I guess it’s a form of false consensus error when I say that everybody procrastinates. We put off tasks that are due tomorrow and in place of these we do other task that does not require the same amount of urgency. It’s nothing new, but most of us have always considered the face value of the action.
Let’s face it: most of us avoid every task for the same reason: taking action will cause us a certain amount of pain. Procrastinators sabotage themselves. They put obstacles in their own path. Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. For them, procrastination is a lifestyle, albeit a maladaptive one. Maybe, to a certain point, procrastination can be an example of poor coping mechanism. It represents a problem of self-regulation. Procrastinators are made, not born. It destroys teamwork in the workplace and in private relationships.
Dr. Joseph Ferrari, associate professor of psychology at the De Paul University in Chicago and Dr. Timothy Pychyl, associate professor of psychology at Carelton University are two of the world’s leading experts on procrastination, and in one article, they had been interviewed.
“Telling someone who procrastinates o by a planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up.” Dr. Ferrari insists. They have cited that there are more than one type of procrastinators. Dr. Ferrari identifies three basic types of procrastinators:
There is the arousal type or the thrill-seekers are the ones who wait for the last minute to execute the task. They get some sort of euphoric rush whenever they are faced with a certain amount of pressure, and that for them is enough of a reason to postpone a task.
Avoiders are the type of people who fear of the consequence of their action whether it be success or failure of the given task, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them. They would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
Avoiders may have the following reasons of procrastination: Skill deficits are one of the most basic reasons for procrastination. If you lack the skills to complete certain tasks, it’s only natural for you to avoid them. Lack of interest is another key point in procrastination, if the stuff is too boring for the person, he or she may avoid the topic. The lack of motivation is the most common reason given for not attending to an unpleasant task.
And last but not the least, decisional procrastinators. These are the type of people who has difficulty making a decision. Not making decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.
There is one main reason why people are having difficulty making decisions: fear. Most of the time, they’re afraid of the outcome of their decisions. Some theorizes that it’s either the fear of failure or the fear of success.
For some, it’s better to say ‘if I only had some more time, I would have done better’ than saying ‘I’ve given it my best and I still failed’. They payoff for this reason is protecting ourselves from the possibility of perceived “real” failure.
Perfectionism is often the underbelly of the fear of failure. Maybe it’s the expectations others have on us that put pressure on us. Or maybe even our expectations of ourselves. We’re so afraid failing people or ruining the perfect image that we have that we don’t really consider the greater repercussions of putting off certain tasks.
The other side of the coin is the fear of success. Well, technically it’s not really success itself that you’re afraid of. Rather, it’s the consequences. Maybe you’re afraid that if you succeed in this particular project, more would be expected from you. Or maybe it would put you in the spotlight, and you’re not exactly very comfortable being there.
This may indicate to an internal conflict. If your self worth is tied to your level of achievement, then you may constantly question yourself about how much you must do to be good enough. And procrastination may be how you cope with the pressures you feel to constantly to try to be good enough.
There are lots of reasons why people procrastinate; the ones listed above are only some generalized factors. What do you guys think? What are your ways to stop procrastinating? What about your reasons? Do you have tips or techniques on how to pull back from the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ attitude? I’d love to hear from you!