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Procrastination is the tendency of postponing things. It may include activities somebody is supposed to do or accomplishing goals and objectives that have been already planned for. Procrastination could simply be defined as an instance, where a person has a feeling to work on something but instead looks on as the feeling fades away and opts to work on the thing at a later date. Procrastination can be occasioned by frustration, inability to cope and persistent depression among other factors (Fiore 5-11). Procrastination can take two forms. There is a situation in which an individual calls off the task. Such is a characteristic of a resigned procrastinator as brought about by the factors highlighted above. However, the other group carries the majority of procrastinators. Most people, who actually procrastinate, have not cheerfully presented their resignations. In fact, there is a lot of struggle that is experienced among many people as they endeavor to shake procrastination off.
Procrastination has been a major problem in our social group by the group officials and members at large. We establish plans and come up with schedules. This involves writing and highlighting the main items of agenda in every meeting that we convene. Such plans include making promises and coming up with resolutions, and organizing all the structures and reorganizing them again, where it is necessary. As highlighted here, it is evident that a lot of work has been done and the ultimate desire is to see the accomplishment of the proposals, made in each and every meeting.
Generally, procrastination amounts to a short lived accomplishment, and consequently crash firmly back into it (Fiore 5-11). The main reason for the little achievement in our efforts is the issue of procrastination. Procrastination is a matter that, in most cases, goes past self-discipline and thrashing oneself from stasis to pressure. It is normally the symptom of a comprehensive set of issues that disregard a single solution. Procrastination, indeed, has deep roots, and it also can be seen in organization of our group. It is a very strong factor that cost our organization long-term achievement.
Causes of Procrastination
Disorganization and procrastination are linked integrally. However, it is wayward to make an assumption that these two terms are the same. Disorganization can be realized in poor differentiation between urgency and issues of main concern. At the start of the urgency-priority cycle, procrastination appears to place some ‘comfort’ to the duties, which are most fitting within reach or interesting. The person cannot exercise self control and therefore, priority is sacrificed for ease and convenience. Ariely and Wertenbroch assert that, “Self control problems arise when preferences are inconsistent across time or context” (p.219). The problem has, however, come in through the pilling up of tasks as the convenient ones are being tackled. A jumble of emerging and old chores ends up being marked as urgent. At such a time, the procrastinator is compelled to drop the current duties to focus attention to those, marked as urgent. As a result, that which is urgent ends up being a priority.
The confusion, highlighted above, persists as duties split into more categories, which desperately need attention and which are hard to differentiate. These categories may be urgent/priority, non-urgent/priority and non-priority/urgent. At the same time, the attractiveness of the non-priority, non-urgent comfort duties still ensnare the procrastinator to work on them. The consequence is that the procrastinator ends up being a subject to the despotism of the urgent as he is not able to determine proper priorities and continuously seeks acquittal from these stresses through the handling of tasks that are neither a priority nor urgent. Steel believes that, “Procrastinators may feel that their actions will not change their situation, and thus they concentrate instead on managing their emotional reactions to the situation” (p.69). All these are signs of disorganization.
Distractibility is also another factor that can lead to disorganization. This is closely linked with the behavior of procrastinators to work on comfort duties. Procrastinators will often allege that a certain duty is left unattended to as a result of something else that came up. Setting better boundaries of emotions like saying “No” in such circumstances in order to keep working on the current task normally assists to deal with increasing attention to the many distractions commonly referred to as off-task behaviors (Ariely and Wertenbroch 219-224).
Disorganization can also result from forgetfulness. Regrettably, prioritizing and drawing of boundaries cannot reign over disorganized forgetfulness. Naturally, procrastinators make assumptions that they have a very good memory and they normally insist that they can remember even though in reality, they have forgotten (Steel 23-24). They may be heard saying that “Of course, I recall. I was almost working on that assignment.” There are usually so many ‘reminder’ paper slips in their purses and pockets. They apparently use many appointment books or may even be using none. Both these activities (keeping appointments in different books and keeping none at all) produce the same effect. Any step towards the right direction is to admit a problem with forgetfulness. However, this should never be used as a justification for inaction (Steel 23-24).
Lumping is also a major part of disorganization that will make people procrastinate their tasks. This is the errant view that many tasks appear as an inseparable lump that cannot be broken down and handled in a systematic way. For instance, the harassed person, who thinks that cleaning a particular room is a simple task, is most certainly going to procrastinate.
The procrastination that is motivated by fear normally expresses itself as the dodging and the immense desire to either delay working on a task or wait until it expires, so that it longer has to be tackled. In most cases, one duty is linked to another and the collection of the tasks that have been avoided increases with time. As these accruing tasks pile up, the procrastinator ends up being inactive, resigned and depressed. The internal conflict of procrastination that is motivated through fear is normally of two kinds. One is either rational or irrational, where a person knows that he or she must do a certain task, while he/she keeps wondering why he/she cannot simply do it. The other kind is the discipline vs. discomfort form, where the person made plans to work on a task but did not feel like embarking on it, when the time came for doing it. The efforts of dealing with these struggles should begin at the level of addressing the fear instead of working on logic and ensuring greater discipline (Fiore 5-11).
Many procrastinators supposedly do not regard themselves as perfectionists. It is, therefore, common to hear such statements like “I would get everything done if I was a perfectionist”. However, this is not a guarantee. Perfectionism can amount to ‘starts and spurts’ performance. This means that a person handles a task with a lot of energy and ultimately slumps back in fatigue after having irritated, exasperated or angered everyone in their company. Perfectionism has also been closely linked with depression and an extremely serious spirit. In simple terms, perfectionism is a kind of inflexibility and rigidity in a person while tackling assignments (Gendler 231-258). Such kind of rigidity is likely going to make a person abandon tasks that were initially planned for. This shows a weakness of will. Gosling says that, weakness of will is a certain kind of failure to stick to plans (pp. 11-17). Perfectionism is the typical way that procrastinators will respond to the weakness of will.
IV. Procrastination as a Sign
Procrastination can also be caused as a result of a more serious psychological and physical issue that would react to treatment positively. In most cases, such kind of procrastination is not scrutinized by the procrastinator. Instead, other people who are close to the procrastinator will definitely observe it. Excessive fear, obsessive compulsive order, severe clinical depression, attention deficit disorder with or lacking hyperactivity together with illnesses that are linked to loss of memory are examples of such kind of dysfunctions that could amount to procrastination (Gendler 231-258).
Dealing with Procrastination
In the kind of procrastination that is motivated through fear, it is important to point out the fear as the first step. For instance, an individual, endeavoring to get a job over a long period of time, could have developed a rejection fear for another time. In another instance, a departmental head may drag the feet in completing a given task due to a fear of being taken back to work on the assignment again. Another example would be of an accounts analyst who chooses to postpone his or her duties because of the fear of the volume of work. This last illustration could, in fact, have to do with the lack of skills in the chosen professional area. In a nutshell, both the instigators of fear and the fear itself should be confronted before any behavior, expressed through procrastination, can be handled. Such a problem would require the services of a professional counselor to identify the initiators of fear and the effect on the individual’s self-esteem. After that, directives can be offered in handling this issue (Fiore 5-11).
Another way of dealing with procrastination is by acquiring an appointment book. It is important not to go overboard with this plan. Procrastinators are usually ambitious at the beginning. They get the best of all appointment books and good quality office accessories. They will be heard saying: “If it has to be done, it should be in the right manner.” When this urge fades away, everything comes to a “brick wall.” After having made two steps ahead at the beginning, discouragement takes them many more steps back. Poor memory and disorganization can be solved simply by purchasing a simple appointment book (Gendler 231-258). This could probably be a book whose size is comparable to a small paperback with a spread of one week, when it is opened.
It is important to learn using the book on a daily basis. One should write down the things to be done and/or what has already been done. It is also good to look ahead in the coming week, if there is a need, but it may not be prudent to have a plan for the coming year. Writing down important telephone addresses and numbers, as they are acquired, is also important. It should be habitual for an individual to carry the book all day long. Again, being realistic in planning ahead is very useful. This will involve breaking down the tasks into achievable stage goals and providing suitable deadlines which should be recorded in the appointment book. The provision of daily “to do” lists should be written in the book. Every small habitual item should be added to the list as well. Checking these items off, as a person progresses on with work, should be maintained. The main idea is to register accomplishment evidently as progress is made throughout the day (Steel 23-24).
Perfectionism can be solved by shunning the rigid and inflexible tendencies of having a huge yearning to jump in and work on things personally merely because others cannot do them correctly; the unrelenting attitude that a person would not even begin working on something if he or she cannot do it satisfactorily; and the deep need for closure, shown through agitation or embarrassment, should anything be left unattended to. If these are successfully dealt with, practical solutions can be used in a systematic manner.
Dechunking is also another way of dealing with procrastination. This involves the breaking down of tasks into chunks that are manageable. This normally removes the threat of having to embark on a huge task, when it’s too late. In some cases, a task could be underrated in terms of time and energy, when it undeniably consumes a lot of energy. Tasks should be broken down to about 15 minute chunks to start with. The size of these chunks can be increased as progress is made with time. During this time, the appointment book should be used in the de-chunking process. Every bit should not be assumed because it can be very consequential and may ultimately lead to procrastination.
While there exists quite a number of solutions in handling procrastination, acquiring an appointment book appears to be superior to the rest. It covers many of the activities that are, most likely, going to be realized in any organization setting than any other option. Each and every organization setting is characterized with a lot of tasks that drives it. Proper planning would require disciplined efforts in keeping track of the accomplished and/or yet to be accomplished tasks. Majority of the factors, leading to procrastination, can be solved through the effective use of appointment books. Procrastination rules people’s lives if it is not controlled. Many resigned procrastinators merely confess that they are just sluggish with a hope that the explanation they give is enough. Laziness is, indeed, a factor of procrastination that is uncontrollable and far out of reach. It requires a lot of wisdom and commitment to break down the procrastination clutches, but the outcome is usually worth the time, taken to make this achievement.