Procrastination is the thief of time.
– Edward Young, an English poet
Procrastination, wise men once said, is the art of keeping up with yesterday; it makes easy things hard and hard things harder. Very few of us will want to disagree with the view. Procrastination does force us to delay action to the point of incurring risks such as missed deadlines or leaving a job unfinished.
Most people mistakenly believe that procrastination is a psychological disorder. It’s not. In fact, it is a self-imposed condition. However, the reason behind it is often a psychological one. It often emanates from lack of motivation and exacerbated by absence of time management. Most common reasons for it are:
- Fear of failure
- Excessive perfectionism
- Unrealistic goals
- Lack of time management skills
- Difficulty in concentrating and
- Sometimes it’s to avoid a difficult task, or to evade tasks that take longer time for completion.
This habit soon starts getting in the way of completing things and beginning anything new. It is not just about wasting time, but it subconsciously adds unnecessary baggage to the mind. Every minute spent wondering how and when to start is another minute wasted.
Further, not only is the person not doing what he should be, but he also feels stress. The procrastinator is therefore always under stress, unlike a lazy person who enjoys the life till the things precipitate into a disaster. And this is a major difference between a lazy/careless person and the one who procrastinates.
Since it is a habit only, it can be changed with persistently practising certain things after recognising the psychological reason which caused it in the first place. The things to be practised broadly consist of:
- Define your personal goals. Break larger projects into smaller, manageable parts. Make plan and set deadline for yourself to achieve each small task. Initially, make leeway for ‘procrastination’ time. Reward yourself for timely completion of each task.
- Tabulate your tasks into urgent and non-urgent but important activities and accordingly give priority to them. Among these tasks also the first task you handle should be the one you like the least.
- Do not set unrealistic targets or deadlines.
- Avoid dwelling on setbacks or mistakes. Know your escapes like over-socializing, reading or day-dreaming etc.
- Last, but not the least, allow certain imperfections which are not functionally affecting the task.
Graphological Indicators of procrastination
- ‘T’-bars which stop left of stem.
- ’i’ & ’j’ dots – falling on left of the stem.
- First letter disconnected.