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Is Procrastination a Good or Bad Thing?

6 Ways to Help You Get Past It



What is procrastination? It is a pattern of delaying an essential task, typically by concentrating on less pressing, more enjoyable and simpler activities. It is not the same as being lazy, this is important to note. Raise your hand if this sounds like you. Are you a procrastinator? We know we are!

But why do people procrastinate? Often the case is due to fear of failure of the task they need to complete, so this results in avoiding starting the task in the first place. Other times it is simply a lack of motivation – perhaps the reward of completing the task is not as high as we would like, despite the fact it’s vital to have the task finished. Laying around in bed daydreaming often seems like a much better option than beginning the inevitable task.

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Did you know though, that there are some benefits to procrastination? Bill Gates once said this relating to lazy people: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” It is proven that procrastination can boost creativity. While the task you need to do is put on the back burner, your subconscious mind is still thinking about it. Let’s be honest, how often do we really forget about an important task, just because we chose to ignore it? As the deadline ticks closer and closer, we start to lean into a creative or innovative way of doing the work. We need to find a solution to solve our problem fast, because if we don’t, then this ‘task’ we have delayed for so long will become an even bigger issue than it started off as. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t always end up being with a positive outcome.

The same can be said of job hunting – you know you need to apply for plenty of jobs, search for the right ones, do your research on the companies etc etc. It all seems so daunting, so you put it off. But now a few weeks have passed and you’re still unemployed or you’re still stuck in the same job you’re trying to get away from. What do you do now? You randomly apply to 100 different jobs that have the title (or similar) you want without properly reading the job ads or researching the company. Most likely only a small handful of those jobs are what you’ll be interested in but because you didn’t focus, you’ve sent a generic resume in and don’t receive a phone call from the dream job and only receive ones from the companies you actually have no interest in working at.

The other problem that comes from procrastinating is that it can cause some serious health issues, such as stress and other illnesses. In the end, is might not be worth it for your overall health. So how do we solve the problem of procrastination? How do we change our mindset and tackle the things we rather not tackle?

Here six tips to help you on your way out of procrastination:

  1. Instead of leaving that task on your to-do list for weeks on end or go make yourself a cup of coffee as apposed to focusing on the high-priority assignments, start tackling the issue bit by bit. Break it down into smaller bite size pieces and slice the task into a few manageable smaller tasks instead. Give yourself rewards for the little wins; because it is the accumulation of the small wins that make up a big win in the end.
  2. Set a timer; give yourself a window to complete the task you need so it does not overwhelm your whole day. Have a clear start and finish time. Whatever is left after the timer goes off, is where you continue from the following day.
  3. Create a peaceful, positive working environment. Clean that desk! A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Light a scented candle to create an aromatic aroma to set a positive mood…and yes, perhaps have that hot cup of coffee by your side too, why not!?
  4. Another solution is to move your body. Get those endorphins running strong; it will change your mood and mindset to a more positive focused one.
  5. Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable. Get them to check in on you and request certain parts of the task to be submitted to them. Allow them to nag you to no end should you miss a deadline.
  6. Sleep – good quality sleep can assist in brain focus and concentration, as well as mood.

At the end of the day, the amazing feeling you will have once completing a daunting task is worth the whole effort. Having done something, feeling proud of your results, and knowing it is off your plate and out of your life is like a breath of fresh air. And once you have completed that task; you can focus your attention on what makes you happy – anything else but that task!

Good luck and happy job hunting.

My Career Angels

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

— Thomas Edison