Everyone procrastinates sometimes, but 20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions — which, unfortunately, are increasingly available.
Many people I know have a problem with procrastination. And it only seems to be getting worse with the all of our advanced technological resources such as email, social networking sites, texting and cell phones. Focusing on today’s multimedia world is challenging! So I was relieved to read an article by Steven Kotler in this month’s Psychology Today magazine which focused on why procrastination seems to be increasing in prevalence and why we are so prone to it.
The first thing the article points out is the difference between procrastination and laziness which lies in “the gap between intention and action.”
The piece goes on to say “chronic procrastinators…feel bad about their decisions to delay — which helps distinguish procrastination from laziness. Laziness involves a lack of desire; with procrastination, the desire to start that project is there, but it consistently loses out to our appetite for delay. And this is no ordinary delay.
Procrastination is considered a needless, often irrational delay of some important task in favor of a less important, but seemingly more rewarding, task. And that accompanying negative feeling — the gnawing guilt, the building anxiety — is one way we know we’re not doing what we’re supposed to do.”
The rest of article explains why our brain succumbs so easily to impulses of instant gratification instead of committing to the long term goals that inevitably reap greater returns in happiness over our lifetime. Mr. Kotler makes some important recommendations about how to put the temptation of procrastination at bay at least while in front of your computer. He suggests hiding the email icon entirely and turning the “new mail” alert tone off. At least then, you have a shot at focusing on the task at hand and getting the things you want to get done in life DONE!
Best of luck in completion!