Procrastination is the act of delaying tasks. Most people think it’s a time management problem, but studies show that it’s more of an emotional one. It is also linked to mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression.
Productivity can be difficult to achieve and master when procrastination becomes chronic. You’re lucky if you finish tasks on your deadline, especially during winter when all you think about is staying in bed with hot cocoa. And even if you complete them on time, you’re probably not happy with the rushed output.
Let’s discuss more about why we procrastinate and how it can be avoided, especially in the wintertime.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
The Association of Psychological Science says people put off things because they cannot regulate their moods and emotions. And despite what most people assume, it’s not because you’re lazy.
Here are some of the reasons we engage in procrastination:
- Overwhelming information
When there is an overload of information, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and paralyzed during decision-making. This may lead to delaying or avoiding tasks, which in turn leads to anxiety.
- Fear of the unknown
No information or the lack of it may lead to a phenomenon called “fear of the unknown”. People are unable to tolerate the ambiguity or uncertainty of the future or the outcome. In effect, tasks are put off for fear of a bad result.
Hyperfixation is associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) wherein a person can experience complete focus on one thing at a time. One can hyper-fixate on what one likes or tasks that only produce joy, and then ignore everything else.
- Self-doubt and low self-esteem
Self-awareness about your ability to function around a certain task is related to how well you do it. It’s also connected to whether or not you will do a task. We tend to choose tasks that we are knowledgeable of and put off those which we think we will fail.
How to Avoid Procrastination and Enhance Productivity
Bundling What You Love With What You Procrastinate On
James Clear, author of New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits, encourages temptation bundling, which “suggests that you bundle a behavior that is good for you in the long-run with a behavior that feels good in the short-run.”
Temptation Bundling was conceptualized by the University of Pennsylvania’s Katy Milkman in her behavioral study. For example, if you absolutely couldn’t bring yourself to exercise because you’ve been binging on the latest crime TV series, why not watch it while on the treadmill?
Rewire Your Brain for A “Bigger Better Option”
Dr. Judson Brewer, Brown University’s Director of Research and Innovation says, procrastination will persist for as long as you feel rewarded when you avoid tasks. Delaying or avoiding these tasks provides a sense of relief for your present problem.
To break this cycle, find a “bigger better option” or “BBO” that can work as a reward whenever you do tasks that dread you. Brewer suggests forgiveness of oneself and self-compassion to lower anxiety and boost self-esteem.
Try Exposure Therapy
Attempt to do the easier portions of a task and then lead into the more difficult ones. The gradual exposure to what scares you will make the whole task more manageable as you progress.
This allows for your negative emotions to move to a more manageable level. It helps avoid being stuck in a paralyzed state when feeling defenseless in starting or doing something.
Manage Your Procrastination-Derived Anxiety With CBD
If you need a little help in the most natural way, Cannabidiol (CBD) is widely known to ease general anxiety, promote sleep, and help relieve stress. It is non-psychoactive, which means it will not get you “high”, unlike its more famous sibling THC from the hemp plant.
Verma Farms CBD is available in the form of gummy candies, oil, and topical creams. They also come in discreet packages that are travel-friendly.
Focus On Consistency Rather Than on Results
There’s a story of famous comedy actor Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity hack. He co-wrote and starred in the TV show Seinfeld, which ran 180 shows over a roughly 9-year period.
The so-called “Seinfeld Strategy” involved having a visual cue on a wall—a calendar. When he’s able to write comedy for that day, he puts an “X” that day on the calendar. Results didn’t matter; what mattered more was his consistency in creating a chain of productivity. And if he wrote every day, he’ll be better at his work.