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Putting off chores for later (the next round hour, the next day, or even the next week) is something that majority of people can relate to, especially in this day and age when most of us are so overwhelmed with endless possibilities of things (not) to do.

Procrastination refers to not commencing or not persisting with the activity which needs to be done, and putting it off till the last minute.

(Some people think that ‘later’ they’ll be a bit older and hence a bit wiser, some feel more productive when they perform under the pressure, and some are, well, simply lazy.) The greatest hindrance of procrastination is that while it gives instant gratification, you lose out on achieving your goals. Interestingly, people who have traits of perfectionism are often procrastinators themselves, as they’d rather avoid work altogether than make any kind of mistake.

In general, people who are procrastinators seem to experience overall higher levels of stress and health problems, as opposed to non-procrastinators. Procrastination is a self-defeating habit that might have some short-term benefits, but in the long-term leads to significant costs.

If you feel like you are one of these people, have no fear! The following are a few tips on how you can reduce procrastination and get to your tasks sooner:

  1. Prioritize your tasks. – decide on what is the most important (and doable) task, and start by focusing on that first. You might find making a list of tasks in order of their priority to be useful
  2. Set your goals. – think about what it is that you want to achieve in the end, or what would make a certain task complete
  3. Divide your work into smaller sections. – some tasks might seem impossible to achieve at first, but once you break them down into more achievable parts, you should be more relaxed and productive by focusing on one smaller goal at a time
  4. Reward yourself. – after achieving a certain goal, do something you enjoy. This will keep you motivated and allow you to have a good balance of work and fun

 References:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1997.tb00460.x

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/procrastination

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886906004454

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886902003264

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF01172967?LI=true

Nataša Nikolić is a student  from Serbia, currently completing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Novi Sad.  Her main goal would be to combine two of her major passions – psychology and art/design. She is participating in a summer internship programme at Willingness.com.mt.