Procrastination in the 90s vs now

What is procrastination?

The term “procrastination” appeared in the Oxford Dictionary as early as 1548. Around the same time, postponing things for later became the subject of heated debate.

Procrastination is the constant postponement of important things, which leads to life problems and negative psychological effects, namely: stress, guilt, loss of productivity, low self-esteem.

In the XX century, the problem of procrastination began to be widely covered in the scientific community. In 1977, two articles were published: “Procrastination in human life” and “Overcoming procrastination”. In the 1980s and 1990s, research was conducted on this phenomenon, which formed the basis of Noah Milgram’s work “Procrastination: the disease of modernity”. Currently, there is a whole magazine — Procrastination And Task Avoiding, entirely devoted to this problem.

At the same time, there is still no single theory explaining the causes of the delaying syndrome. And it is unlikely that this is due to the fact that scientists have postponed its consideration for later.
Source: Sam Gudilin

Reasons for postponing things for later

Procrastination is a complex phenomenon that occurs for a number of reasons. The main ones are the following:

Low self-esteem — a person does not take up the case, because he is afraid of failure. The fear of making a mistake is one of the most common. It is deeply embedded in the culture.
Perfectionism-a person overly concentrates on the ideal result and is afraid of the possible imperfect. Doesn’t know what to do to achieve the perfect result — and prefers not to do it at all.
Self-restraint — a person subconsciously does not want to become successful, to stand out from the crowd. As children, we are often taught that it is wrong and reprehensible to live differently or to do something different.
Disobedience — a person does not perform a task because he subconsciously does not agree with it. Often occurs when the task seems useless.
Fatigue is a kind of mutiny of the body, which signals that it does not have enough resources to complete the task. Procrastination is a common symptom of burnout.

Another view of the causes of procrastination is related to scientific and technological progress and the term “decision paralysis”. Modern man has so many choices that thinking about possible options “eats up all our energy.” As a result, you can’t choose anything.

A rational view of the problem is provided by the theory of time motivation. According to it, a person’s motivation to do a particular thing depends on four components: confidence in success, value for the individual (the expected reward), deadline to completion, and sensitivity to the delay in completion. The greater the confidence in success and the value, the higher the desire of the person to do business. The more time before the deadline or the more likely it is that the expected work period will be delayed, the less desire to do business.
Types of procrastination

According to Milgram’s research, there are several types of procrastination:

Household-postponing regular household chores like taking out garbage or washing dishes.
Procrastination of decision – making-delaying the choice of any decisions when all the necessary information is already available.
Neurotic-delaying vital decisions.
Academic-putting off all things related to learning.
Compulsive-procrastination as a stable type of behavior.

Researchers Chu and Choi classify procrastinators into passive-those who do not want to postpone things for later, but do it, and active-those who consciously postpone things until the last, because they are comfortable working under the pressure of deadlines.

J. R. Ferrari divides passive procrastinators (and there are obviously most of them) into indecisive ones — those who are afraid of making a mistake and procrastinating because of it, and avoidant ones-those who are afraid of being evaluated by other people.
Consequences of postponing cases

What will happen if you constantly postpone things for later:

progressive decline in self-esteem,
increased anxiety,
additional stress,
burnout,
study blockages,
drop in academic performance.

The fight against procrastination will help to improve the situation in the above areas — self-esteem, health, and academic performance. Let’s figure out how to beat procrastination.
Rules for combating procrastination

How to deal with procrastination? Since the reasons for postponing things for later can be completely different, as well as the scale of the consequences, the methods of confrontation should also differ.

It is necessary to deal with the load of outstanding tasks, as with a cluttered attic: consider each thing separately and understand what to throw out of it, what to move to another place, and what to leave as it is.

So, we begin to disassemble our “attic”.
Decide on your life goals

If you avoid making decisions by using procrastination, then first figure out your priorities. There are several ways to do this:

Setting long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals. Think about the most important goals for 5-10 years. Based on them, set goals for the next year. Then – for a month. Fix all this in one place, for example, make a mindmap.
Identification of priority areas in life. Select 5-6 areas that are important to you (study, sports, family, friendship, and others). Decide what you want to achieve in each of them in a month, a year, and five years.

Setting goals can take a whole day or more, but it’s worth it. Now, when making a decision, you will proceed from your priorities.
Give up the excess

The constant postponement of certain tasks can be a signal that these tasks are unnecessary for you. Do you need a swimming pool if you already do sports? Is learning a second language really necessary right now, or is it just a fashion statement?

Look again at your priorities and goals. Don’t be afraid to give up what you don’t need to fight procrastination.
Sort your cases

When everything is neatly laid out on the shelves, it is much easier to proceed to their execution. Case sorting systems are described in time management. The most famous is the Eisenhower matrix, which divides cases into important and urgent, important and non-urgent, unimportant and urgent, unimportant and non-urgent.
Reasons for postponing things for later

Another way is to distribute the tasks depending on the deadlines. Here, a list of tasks is compiled and the time of their execution is set. Special attention should be paid to small tasks: if the execution does not require more than 5 minutes, do it immediately, forgetting about postponing for later.
Distribute your forces

Athletes know how important it is to distribute efforts correctly. The winner is not the one who started the best, but the one who saved his strength for the final dash. Do not try to do everything in one day-distribute the load evenly throughout the week. Use your most productive phases of the day to solve difficult tasks, and then the fight against procrastination will be easier.
Train your willpower

Even with the most well-designed system, it can be difficult and unpleasant to get down to business. The good news is that you can learn to force yourself to do something that is difficult and not very pleasant. How? With the help of daily habits: push-ups, exercise, evening cleaning, learning new foreign words. Every day, forcing yourself to take on a small and not very pleasant task for you, you will soon feel that more global affairs are not so terrible.
Organize your work

To write an essay or a large essay is exactly the case from the category “important and urgent” and exactly corresponds to the goals of the student. But why is it so hard to force yourself to overcome procrastination? Because the task seems huge, like an elephant. But if this” elephant ” is cut into pieces, then you will not notice how you will eat it. Divide difficult tasks into smaller ones and set yourself small deadlines. Move towards implementation gradually — this will greatly facilitate the fight against postponing things for later.
Motivate yourself

Motivation is the main shield of the fighter against procrastination. Constantly remind yourself not only that you need to sit down for a particular task, but also about why it is necessary. Change the phrase “I must” to ” It’s my choice, because…”.

What else to do with procrastination? Use visualization: imagine what fruits will bring you successful completion of the task, what a spiritual uplift and a great mood awaits you. Do not forget to praise and reward yourself for completing tasks. Who, if not you?
Make a promise

Another way to deal with procrastination is a sense of responsibility. If you promise that you will complete the task by the specified deadline to someone close to you, you will be less likely to fail the deadline. After all, you will fail not only yourself, but also the other person.

At the Foxford home online school, for example, your mentor can become such a person. You can promise him to complete the task by a certain deadline, and the mentor will help you not forget about the task and will support you while working on it.
Forgive yourself

Don’t try to turn into a superman. Let’s open a secret: there are no people who perform 100% of their tasks on a daily basis. We all get lazy and put things off at times. Everyone has a breakdown.

According to a study conducted among students at Carleton University, the ability to forgive yourself for procrastinating leads to less procrastination in a similar situation in the future.

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