Before getting something or a task done, challenges often appear in different ways or formats which could be in the form of lack of time, lack of physical or financial power, lack of needed equipment, lack of motivation, lack of creative ideas, etc. While these listed challenges and others are mostly given attention as the major constraints that impede getting something or a task done, we often overlook the power of the habit of procrastination as a militating factor in executing a given task.
Procrastination is the act of willingly and deliberately delaying something that can be done at a particular point in time to a later time or the last minute which often results in negative consequences.
According to Linda Sapadin and Jack Maguire, in their book “It’s About Time!: The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome them” they classified procrastinators into 6 categories, which are :
These types of procrastinators don’t start a task on time due to the fear of failure. They believe they don’t have what it takes to get the particular task done at the proper time.
This set of people delays executing a task due to the belief that they may not be able to execute it perfectly. They see themselves as failures if they are not able to execute the task extremely perfectly.
People who fall into this category are those who engage themselves in Many tasks, thereby failing to prioritize the important ones and subsequently fail to get them done before the deadline.
The crisis maker
This set of procrastinators believes they need anxiety that comes along with the deadline pressure of a task before they can get it done.
The dreamer is the set of people who believe that they need not to struggle or work for something before getting it done. They believe that things will fall in places for them without little or no effort, hence they procrastinate.
This set of people deliberately delays something because they are resentful towards the task or action. They believe they shouldn’t be doing that thing in the first place. This will make them delay the task towards the deadline.
Many people ranging from school students, work professionals, and even government officials engaged themselves in one form of procrastination. According to APA PsycNet, procrastination affects 15%–20% of adults, and about 25% of adults consider procrastination to be a defining personality trait for them.
The habit of procrastination just like every other habit doesn’t happen in isolation, but can be traced to certain factors or causes, which include but not limited to: low self-esteem, fear of failure, the fear of being criticized, depression, and shying away from responsibilities, among others.
According to a student from one of the top Northern universities who appealed to have his identity kept anonymous, he explained that he has been battling with the habit of procrastination since he was admitted to the university. “My problem is, I always delay everything until the deadline. I don’t always see the need to work on my assignments and projects until the submission day. This has cost me many marks as I don’t end up meeting up with the submission of some of one assignments and projects. Even for my exam, I don’t read for it until the final day, ” he explained.
Academic procrastination is not peculiar to the above student alone, as tons of students around the world constantly battle with the habit of procrastination which poses a great challenge to their academic success.
Some of the consequences of procrastination include, loss of opportunity, exam failure, dent on reputation/integrity, inability to meet up with deadlines, failure to meet goals/target, bad decision making, waste of precious time etc.
Overcoming the habit of procrastination is not an impossible task, it is something within reach if one can be intentional about defeating the habit by following the below tips on how to overcome the habit of procrastination.
1) Act now
If you constantly think about the time you are still having left at your fingertips before the deadline of a particular project, you will naturally want to hold on for a while till later time. In order to overcome the habit of procrastination, you need to act now rather than waiting for a later time. You should psychologically reverse the deadline on your mind. This will motivate you to act now and gives you enough time to get the task done excellently.
2) Shun perfectionism
Perfection is nothing but an illusion that does not exist in the real sense. Waiting for the perfect time to have everything in order before starting a task will only help delay such a task to the last minute. You don’t need to have everything figured out before starting a task. You should start where you are and with what you have.
3) Find yourself an associate
Another method of overcoming the habit of procrastination is by looking for a partner that will hold you accountable and remind you of the need to work on a particular task before the deadline day. After setting a target for a task, you can look for a partner which may be in the form of your friends, parents, siblings, colleagues and so forth.
4) Forgive yourself
One of the best approaches to overcoming the habit of procrastination is by forgiving yourself. If you constantly regret your decision of not starting the task earlier, it will have an influence on your ability to get the job done. Free your mind from the guilt of the past so as to prepare yourself ahead for the task.
5) Shun all form of excuses
Human beings inherently look for an excuse to justify their failure in life. In order to overcome the habit of procrastination, you will need to do away with all forms of excuses. Rather than looking for an excuse that will delay you performing a task, you should channel such energy into looking for a solution that will nullify the excuses.