Why do we procrastinate?
Have you ever caught yourself spending hours watching TikTok videos or
scrolling through Instagram reels, despite your intention to stop procrastinating
on your tasks? Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the inability of young
people to face their responsibilities, resulting in constant delay. Procrastination
happens to many of us. Instead of sitting down and tackling our emails, it seems
more interesting and important to clean out our inbox from unnecessary
messages or maybe tidy up our room. But why does this happen to us?
Research suggests that several factors contribute to procrastination, including
poor time management, laziness, and a lack of self-control. However, when
stated like this, it sounds a bit harsh and can make many of us feel bad, adding to
the guilt. To start with, as in everything, it's important not to be too hard on
ourselves. As The Guardian writes, 80% of young people procrastinate, and even
50% do it frequently. So, if you find yourself in this situation, you're not alone,
and don't be overly self-critical.
The essence of procrastination is that the immediate gratification it brings
outweighs the long-term benefits. In other words, procrastination, or odlaganje,
is not a time management problem but an emotion regulation problem. So, how
can we influence our emotions?
Make your small victories feel significant and be proud of yourself. The perceived
benefit of completing a challenging task should outweigh the immediate
discomfort of tackling it.
Break tasks into smaller steps.
The feeling of facing a huge task can lead us to overthink and underestimate our
abilities. Breaking tasks into smaller, achievable steps makes it easier to start and
Create a schedule and set goals - and share them with others.
It may sound odd, but based on research, our brain;s reward system is highly
responsive to our social status. There is a greater tendency for individuals to
follow through on tasks when they have shared them with others. It's also a great
way to visualize our responsibilities.
Recognize and confront sources of stress.
Firstly, it's important to recognize the signs of stress that can contribute to
procrastination. Then, adopt self-regulation strategies such as deep breathing,
meditation, exercise, or yoga. When you identify the source of stress, try to
confront and resolve it. Often, we're not aware of what is bothering us, and we
end up procrastinating on activities that are not directly related to our
Collaborate with others and be kind to yourself.
Of course, it's not possible to solve such a habit by just reading an internet article
or having one conversation. Try talking to people who may face similar
challenges. Collaborative work can help you stay motivated and accountable.
Next time you have an exam and cant find the motivation to study alone in your
room, find company and create a productive working atmosphere.
And most importantly, be kind to yourself! The fact that even I procrastinated
writing this text proves that delaying tasks happens to many of us. But know that
it can be overcome with a little effort, motivation... and maybe a few episodes of
your favorite series. In any case, don't worry, procrastinating on tasks is quite
normal as long as you eventually reach your goal and consistently work on
improving this habit.