You have the picture of the kind of life you want to live and know exactly what you have to do or stop doing to achieve the image in your head. You have mapped out a goal and your dream is perfectly drawn in your mind. It is all outlined and mightily vivid in your memory. People who are privy to your aspirations are so rooting for you to accomplish them fast.
The only snag is; you lack the resolve to start. You wish to start. In fact, you have started in your head – just that you have not started in a way we can see the result!
WHAT PROCRASTINATION IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT
Procrastination is not lack of vision or laziness. You actually have the vision crystal clear and how to go about it, but you lack the will and sometimes the discipline to execute them. For example, you desire to have some slices of sizzling hot pizza for lunch. You have made up your mind you want the flavour you want, you know where the nearest pizza joint is, you have enough cash in your pocket to buy but quitting the video game you are so engrossed in order to go buy is the problem.
You say ‘I’ll play for one more hour then I’ll go get my lunch’. Then the set hour elapses, you say ‘in another hour’ yet again till it is too late and you have to compensate lack of lunch at dinner time, thereby eating more than your usual portion. And we know that’s not very healthy.
Or citing a more serious example, you have 48 hours to deliver some tasks. You know you should start immediately so you can get it done in good time, but you know how deadlines always have the forever feel.
A chronic procrastinator will see 2-hour deadline as an eternity away and go ahead to fritter away precious time till it’s too late! Then they have to rush through or they don’t get the job done at all.
FALL OUTS OF PROCRASTINATING
1. Swamped life: Procrastinators are always weighed down by the enormous workload caused by them consistently procrastinating. The reality is; all the tasks we procrastinate away are not going anywhere. I like to think of them as having a lounge they all go relax in, patiently waiting for us to get off wherever we are comfortably cocooned in to come to execute them. These tasks are extremely patient ‘beings’.
A slightly overweight person, for instance, who is advised to get in the gym to stem the calories tide but keeps procrastinating, the excess weight will happen on them as a thief in the night and they will need to work harder and do more than they would have if they started early.
2. Foggy-mindedness: There is a peace that comes with having a mostly clear plate at every given time that is alien to chronic procrastinators – that is when you are not swamped with many undone tasks. You have a calm mind, a clear outlook to life.
People who procrastinate are always guilt ridden even while they indulge in their favourite time-wasting activity. They constantly remember all the accumulated tasks looming and their heart palpitates. There is a peace that comes with accomplished tasks that you cannot get if you leave them undone.
3. Health Risk: Procrastination has been linked to mental health issues like anxiety and stress. I mentioned heart palpitation earlier. It is logical. You procrastinate too much with a task, the repercussion of leaving them undone will constantly torment you and that will most likely result in depression.
4. Damage to your reputation: People find it difficult to trust chronic procrastinators. And they would be justified with their stand! Procrastinators are not famed for reliability. They reneged on promises at will, do not meet deadlines or turn out a shoddy job that will be obvious was hastily executed.
HOW TO OVERCOME PROCRASTINATION
It is just one tiny but at the same time massive step: JUST DO IT! And the most unpleasant but important task goes first.
It sounds like an oversimplification, right? Well, it is what it is. When the familiar weight of lethargy looms larger than life, look it in the face, acknowledge its presence so you are not deemed rude, then get up and do what you need to do but don’t feel like doing.
‘What I really feel like doing right now is to sit comfortably before the TV and watch a couple of movies, but I have less than 48 hours to submit that 2,500-word article! I better start now!’
Yes, that way.
I soothe with my pen. Or keyboard. Or both.