"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."
- Pablo Picaso
According to Psychology Today, roughly 20 percent of people are chronic procrastinators. Procrastination is something that effects most people at some stage so I thought it could be an interesting topic to write about.
There are a range of different reasons why people procrastinate. For some people the fear of failure is bigger than the desire to try. Other people find it easier to work under pressure and by putting a task off until the last minute they create this challenge for themselves. And for others its simply a case of laziness. Another odd reason why people procrastinate is because some people hate to make decisions and the task calls for a decision. The act of putting something off for a later time is surrounded by not knowing how your mood will be tomorrow. You might think "I'll do it tomorrow because I'm just too tired now", but when you are trying to find reasons to delay then tomorrow will always hold its own problems.
I have struggled with procrastination in the past, however I wouldn't call myself a chronic procrastinator. I'm usually pretty good at just forcing myself to do something. But I have found that when I do put tasks off or delay errands that it's usually due to a lack of passion. It will either be because I've felt obliged to say yes to something that I had no actual interest in doing, or that the reward for completing the task is of no interest to me. Or I simply have better things to do which I feel more passionate about. It can be confusing sometimes to find where your passions lie. I might say yes to a task without thinking about the consequence. Think of it this way: when you say yes to something, you always say no to something else. So that could be: yes I'll go out to coffee at 10am which means you're saying no to mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. But there's always something you are giving up to do something else. For me it's not so much procrastination that's my problem, but not wanting to give up my time for something that I either, don't care about, or care less about than something else.
So if you're similar to me, then here is a solution that I have learnt to be helpful. Get into this habit. Whenever someone's asked for something, anything at all - even something simple like "do you want to see a movie?". Count to 3 in your head before you answer. Ask yourself "what am I saying no to?, and do I want to say no to that?". You have no obligations, you don't have to do something out of guilt. And often you're being less helpful to someone if you say yes but then keep putting it off.
Consider a life you could have, free of procrastination and free of obligation driven actions. Imagine if you lived a life lead by passion and you worked hard towards your goals. Imagine if everyone did this. The best way to cut off the habit of procrastinating is to first determine what causes it and to address it from the ground up. Something really important is to evaluate where you're at. There's no shame in quitting something that isn't bringing you joy. I've often found that the happiest people are those that have quit something. Quit living by other peoples expectations. Quit being lead by guilt. Quit listening to the negativity of those around you; whether it be family, friends, coworkers or otherwise. The people you spend time with hold a huge impact on your outward demeanor and attitude, just remember that.
So I encourage you, when you've finished reading this, take a moment and write a list of what you feel passionate about, what you love doing, and what brings you joy. And then based off that list cut some things from your life and fill those spaces with good and productive things. This won't completely delete procrastination from your life. But I think a lot of people get these things confused. Your problem might not be procrastination, but merely that you are trying to force yourself to do things you don't really want to be doing.
So grab yourself a cup of coffee and go work on those passions.
Thanks for reading