Being a chronic procrastinator is hard. It’s probably tempting for you to stop reading this post halfway through and say to yourself, “I’ll read it later.” But the truth is that if you stop here, you’re unlikely to remember to continue reading this post. Most of the time, procrastination works like this: you put off a task for a while and before you know it, you have lost interest. Breaking the habit of procrastination does not become simpler or more comfortable overnight. Instead of waiting until you feel like it, you must consciously pick yourself up every day to complete your tasks.

Don’t wait until you feel like taking positive action. Take the action and then you will feel like doing it

Zig Ziglar

Around 20% of adults in the United States are chronic procrastinators, according to Joseph Ferrari. A psychology professor at DePaul University in Chicago and the author of “Still Procrastinating: The No Regret Guide to Getting It Done.” Also, according to a 2007 meta-analysis published in the Psychological Bulletin, 80% to 95% of college students procrastinate regularly. Especially when it comes to completing projects and coursework.

Breaking the habit of procrastination is important because it can affect your quality of life. For instance, adults who keep procrastinating starting a diet or exercising, are more likely to grow unhealthy. While students who keep procrastinating studying are more likely to get poor grades and lousy jobs.

Active and Passive Procrastinators

According to some psychologists, there are two categories of procrastinators: active and passive procrastinators. Active procrastinators purposely postpone projects because working under pressure makes them “feel challenged and motivated.” While passive procrastinators postpone doing projects because they have difficulty making decisions and acting on them. This could be due to a personality trait.

Causes of Procrastination

Before we discuss breaking the habit of procrastination with practical steps, we need to identify the causes of procrastination. According to psychologists, some major cognitive distortions contribute to academic procrastination. These include

  • overestimating the amount of time students have to complete things.
  • overestimating their motivation in the future.
  • underestimating how long it will take to perform tasks.
  • falsely believing that they must be in the right frame of mind to work on a task.

Apart from these causes, procrastination may also be symptomatic of an underlying mental health condition such as depression, or ADHD. See a specialist.

Breaking The Habit of Procrastination – Practical Steps

You can stop procrastinating. Just like any other bad habit, it can be learned and unlearned. The process might not be easy but it is not impossible to break away. Try these practical steps now (not tomorrow or later).

  • Divide larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Some projects may appear complex and intimidating at first, but if you break them down, they may be easier to complete.
  • Take one step at a time. Don’t try to combine many smaller tasks at the same time. Because you can easily burn out and procrastinate the rest of the tasks.
  • Get rid of distractions. Find out what takes your attention off important tasks and get rid of it.
  • Listen to instrumental music. I found this hack a few weeks ago and it has boosted my productivity significantly. Try it!
  • Write a To-Do List. This might seem too common but it does magic. Writing a To-Do helps you to track your activities for the day and motivates you to get things done. I love the serotonin boost whenever I cross off an item from my To-Do List.

Procrastination can have a negative impact on your social relationships. Take action right now and see your life change for the better!

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