and over time, following these strategies of procrastination will cause further complications for your future. Very few people can consistently lie and get away with it, so that means that sooner or later people will know you to be a liar. This changes how they relate to you and changes the trust levels in your relationships. This is extremely unhealthy for you, because people are never quite sure you’re telling the truth. Because they don’t trust you, you end up missing out on opportunities that could have been yours if you were more trustworthy.
Missing deadlines at school will cause you to get bad grades. It will also indicate that you have poor studying habits and a poor work ethic. It’s bad enough to be labelled as untrustworthy at school, but it’s even worse if this bad reputation follows you throughout your career. Most of us need to work to feed and clothe ourselves. We certainly don’t need our bad habits, lying and laziness, to interfere with our ability to earn a living, but it is almost a certainty if you are a habitual procrastinator, it will negatively impact upon you and this reputation you’re building for yourself will follow you throughout your career. It may not affect you at the moment during school years, but having to work in a career that sucks the energy out of you and leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth about life is a future most people wish to avoid.
If you are suffering from procrastination but are in denial about it, stop reading here. You’re not going to change and what I have to say here won’t make any difference to you.
But if you want to avoid this unfortunate future, read on...
There are many strategies to conquer procrastination. Try these to get you started:
1.) Recognise that you are struggling with procrastination but are sick of the consequences and what it is has cost you in the past, what it will cost you in the present and into your future.
2.) Identify all distractions that can pull you away from your assignment or task and remove them. Make sure you do this first and maintain a small gap of time between removing your distractions and starting your project. Ask your parents or guardian for help in removing difficult distractions which may include devices that host your social media and video channels.
3.) Write down a time schedule for the task. Write when you need to start your project, and when it needs to be finished by.
4.) Trying to do whole assignments in one huge chunk can be tedious and can cause you to become bored, bitter and resentful at having to lock yourself in a room for hours to study.
5.) Start your project with the task you feel is the easiest and most fun.
6.) Look at your current assignment. It seems big, right? Maybe even overwhelming. How can you tackle this assignment? Break it down into small pieces and tackle one small piece at a time, at regular intervals. First, try working for 5 minutes, then break for five minutes. Work another five minutes then break another 5 minutes. This strategy is called divide and conquer.
7.) When you get tired of working in 5 minute intervals, challenge yourself to do 10 minute brackets.
Conquering procrastination is one of the greatest challenges you can face during your early years but if you form healthy habits now and keep practicing them, you are more likely to be in control of the direction of your life when pursuing your career and your relationships.
If you are still having trouble with procrastination and are looking for more in-depth strategies to deal with it, please contact me here.
Contact: David Gillman - The Mindset Mechanic