The tax return is due, but instead your kitchen cupboards are now rearranged? Instead of making the unloved appointment at the dentist, did you prefer to make an appointment to have your family doctor take a blood test? Actually, it's been on your to-do list for 3 weeks that you want to clean the gutter, but alternatively you've been to your trusted garden center and now beautiful, new flowers adorn your bed? Your boss already told you last week that the filing cabinet needs to be sorted, so the communal kitchen has finally been tidied up as a substitute?
Are you familiar with that? Do you put off things and appointments that are important - but uncomfortable for you in some way - and prefer to do other things instead? Then you procrastinate.
Procra... - what please!? , Do you think? Procrastination is the behavior of putting off relevant and important things and doing things that are less important and not as high-priority in their place. Colloquially, we also call this " procrastination ".
Procrastination should not be confused with laziness. It's a chronic work disorder. This disorder can affect not only the professional and school environment, but also any activities in everyday life. Even setting your own goals will not help you get the job done. In the worst case, it is not done at all, or under extreme pressure and at the last minute.
The causes of procrastination are very diverse:
- fear to fail
- fear of decisions
- fear of criticism
- wrong time management
- low self-esteem
- lack of concentration
- unattainable goals
- anxiety disorders
- learned "misconduct"
Almost 20% of the world's population puts off appointments or errands. If this happens every now and then, it's not bad at all, it's human. However, if this becomes a habit and affects our professional and private everyday life, we should get professional help.
As long as we haven't developed any pathological (morbid) procrastination, we can learn with the help of little tips and tricks to penetrate the routine of our "procrastination " and change it into goal-oriented routines.
1. Behavioral Awareness
When we become aware of why we are putting off appointments or errands, we can work to change our behavior for the better. It can be helpful to write down when and why we postpone things and what feelings this triggers in us.
2. Positive Thinking
When we sit in front of a task and think: " Help, how am I supposed to do this? That's so much! ", this depresses our motivation and the urge to put off the completion increases. With a positive mindset we can break through this. Positive thoughts increase motivation.
3. Prioritize And Organize
We can set the priorities ourselves by considering what is important and urgent and which tasks are not so urgent. The Eisenhower method is very helpful here. With it, you can easily separate important from unimportant tasks. We'll take a closer look at the Eisenhower method in a future post.
With the help of to-do lists and mind maps we can collect our tasks and organize our day.
4. The 5 Second Rule
No more than 5 seconds should elapse between a thought and the execution of the thought, otherwise there is a great danger of putting off the task. Before starting the task, we count to 5 and then start directly with the task.
5. Small Rewards
We like happiness. Counteracting procrastination requires consistency and self-discipline above all else. Small rewards after completing a task increase our happiness and encourage the thought of having done the right thing.
6. Avoid Distractions
We are concentrated on a task and suddenly the WhatsApp notification tone sounds. We automatically reach for our smartphones to check. But this disturbs our concentration and we need a certain amount of time to get back to the topic. If possible, we should avoid all disruptive factors in the completion of a task. For example, we could put the smartphone on silent and turn it upside down on the table or in the drawer and check emails only twice a day at certain times.
7. Take Breaks Correctly
By taking 5-10 minute breaks between tasks, we allow our mind and body to rest and re-energize. Timed breaks also help to work through our tasks in a more concentrated manner.
8. Separation Of Leisure And Work
We should set our times. A fixed period of time for completion, tasks and appointments. After that there is free time. By strictly separating work and leisure from one another, the anticipation of being able to relax after the work is done increases. As a result, we are more motivated to complete our tasks during the day and know that we can enjoy our free time without a guilty conscience.
9. Establish Routines
We avoid postponing tasks through defined routines that are consistently adhered to. Routines can be learned quickly with a little discipline.
10. Set Smaller Goals
If a task seems too big to us, we should try to break it down into smaller sub-goals. Small goals promote self-confidence and motivation. With the help of the SMART formula , goals can be defined correctly.
We all know " procrastination " and each of us will have experienced this situation before. As long as this remains within limits and does not negatively affect our lives, it is not dangerous. With the help of our tips you can prevent procrastination on your own initiative.
However, if our job, our social relationships and our everyday life are severely threatened, professional therapy is essential.