04 Nov 2020

Master Procrastinator Habits can Hurt You

2 Comments

Master procrastinator habits and hurt youThis procrastination ted talk “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator” by Tim Urban hits the nail on the head. I know all about the Procrastination monster. Waiting until the last minute to get things done makes no sense, right? But The procrastinator doesn’t care., puts it off, then gets severe anxiety when deadlines come close. Watch this video – it’s instructive and funny.

I am a Master Procrastinator

I have a confession to make. I’ve always been a master procrastinator. Most of the time in my life, this hasn’t been a big problem because I’m very efficient and good at getting projects and tasks done quickly. So I could afford the luxury … most of the time.

The ability to do high quality work extremely fast makes it easy to wait until the last minute to get things done. While I as in grade school, I learned I could do my homework the night it was due (or at most two nights before, because I could always get it done. This actually seemed to be a survival trait, because it gave me more time to do things that I wanted to do, like play with my toys, build forts, work on military models and play with my friends.

Over and over, I discovered I didn’t have to stress getting homework done, didn’t need to worry about meeting deadlines for papers and tests. I knew that I could wait until the last minute and still meet the objective without breaking a sweat.

Procrastination is your mind’s way of saying: “That bad! This good!” and puts your body at work on something you enjoy. 5 Great Things About Procrastination, James Altucher 

Unfortunately, this pattern of behavior became ingrained to the point where it was normal for me to put things off. It actually seemed like the right thing to do – and maybe, since I was light-years ahead of the rest of my classes all the way though high school, it was acceptable.

Thus, at that early age, I became a master procrastinator.

Later in life, that habit carried forward into my job, and, for the most part, it continued to be a successful behavior. I found even in complex tasks such as programming, writing user manuals, and managing projects, I could finish anything I started with a very high degree of quality quickly.

Of course, sometimes this became a problem, because there were times when I underestimated the amount of effort needed and, well, then my project or task was a little late. Sometimes I had to work long hours, but still, those problems were few and far between, so it didn’t matter.

But then I discovered that others, people around me, copied my behavior. After all, if the boss (me) or dad (for my stepson) could procrastinate to the last minute, why couldn’t they? Looking at my success, and I was always successful, others came to the conclusion they would try to become master procrastinators as well.

Unfortunately, a high degree of confidence, competence, ability and knowledge is required to be a successful master procrastinator.

  • If you are not confident in yourself and your ability to get it done, you won’t.
  • Obviously, if you are incompetent at a task, you won’t be able to complete it quickly and under the gun.
  • If you don’t have the abilities needed for the task, or if they are weak, you’ll miss your deadlines.
  • And if your knowledge is weak, you won’t get it done.

What I noticed is others were failing because they were trying to emulate the habit of someone they respected. Much to my surprised, I discovered I was a role model for quite a few people.

Once I noticed this was happening, and saw these other people could not pull off being procrastinators for whatever reason, I decided to change my behavior. If others looked up to me enough to want to emulate my habits, then I’d better make sure that they borrowed behaviors that they could use to be successful in their lives.

This was the responsible thing to do.

Procrastination is an ethical problem, and it places stress on everyone involved.

It took some time, but as I changed my habits (and it was rough because I had been so successful at it) I saw others changed theirs as well. I stopped being a procrastinator, and worked to get tasks done as soon as possible instead of waiting until the last minute.

The strange thing, once I thought it true, is it takes just as much time to complete something if you do it early or if you do it later. For example, I can write a 3,000 word blog in one to two hours. It takes that long to write whether I do it well in advance of when it’s due or wait until the same day.

These days, I get through tasks and projects immediately. It’s better to get done in advance than at the last minute, and far less stressful.

Procrastination Tips

Since procrastination is a bad habit that is usually ingrained from years of experience, and it may even be picked up from authority figures and parents, you have to work at it if you want to correct it.

First, of course, you have to recognize that it is a problem. I didn’t realize that procrastination was causing stress with associated physical symptoms until after I’d changed my habit. If I had seen that, I would have made the change long before. Instead, I noticed the effect on others, and that made me decide to change.

One of the strategies to overcome procrastination that I’ve used is:

  • Recognize it is a problem.
  • One of the ways it manifests itself is deadline anxiety or deadline panic.
  • Treat it as an ethical problem, which it is. By always getting things done barely on time, you are putting stress on yourself and your team members.
  • Start making to-do lists and setting goals.
  • Start small. Try to get one task done as soon as it’s assigned (either by you or another) instead of at the last minute.
  • Continue that process until you are doing everything as soon as possible.

That’s more-or-less the plan I followed to get over my procrastination habit. This worked to alleviate stress caused by deadlines.

Conclusion

There is nothing good about procrastinating. By doing so, you are increasing your odds of failure, adding stress to your life, and probably upsetting those who are dependent on you for getting things done.

Treat procrastination like you would any other bad habit – get the routine of being a master procrastinator resolved to improve your life.

References

[top]
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kathleen L.

Lol! I believe while reading this it really hit me hard because honestly I sometimes procrastinate. I always have this habit that I’m very confident And I can get the task done even if it’s the deadline or the last minute. But seriously it gave me consequences like the feeling of anxiety and stessed out, especially when unexpected task comes in, but is needed to be done ASAP which is really not good. I think it’s more like a time management I should need to be good at, to really change and develop… ?

Bonnie Dillabough

This was totally awesome. One way to keep the monster active is to set firm deadlines and to have someone to be accountable to.

2
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x