“I’m so happy that my life has no meaning…I can give it one!” (Constantin Noica)
Today I want us to do an exercise of honesty. Let’s look into each other’s eyes and see all those dreams, aspirations we have, but we constantly put off. Somewhere, in an uncertain future, we place our desires that turn into some broken toys tossed somewhere in a box, in the attic. We think of them with great joy and excitement, but do nothing to make them real. “Some day, I could learn a new sport,” “On Monday, I’m going to start working on my first novel,” “Soon, I’ll start eating healthier”, “My current relationship does not make me happy … I’ll finish it as soon as I can “,” I should begin to study for the exam “. Unfortunately, we find ourselves that we let every day pass by without making these dreams concrete, without even trying to turn them into reality.
What is procrastination?
It is much easier for us to make excuses than striving to take the first step on our path. What is procrastination? Well, procrastination is when:
- we plan to do tomorrow what we didn’t do yesterday or the day after tomorrow what we won’t do tomorrow;
- we chronically put off things and find excuses for not doing what we have planned – “I have no time”, “I have no comfortable space”, “I haven’t got the phone call I was waiting for”, “I have no money”;
- we head to our desk for work, but we find ourselves in the kitchen for a snack;
- we start our work session with a “short” relaxation break. Often we use to say, “There is very little work to do so I can relax a little now and finish my work later … I have enough time to do it”
- we set deadlines that are uncertain or very easy to be put off ” from tomorrow on”, “from Monday on ” or “next month”, “soon”, “as soon as I can”;
- we wait for perfect conditions to help us get the work started. I’m sure many of us have said at least once in a lifetime “I’m not good enough to do this”, “Other people are more fortunate / much better / more prepared than me”;
- we choose a momentary pleasure and put off something that “should” be done. “I’d better take a nap before starting to study / I’ll have three more chocolate muffins today and I promise that I’ll start my diet tomorrow”
- we waste our time waiting for “that” moment of inspiration, instead of rolling up our sleeves and starting working.
Why do we chose procrastination?
Almost 95% of people in the world have this bad habit. Very few succeed to focus on what they do, to organize their time more efficiently so that they can get the results they are pursuing and grow. Although everyone has dreams, very few people choose to turn them into reality. You read it well “they choose” because nobody can do that but themselves. And yet, it is very hard for all of us to leave the comfort zone behind and start our own journey. In order to do that, we must identify that thing which holds us back from making our dreams come true. It is the task or us?
The reason we claim most often refers to the unpleasant parts of a task. Most times, the best way to deal with them is DOING them as soon as possible, so you can then focus on the more pleasant aspects.
Bad time management can be another reason for procrastination. Organized people have their lists of priorities to be carried out. A good time management often prevents procrastination from appearing in our lives, as dividing a task into smaller steps eliminates the anxiety related to the amount and duration of the task.
For some, success itself becomes a reason for fear, because if they complete a task assigned to them, they may have it assigned again later on, or might get even greater responsibilities. Many people are afraid of success because of the change it brings in their lives and for which they’re not ready yet. Therefore, that may be the reason for which many of those who earn large amounts at lottery fail to keep the money for a longer time, because they are not emotionally ready for such a success. I’m sure you also know many famous singers, players, actors who started using drugs, drinking, wasting their lives and talent, overwhelmed by the “burden” of their success.
Perfectionists are sometimes the victims of procrastination, because of their way of thinking: ” I cannot do this perfectly now, so I won’t do it at all.”
Lack of experience in making decisions can be another reason of procrastination. When you cannot decide on the ways in which you are supposed to perform a task, there is the risk for you to delay it fearing that you may chose a wrong option.
How can we overcome procrastination?
1. A better time management. Maybe some of you know Mircea Eliade, the great historian of religions, born in Romania, brilliant professor at the University of Chicago. As a high school student, he used to have extremely poor results especially in Biology and French. Although he was a brilliant young man, he would fail to meet the standards required by teachers. When he had to repeat the exam in Biology, he used an effective strategy. Every morning, would wake up 2 minutes earlier than the previous day. Thus, within a week, he managed to wake up 15 minutes earlier and study more, managing to pass that exam eventually.
2. Draw up a list of activities, setting a deadline for each of them, prioritize them and get started! Focus on difficult exams, urgent projects and those tasks you can carry out later. It is important for you to maintain a steady rhythm of work, without taking long and frequent breaks that can disturb you.
3. Split larger tasks into smaller steps that accomplish them within a deadline. Thus, you will not be discouraged because of things you have to do and you can also organize your work more efficiently.
4. Create a comfortable work environment to represent you. A familiar environment, surrounded by positive energy, stimulates your creativity and increases efficiency. Make sure the light to be as natural as possible, your desk to be away from sources of irradiation (TV, computer, home appliances), there are flowers in your room to purify the air and provide as much oxygen as possible. Also, be sure to let the windows wide open every morning and evening, even during winter time.
5. Give up on activities that you used to carry out and break your work moment. If you cannot remove them from your schedule, draw up a set of rules for these activities and meet them the best you can.
6. Set goals and do not neglected them. Strive to work on them every single day, even when you feel you are not in the mood for that. Remember that you have to keep a constant work rate as even the smallest achievement in a day is more important than a day with no achievements at all.
7. Reward yourself for every success you have (an evening at the mall e.g.) and focus on your next success.
8. Change your perception when it comes to failures and try to see in them just another way to your personal evolution and learning. Thus, you will overcome your fear of failure and focus on doing things rather than avoiding or delaying them.
The most important lesson we must learn is that the line between success and failure is very thin and the difference can be done by a single inch acquired in ACTION, not waiting. So do not be afraid to take action, to be wrong sometimes, to grow, TO NOT ABANDON and build the life you want!
Tell us about your personal ways to overcome procrastination!
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