Remember the days when you take your books in your hand to study and 2 minutes later go dive into your cell phone or the days when you keep aside the work allotted to you till the eleventh hour thinking each and every day “I will do this tomorrow” or “there is still time”. Well, this tendency to hold off certain important tasks until the last minute is known as procrastination. Procrastination is not a mental health disease but excess of it can lead to stress, depression, anxiety, etc. Therefore, it is important to address procrastination as a symptom of mental health diseases. The need to address this is because usually, we ignore our tendency to procrastinate as laziness where it could be a sign of a disease.
The word procrastination comes from the Latin word pro castinus which means ‘for tomorrow’. Procrastination has always been there in human beings in many ways and now, the trend is we blame it on social media. We look into it as just another instance of wasting time and get tons of advices on effective time management. But now discussions, on how procrastination’s horizon broadens to not just time but also emotions, are active. Thus, it gives a new layer to procrastination as not only the incapacity for time management but also as the inability to cope up with emotions.
CAUSES OF PROCRASTINATION
Every individual procrastinate most of the time. But for some people, it the lack of productivity that is born out of the procrastination that makes them stress a lot as it hinders their daily life. Also, someone with mental health issues will be battling it as a result of which they are unable to focus on their work which may be avoided as mere laziness. Studies have shown that procrastination can be the result of mental illnesses like ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc.
People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and mostly when it is coupled with bipolar may stall their work as they experience both time management issues as well find it difficult to cope up with certain emotional situations. If we say about depression, most people will be facing the issue of low self esteem, the result of which is procrastination. They feel either not worthy in doing the job they do or will find it hard to take interests in things they usually like. Procrastination can also be considered a symptom of anxiety disorder because extra stressing on the difficult tasks that are in front of them would lead to avoiding it altogether and will be caught up with the fear of failing. Also, if one procrastinates for a long time, then he/she might end up being stressful, have negative implications on relationships and will use it as a tool to cope up with nerve racking situations.
Procrastination will take heavy toll on your mental health and also affects your daily life ranging from poor performance in academics or jobs, loss of precious opportunities, refraining from taking up responsibilities to the feelings of fear, guilt, etc
WAYS TO REDUCE PROCRASTINATION
There are different field based methods of reducing procrastination. For example, when it comes to learning, a method was devised by Francesco Cirillo called the Pomdoro Technique which suggests the 25 minutes of learning with a small break of 5 to 10 minutes and back to next section. So, there are such methods to reduce stalling important activities.
First of all, what one has to do is to acknowledge the reason behind not doing the works at the earliest. Sometimes, it will be the severity of the task or the lack of clear understanding of the different ways to finish the work, the reason for slating it. In such case, you can seek help from others and it is normal to do that. Also, for some people, keeping updated about the status of others who are doing the same work and keeping up with that, might incite motivation to do their tasks. If the task you have to complete is really heavy, consider dividing it into bits. Try to begin with the simple and interesting pieces and then move on to the more difficult ones. Instead of taking it all or giving it all in one go, take baby steps towards the conclusion of the works.
The next step is self forgiveness. Yes, there may be times when you have procrastinated and skipped important tasks of yours. But gather the courage to accept it, lessen the feeling of guilt and thereby, be more productive. There are studies showing how the people who have once admitted to and have forgiven themselves have lesser chances of procrastination in the future. So, the thing is one should get over the sense of guilt over their past experiences and move on.
If by all means you can’t get over the tendency to procrastinate, consider seeking help from the part of a mental health professional. It is important to analyse whether this is due to some other disorders that you might have not noticed about yourself. Ignoring it as something trivial can have negative impact on your behaviour and your daily life. Procrastination happens to everyone at some point of time in their lives but do understand when this starts exhausting your mental well being and treat it accordingly.