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Theories on Procrastination & Why Getting at the Root Cause Can Help

Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2022
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something. Not only can this be a roadblock to getting things done, but it also causes panic in people who put things off until the last minute. Or the procrastinator may miss important deadlines and look bad. Frequently, people put off doing tasks they do not enjoy. Others may simply mismanage time. No matter the cause, procrastination can have negative impacts on job security and potential and on academic performances and home life. People can lose jobs, grades can drop, and the trust of others can be lost, as examples of consequences related to procrastination.

Often, procrastination is associated with laziness, depression, or medical conditions such as ADHD. While sometimes the behavior correlates with attitudes or medical conditions, procrastination can also simply be the product of poor time management or feeling overly certain that something can be accomplished later, which is ultimately driven by a false sense of security. At one time or another in life, most people experience episodes of procrastination, and it can be for all types of reasons. breaks down procrastination as defined by researchers into two main categories. They include passive and active procrastinators. The first is made up of people who delay tasks because they have trouble making decisions and acting upon them. The second group delays tasks purposefully because working under pressure allows them to feel a sense of challenge and motivation.

Many experts offer insight into the world of procrastination and offer problem-solving tips. In a book entitled It’s About Time, Linda Sapadin and Jack Maguire divide procrastinators into behavioral categories to include the perfectionist, the dreamer, the defier, the worrier, the crisis maker, and the over-doer. This breakdown helps people understand the sources of procrastination to prevent it. One may ask, “Do I procrastinate because I overlook details such as due dates, or is it because I am taking on too much, resulting in inadequate time to complete tasks?”

Another worthwhile book that explores the topic Eat that Frog: A Practical Approach to Reaching Your Goals, by Brian Tracy, aims at helping people who procrastinate. The book shares 21 tips on how to get more things done – and in less time – via time management and other practices. The analogy of eating frogs comes from Mark Twain, who shared the philosophy that if you start your morning by eating a live frog, you will have tackled the worst part of your day first. In this case, the frog represents the most crucial task and can have a major impact on what lies ahead. The author shares practical ways to apply the theory to your day to clarify your goals, plan and apply rules that work, consider consequences, and improve productivity.

There are some folks who disagree with the idea of getting the most dreaded thing done first. “Why?” one may question. In cases where there are multiple tasks to be done, and the hardest and most unpleasant task requires the most energy to accomplish, fatigue may set in. Thus, it is possible that in doing the hardest thing first, there is simply not enough energy left to get the other jobs done on time.

Inarguably, procrastination is a harmful practice that can keep people from making progress. Thus, it’s essential to figure out the root cause and troubleshoot solutions. Since reasons for procrastinating and solutions vary based on circumstances and individual preferences, those things must be accounted for. Regardless of whether you eat that frog now or accomplish other things first before eating that frog, it is important to keep the momentum going to reap the benefits of a job well done and completed on time.

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1 year ago

Mark Twain also said, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow.”

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