By Behcet Bicakci, (DipLC) Life Coach
In this blog I will be discussing similarities and differences between procrastination, laziness relaxing, and fatigue. Also, I will offer some solutions regarding how to deal with procrastination and how to become more active as well as to “stop putting things off”.
Procrastination means delaying something or postponing something which needs to be done. Procrastination is not a symptom or illness but a bad habit of ‘I will do later,’ or ‘I still have time’ or ‘trying to do lots of things at the same time’. A procrastinator has a desire to do things that need to be done but he/she cannot motivate or force themselves to start a task or complete a task they have already started. Procrastination can have a huge impact on the procrastinator’s life by causing him / her stress, anxiety, pressure, ineffectiveness as well as failure.
The procrastinator usually leaves things until the last minute until they have become under huge pressure to finish their tasks.
Some people might claim working under pressure can be more productive for them however research shows that putting things off until last minute can create an environment for uncertainty, stress, guilt and grounds for ineffectiveness. Also, research shows that people are more regrettable about things they haven’t done than things they have done. This shows how procrastination can cause regret in our life. Any of us can succumb to procrastination and feel its impact on our lives.
My clients whose ages range from young to old have been complaining about procrastination and would like to learn how they can overcome and avoid it in the future because it effects their daily lives, relationships, family, social and business life, education and well-being. Most common forms of procrastination are:
- spending too much time with social media and delaying doing main tasks for the day,
- doing less important work while more important works needs to be done,
- postponing meeting with family members, relatives or friends,
- paying bills or rent last minute while they have money in their account and able to pay their bills in advance,
- studying the night before exam day,
- going to airport an hour before flight rather than arriving in advance (at least 2 hours before flight),
- leaving important tasks for later at work,
- delaying open letters arrived in post,
- delaying replying important emails even there is no valid reason,
- postponing applications for education, job, fund etc,
- delaying booking holiday till last minute,
- buying or ordering presents for birthdays, anniversaries etc at very last minute,
- dropping or collecting kids from school at very last minute,
- having to many things in “to do list” but do not know where to start,
- trying to do a few things together but not able to finish them. eg. starting read a book but before finish it, start another one,
- not able to leave the bed and starting day ( going to work) but instead stay in the bed and being busy with phone, game or social media,
- delaying start a healthy diet despite being unhappy with their body.
- postponing appointments / meetings despite they are being important such as doctor, hospital, accountant, lawyer, psychologist, nutritionist etc.
The list can go on, however it is important to understand the impact of procrastination on our lives with consequences usually composed of regret, disappointment, stress and failure. Furthermore, it can affect our relationships with others. When people are let down by procrastinators, they might not give them a second or third chance which will limit their relationships or could limit responsibilities they have been given rendering them a less reliable person. This can cause an end to relationships or friendships, loss of their job, not be able to have the opportunity to improve their relationship with education providers, health providers and other institutes and associations.
Laziness is also a bad habit which prevents a person from doing certain tasks. It can also cause family, work, education and social problems, especially when being too lazy and ignoring expectations of others. However, unlike procrastination, when it comes to laziness the lazy person does not have to do things which needs to be done. In procrastination the procrastinator has to do tasks otherwise he / she could have serious consequences.
For instance, if someone watches telly or surfing on the internet at home over the weekend and keeps delaying laundry, cleaning house etc. they can be counted as lazy person. This person is not doing anything, and he/she is just fine with it. This is laziness because delaying these tasks will not cause lazy person serious problem. On the other hand, procrastinator has desire to do things but just cannot motivate or force themselves to start or complete a task they already started. For instance if there is food in the oven cooking and there is a smell of burn coming from the kitchen and the person is delaying going to check the food then it can be classed as procrastination because the consequences can be serious such as causing fire in the house.
Relaxation is needed for recharging and getting energy. When a person is relaxed, they enjoy their time, allowing the body to recharge and become energised. Relaxation is neither laziness nor procrastination. When a person relaxes, they do not worry about tasks that need to be done because they are in control of their life and they are organising time for relaxing. However, procrastination drains energy because keep delaying or postponing things keeps the brain busy and this causes stress, anxiety and depression which can cause serious consequences.
Fatigue is not a habit but a symptom. Fatigue can cause lack of energy and tiredness which can lead delaying or postponing things. The difference between procrastination and fatigue is that a procrastinator has got the energy to do things that need to be done but keep delaying or postponing because he / she is distracted by other things. However, if a person has fatigue they usually haven’t got enough energy to do things. Furthermore, if a person has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) which is an illness, they might not be able to do their daily tasks such as going to work, or cleaning their house etc depending on how their illness has advanced.
Solution: How to Stop Procrastination
While we waste our time
hesitating and postponing, life is slipping away.”
Self-Discipline: The main reason for procrastination is lack of self-discipline which most people are not aware of. To start discipline yourself, it is important to start with small tasks which are easy to finish. This can help you to get motivated for the next and more difficult tasks. For example, one of the simplest tasks is after getting up in the morning, tidying up your bed straight away and doing it every morning. By doing so, you will be finishing your first task in the morning and your brain will be ready for next one. Also, when you wake up in the morning, avoid logging into social media platforms and if it is possible do not use your phone when you are in the bed. Research shows that when a person is engaged with social media while they are in the bed in the morning, this can lead them to lose 1,5 hours of the day. Another solution to start with self-discipline is learn to choose small and short tasks rather than long and complicated one. For example, if you are going to buy a book try to buy a thin (probably 50-100 pages) and easy read book (depending on your interest but stories are easy to read and to finish). This will also help you to finish a task and commence the next one. There are many ways to educate and train yourself about self-discipline. Successful people learn to discipline themselves and put it in practice in daily, social, family and professional life. If you are fed up with pressure, stress and keep failing in life then it is time to start work on your self-discipline. To learn how to self-discipline yourself depends on how much effort you put into it. You will need to educate yourself about self-discipline by reading books, watching videos, listening audiobooks and podcasts, attending seminars and working with life coaches who can be a great help to you.
Gaining New Habits: Giving up on bad habits is important however, replacing them with good one is equally important. For example, if you spend too much of your time on social media, you need to reduce this time and replace it with a positive habit such as you can replace time spent on social media with watching self-development videos on YouTube or Netflix or listening to pod casts or audiobooks. If you enjoy walking you can listen pod casts or audiobooks while you are moving. This can be beneficial for self-development as well as your health and wellbeing.
To Do Today List: There is an old saying “don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today”. Doing things on time can be vital especially if you have deadlines. Having a list of lots of tasks that need to be done can be very stressful and may in turn cause procrastination. It is important to prepare a list for the day and proritise most important tasks first and leave less important tasks until later. Try to keep your list short and simple as much as you can. This will help you to focus on important tasks and when you start with important tasks and finish them you will have more confidence as well as increased willingness to do other tasks. The more productive you are, the more energised you will feel to progress to other tasks.
Self Motivation: It is important to motivate yourself and keep your motivation high to achieve completion of tasks. Being organised, educating yourself and rewarding yourself can help you to feel motivated. For instance, when you have finished an important piece of work and you have achieved your objectives then you can reward yourself with a drink, meal, present or holiday. This will help you to keep motivated. Rewarding can also work when motivating others for instance a parent can reward their child if they have passed all their exams, an employer can reward their employee if they have achieved their objectives or finished an important task before deadline etc.
How Can I help?
If you are experiencing procrastination and laziness and it affects quality of your family, social and work life then I might be able to help. I have been working with my clients who experience with procrastination and laziness and I help them to overcome of it. You can contact me by visiting connect page. We can arrange a free of charge meeting on the phone, skype or face to face and see If I can help.