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Psychologists On Why You Procrastinate - And How to Stop | Time

Procrastination

Procrastination is not just avoiding or delaying a task.

It also has to include an aspect that’s counterproductive, irrational or unnecessary.

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Psychologists On Why You Procrastinate - And How to Stop | Time

Psychologists On Why You Procrastinate - And How to Stop | Time

https://time.com/5322514/stop-procrastinating-tips/

time.com

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Key Ideas

Procrastination triggers

  • People procrastinate because of a lack of value [associated with the task]
  • because they expect that they’re not going to achieve the value they’re trying to achieve; 
  • because the value is too far from you in terms of time
  • or because you’re very impulsive as a person.

If timing is the issue

Many people are inherently more productive at certain times of the day. 

Work around these natural productivity ebbs and flows when you schedule your days. 

If you get overwhelmed

Many people procrastinate because they’re anxious about the outcome of a project, don’t think they can complete it well or fear failure.

If that’s the case, it may help to break it into smaller, manageable sub-tasks.

Struggling with delayed gratification

  • Break a long-term assignment into multiple smaller ones. 
  • Find ways to reward yourself along the way. 
  • Schedule your most frequent diversions — think checking social media or completing non-urgent chores and errands — for the gaps between these smaller chunks to get a quick hit of an enjoyable activity, 
  • Clarify why this task or commitment is important to you.

If you’re easily distracted

Optimize your environment.

  • Put your cell phone away, turn off notifications on your computer and don’t have 10 tabs open at the same time.
  • Minimize multitasking. That “never-ending stream of tasks” may make it feel like you’re never actually completing anything, which deprives you of the satisfaction of being done. 

Struggling with something larger

Sometimes, what looks like procrastination may actually be a symptom of something more serious, such as depression, anxiety or attention problems.

If your behavior is causing you distress or significantly affecting your performance at work, school or home, don’t be afraid to consult a professional

Hitting a wall

Even the most efficient workers have days when it’s harder to finish tasks. 

Take five minutes to get outside, take a walk, get some sunlight. Those breaks will actually increase your productivity and make up for the lost time.

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