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Are you procrastinating your main job to do other work or activities? If so, then you are likely being procrastinated right now.
Procrastination is the act of delaying tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline. Some researchers define procrastination as a "form of self-regulation failure characterized by the irrational delay of tasks despite potentially negative consequences."
According to Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago and author of "Still Procrastinating: The No Regret Guide to Getting It Done," around 20% of U.S. adults are chronic procrastinators.
No matter how well-organized and committed you are, chances are that you have found yourself frittering away hours on trivial pursuits (watching TV, updating your Facebook status, shopping online) when you should have been spending that time on work.
Whether you're putting off finishing a project for work, avoiding homework assignments, or ignoring household chores, procrastination can have a major impact on your job, and your life. In most cases, procrastination is not a sign of a serious problem. It's a common tendency that most people give in to at some point or another.
We often assume that projects won't take as long to finish as they really will, which can lead to a false sense of security when we believe that we still have plenty of time to complete these tasks. One of the biggest factors contributing to procrastination is the notion that we have to feel inspired or motivated to work on a task at a particular moment.
The Negative Impact of Procrastination
It is only in cases where procrastination becomes chronic and begins to have a serious impact on a person's daily life that it becomes a more serious issue. In such instances, it's not just a matter of having poor time management skills, it's a major part of their lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this procrastination can have a serious impact on a number of life areas, including a person's mental health and social, professional, and financial well-being:
- Higher levels of stress and illness
- Increased burden placed on social relationships
- Resentment from friends, family, co-workers, and fellow students
- Consequences of delinquent bills and income tax returns
Tips for Procrastinators
Fortunately, there are a number of different things you can do to fight procrastination and start getting things done on time.
- Make a to-do list. To help keep you on track, consider placing a due date next to each item.
- Take baby steps. Break down the items on your list into small, manageable steps so that your tasks don’t seem so overwhelming.
- Recognize the warning signs. Pay attention to any thoughts of procrastination and do your best to resist the urge. If you begin to think about procrastinating, force yourself to spend a few minutes working on your task.
- Eliminate distraction. Ask yourself what pulls your attention away the most—whether Instagram, Facebook updates, or the local news—and turn off those sources of distraction.
Pat yourself on the back. When you finish an item on your to-do list on time, congratulate yourself and reward yourself by indulging in something you find fun.