According to Oxford Languages, procrastination is defined as “the action of delaying or postponing something”. We like to procrastinate when we’re facing something we don’t want to do (like studying for a board exam). Some might say they’re more productive for other things when they’re procrastinating than any other time. Sort of like, “I could be studying, but look at all this laundry that needs done!” or “This bathroom vent hasn’t been cleaned in probably 3 years, I really need to do it right this second.” (As an aside, do clean that vent if its been that long).
That load of laundry or wayward vent or broken this-or-that will eventually turn into about 30 other things you convince yourself are more pressing. Then what do you know, the day is done and you have successfully avoided any prepping or studying. This can become a problem when it forms into a habit. Where does our procrastination come from?
That’s right- sometimes our delaying comes from bad prioritizing. We need to ask, “What is being prioritized?” This is a tough question to ask yourself, but it must be done to get to the root of ones procrastination. We all prioritize our days and tasks to get things done in order of importance. Now, of course certain elements of procrastination can be truly important things, such as cooking and basic cleaning for oneself and basic self-care. But we all know when we cross the line between covering basic needs and dawdling for the sake of avoiding something 🙂
So we have to ask, in terms of our ambitions, how are we prioritizing moving forward towards our goals? Yes, your microwave has never looked cleaner, but is that really aiding you in getting ready to take your PRITE?
Perceived Productivity is Preposterous
Another aspect of procrastination is perceived productivity. Have you ever been playing a video game (instead of studying) and cruised through a whole bunch of objectives, and pull away feeling immensely accomplished? You just covered so much ground in this alternate reality, you deserve a break!–wait.
Sometimes we can find ways to feel like we’ve done a great deal of something when we’ve really done nothing. Now, this isn’t to say video games are always a waste of time because there are definitely times and places for them (or whatever other activity you use). But it’s also important to recognize when we’re using these activities as a crutch to feel “productive” when we’re really just avoiding something we don’t want to do.
Plan Your Path
We all fall victim to procrastination at one point or another. Sometimes it’s even good for us to mentally check out from things we’ve been absorbed in and take a brain break for a bit. But when this becomes a habit, it’s necessary to break the mold and restructure our perspectives. How do we do this? Plan and schedule out times for work and times for play will help this process. When we know we have an enjoyable event coming up, we get a little boost of dopamine in anticipation of it, which can in turn create a more positive experience when we’re doing the hard work of studying.
Try pacing out 20 minutes of study, 10 minutes of break for a few hours and see how much you can get done (for both the studying and the “other stuff”!). At the end of the day, you’ll have gotten through more materials than if you had pushed it off all day, and you probably won’t feel overwhelmed by it because you gave yourself chances to clear a level of Candy Crush, or fold a load of laundry, or sort you bookshelf in between.
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