There’s a trend going on, on social media, that suggests procrastination is not equivalent to laziness, and there is no way we are going to suggest otherwise. While a lot of people believe the way to deal with procrastination is by learning to manage time and “just doing it”, it unfortunately is not always right.
Procrastination is not exactly a mental condition but it can be a consequence of some underlying mental illness. Mental health conditions such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, stress, and bipolar disorder can be the reason why an individual procrastinates.
Procrastination is not laziness or mental illness per say, it is more like “self-harm”. It may sound a little triggering if put that way but self-harm does not necessarily have to be physical. Avoiding important tasks, letting your stress affect your lifestyle and daily routine, choosing to waste your time despite knowing there is something important that needs to be addressed, are all instances of self-harm.
The fact that we are aware of the importance of the task and still choose to avoid it is what really makes procrastination a bad thing.
Procrastination can be seen as a way of avoiding stressful work but one has to realize that avoiding or delaying something will not eliminate the stress. In fact, if something, it can exaggerate it. People who procrastinate are familiar with this reality and they still choose to procrastinate, willingly or unwillingly. This is the reason why procrastination is considered self-harm.
While we are talking about procrastination as a harmful habit, it is important to mention that procrastination is not actually bad. If you choose to procrastinate a little once in a while you don’t have to feel guilty about it or punish yourself. A little procrastination here and there is healthy and important at times. However, chronic procrastination is what makes things worse. When someone constantly chooses to avoid important tasks, feels bad about it but continues doing the same thing, it gets out of hand and this is when procrastination is seen as self-destructive.
If your habit of procrastinating is under control and you believe you can get your work done without letting your stress kick in, we believe you can handle it. But if you have been dealing with chronic procrastination and it somehow seems to have a negative impact on your overall mental health, if you feel overwhelmed with the stress of work and are not able to do anything because of it, if you feel there is something that needs to be done but you are not able to find a way out, we firmly believe talking to a professional can help.
As aforementioned, procrastination can be a consequence of some mental health conditions. It is better to address it as an issue and try to find a solution. Therapy can prove to be really helpful in not only dealing with the triggers of procrastination but managing overall health as well. Nonetheless, it is important to seek professional help when something starts affecting your life and health.
Even though we believe procrastination can be a consequence of a mental health condition, as a practice of self-harm, we believe people can at least try to manage procrastination, if not completely get over it.
But do you know where exactly a procrastinator fails the most? No, not at recognizing procrastination. A lot of people believe and articles suggest that an individual does not recognize that they are procrastinating. This is not the case. In fact, surprisingly, people who procrastinate are very well aware of the fact that they are procrastinating. They are just not able to find a way out.
Overcoming procrastination may not be easy but it definitely is not impossible. Sure, you may find yourself stuck and getting out of that loop of procrastinating and regretting may seem a little difficult but a few things and acknowledging the why of procrastination can help you. Let’s get into the details.
It is pretty evident to oneself that they are procrastinating but acknowledging the why behind procrastination can be difficult and tricky at times. There can be several reasons why someone chooses to procrastinate, for instance, perfectionism, fear of failing, lack of confidence, or responsibility of the work. While these are some common reasons why people procrastinate, there can be a completely personal reason behind it as well.
Whatever the reason be, it is important for the individual to not only figure out the reason why they are procrastinating but actually acknowledge it. By acknowledging we mean investing yourself, your time, and energy into first finding the why and exploring why and how it is affecting you.
The easiest and most effective way of doing this is by writing everything that you are feeling and pouring your thoughts on a piece of paper. The idea is to be as transparent and mentally present as possible.
This is one thing that needs to be on the top of your priority list whenever you try to get over the procrastination phase. No to-do list, time management skills, or commitment plans are going to work for you if you are not there to support yourself. By supporting oneself, we suggest forgiving yourself for procrastinating in the first place. After that, allowing yourself to be more open about emotions and feelings that you are feeling and letting it out in front of someone or yourself can help in clearing the head.
Being available for yourself and not hurting yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally can allow you to avoid procrastination as there will be less stress and pressure of performing perfectly. Moreover, this can also enhance self-esteem and confidence, which is an important and effective way of avoiding procrastination.
Now is the time when you choose to strategize your work and plan to-do lists, however you like working. Once you are stress-free and aware of your condition and situation, you will find yourself at peace and ready to commit to work.
Instead of diving right into the tasks, we recommend writing them down and prioritizing them according to their importance so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or burn yourself out again.
Making yourself available and getting familiar with the trigger points of procrastination can help you to some extent but there will be times when this may not work. If you feel overwhelmed by your mental health or everything seems to fall apart despite you trying to work on it, it is better to seek professional help. Your mental health is important and investing yourself in stress management may prove to be more beneficial than investing in time management skills for procrastination.