Managing procrastination Part 2
Procrastination is the decision to delay or not complete a task you have committed to for no valid reason, and instead engage in another activity of lesser importance regardless of negative consequences associated with not following through with the original task.
Persistent patterns of procrastination not only impair productivity but can also increase stress, anxiety and/or depression symptoms and lead to lower life satisfaction. Overcoming procrastination is entirely possible if we are able to recognise it (if you haven’t already, read part 1 here to review some common reasons which can underlie these tendencies).
There are many psychological strategies that have shown effectiveness in managing procrastination. These include:
- Increasing awareness: To gain control over procrastination, we must be able to reflect on our motivations, habits and thoughts that may contribute to it. Procrastination can serve many purposes; therefore, it is important to identify the root of the problem to be able to sustainably combat these behaviours.
- Find your motivation: When we avoid or delay a task, we are usually prioritising our short-term gains i.e., avoiding the stress associated with the task, over our long-term gains. Unfortunately, avoidance can lead to unfavourable long-term outcomes and negative consequences. Writing down our long-term goals and investing in our future self can help us find the drive we need to complete tasks.
- Time management skills: Whether this is breaking down tasks into manageable steps, setting realistic goals or implementing rewards for completed work, there is an abundance of time management techniques and tools which can help serve to reduce procrastination habits. Experimenting with various strategies to find what works best for you is important and will largely depend on the reasons underlying your procrastination. For example, many find ‘to-do lists’ invaluable resources whilst others might find they only increase stress and procrastination.
- Practice self-compassion: We typically avoid tasks that evoke negative emotions. If we feel sad, stressed, anxious, doubtful, or bored we are likely to neglect even the simplest tasks as they may appear too overwhelming when in these emotional states. Identifying how we are feeling and how these emotions may be influencing our attitude towards a particular task is key in learning how to move forward. Practicing self-compassion i.e., allowing us to be warm and understanding when we feel inadequate, or struggle is a powerful strategy to help reduce avoidance.
- Seek professional support: Sometimes it can be overwhelming and difficult to uncover the root of our procrastination habits. At Positive Mind Works, we have a team of psychologists with knowledge and experience in treating and managing procrastination. Together you can paint a picture of your procrastination patterns and develop a tailored treatment plan to manage and reduce these behaviours.To learn more about booking an appointment for help managing procrastination or to find out which psychologist would be a good match for your needs, please call our team on 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ). Alternatively, book online here