Natálie Paurová, 4. ročník: Procrastination and how to deal with it

Agys Práce studentů

I’ll do it tomorrow

In my opinion, everyone is a procrastinator. And you don’t have to be ashamed of it, because it is completely normal. I would procrastinate playing the piano, studying, cleaning and most importantly important things. I even procrastinated writing this post about procrastination. How ironic.

And it’s even worse during these times, when we are at home all the time, and we don’t even know when it’s going to go back to normal, but you and I know you have got some important thing to do – work that you’re avoiding, work that will benefit your life and life of others.  That should be a huge motivation. But it isn’t. And that’s why I have prepared a few steps how to deal with it.

5 ways to avoid procrastination

  1. Do the task for just a few minutes – Starting is usually the hardest part of the whole task. If you can persuade yourself just start for a few minutes, just tell yourself it would be only for 10 minutes. The brain’s desire to see it through to completion shroud then take over.
  2. Do the hard and important task first – the harder the tasks are, the more energy and motivation we need to complete them. At the beginning we are full of energy and motivated to finally get the stuff done, so why not to start with the most important one?
  3. Manage your environment – this point is very important, as you can’t be distracted by anything around you. For example, recent study found that having your phone out and in sight, even if you’re not using it, can make you perform 20% worse than if you had put it away.. Consider your working environment. Is this the place where I can get the stuff done, or is it the one where procrastination can flourish?
  4. Set yourself a short deadline – researcher Pier Steel notes the it has long been observed that the further away an event is, the less impact it has on people’s decisions. Break down the task and give yourself a short deadline.
  5. Increase confidence and self-belief – student who believe that they won’t be successful at the task are more likely to procrastinate. One way to increase their confidence is to highlight how others who have been in similar position have been successful ( Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs..)

You’re not lazy!

This is not like you’re hanging out with friends or watching Netflix. You’re cleaning — something your parents would be proud of! This isn’t laziness or bad time management. This is procrastination.

Origin of the word

Etymologically, “procrastination” is derived from the Latin verb procrastinare — to put off until tomorrow. But it’s more than just voluntarily delaying. Procrastination is also derived from the ancient Greek word akrasia doing something against our better judgment.

Emotion problem

“Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem,” said Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology. Procrastination isn’t a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique (pomodoro – tomato) was developed in the lat 1980s by then university student  Francesco Cirillo. Francesco was struggling to focus on his studies, so he asked himself to commit just 10 minutes of focus study time. Encouraged by the challenge, he found a tomato shaped kitchen timer, and the Pomodoro technique was born.

  • Get a timer and a to-do list
  • Set your timer for 25 minutes and focus on a single task until the timer rings
  • When your session ends, enjoy a 5 minute break
  • After four pomodoros, take a longer, more relaxing 15-30 minutes break

Pomodoro technique also includes two rules for getting the most out of each interval:

  1. Break down complex projects. If a task requires more than from pomodores, it needs to be divided into smaller steps
  2. Once a pomodoro is set, it must ring. Pomodoro is a indivisible unit of time and can not be broken with checking emails, chats or text messages.