Procrastination, what it is and how to overcome it

Procrastination, what it is and how to overcome it

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  • 1 What is procrastination
  • 2 Procrastination by pipeline
  • 3 Procrastination due to low stress tolerance
  • 4 Stop procrastinating with the 2-minute Rule

What is procrastination?

First we will know exactly what the procrastination term, since it is not something that is usually talked about. Actually this word comes from Latin: progo ahead and crastinus, referring to the future, postponement or postponement. Therefore, procrastination is the action or habit of postponing activities or situations that must be addressed, replacing them with other more irrelevant or pleasant situations.

The term is applied in psychology to define the feeling of anxiety generated before a task pending completion. It is a behavioral disorder that affects us all to a greater or lesser extent on some occasion, and that in more popular terms we usually call it "laziness" or leave for tomorrow what we should do today.

Occasionally it is normal to suffer procrastination, but there are people who postpone, are those who behave like this continuously because somehow they believe that tomorrow will be more suitable to carry out one or more tasks that are pending. But in reality procrastination is a problem of poor regulation and bad organization of time. Who postpones or procrastinates what he is doing in the background is clearly evasive behavior.

The life situations that we most commonly procrastinate at some time are:

  • Daily tasks: shopping, cleaning the house, ironing, packing for a trip, going to the doctor, cutting our hair, etc.
  • Personal care: the typical purposes of each new year: quitting smoking, exercising more, dieting, training more to improve at work, etc.
  • Commitments to others: we do not resolve couple conflicts, we leave for the last day to prepare an anniversary party, we postpone the fact of dedicating more personal time to our children, etc. but also at work we procrastinate when we don't prepare a meeting or leave homework for the last moment.

All this causes in the procrastinator a feeling of chaos, of not being able to reach everything and of frustration, due to the accumulation of pending tasks. It also produces feelings of dissatisfaction, insecurity, inferiority and stagnation. As a consequence, it also ends up losing the trust and respect of others.

Although apparently people who say they don't have time, strangely they don't have it. But let's not fool ourselves, they don't say they don't have time because they don't really have it, but it's exactly the opposite: They don't have time, because they always say they don't have it.

Like almost everything in this life, the mind plays a crucial role in the performance and scope of our true potential. Thanks to the mind we achieve or stop achieving our dreams and desires. If it were not for our predisposition (either positive or negative) it would be very easy to say that success is simply to take action.

Procrastination by pipeline

The psychologist Willian Knaus tells us that the autodudas, together with the low tolerance to tension, are the roots of postponement and avoidance behaviors.

Self-help is the reflection of a self-destructive process. It occurs when we judge our abilities as deficient or inadequate. For example, if we tell ourselves: "I am too slow to write," we are saying that proper behavior would be to write fast. In this way, we are making a negative assessment of ourselves. For that reason, if we have concluded that we are too slow to write; and nevertheless we have to write a report, then we are going to get tense, and we are probably going to postpone it, telling ourselves: "Since I am very slow, I better do it tomorrow."

Self-help develops in the context of everyday life and leads us to an irrational conclusion. For example, one of the most common misconceptions and self-destructive that is at the base of self-help and leads to postponement, is the belief that: "Everything I do, has to be done easily and of excellent quality ".

That is, and returning to the previous example: "I am slow to write." "It's going to be very difficult for me to do it, and the job is going to look bad on me." "Therefore, I do it tomorrow."

This is a typical example of postponement, based on self-help.

Procrastination due to low stress tolerance

It occurs when we tend to overactivate in emotional, behavioral and cognitive terms. Also on those occasions when our goals become difficult to achieve or when there is some kind of obstacle or blockage in our achievements.

If something causes us tension or irritation, such as driving with a lot of traffic, preparing an exam, couple discussions, etc. We will focus all our tension on that act, for which we will feel very stressed, since we magnify the negative importance of these feelings. For that reason, we will simultaneously try to neutralize them. How? Trying to end the tension we were experiencing at that time, avoiding or procrastinating.

Stop procrastinating with the 2-minute Rule

There are quite a few ways and systems that can help us stop procrastinating, but from all of them I have selected the 2-minute Rule of James Clear.

1. If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now: This part comes from David Allen's bestseller book "Getting Things Done." It's amazing how many things we put off could do them in two minutes or less. For example, wash the dishes after eating, put the clothes in the washing machine, take out the garbage, remove the garbage from the desk, send an email, among others. If a task requires less than two minutes, then follow the rule and do it right now.

2. When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to get done: Can all our goals be reached in less than two minutes? Clearly not. But all goals can start in two minutes or less. And that is the purpose behind this rule. We might think that this strategy is too basic to achieve our life goals, but no. It works for any purpose for a simple reason: real-life physics.

Real life physics

Isaac Newton taught us long ago that objects at rest tend to remain at rest; and moving objects tend to keep moving. This is equally true for humans as it is for falling apples.

Benefits of the 2 minute rule

  • The '2 minute rule' works for big goals as well as for small ones due to the inertia of life. Once we start doing something, it is easier to continue doing it.
  • the '2-minute Rule' because we adopt the idea that all good things happen once we initiate them.

Do you want to become a better writer? Just write a paragraph (the '2 minute rule'), and often you'll find yourself writing for more than an hour.

Do you want to eat healthier? Just eat a piece of fruit (the '2-minute Rule'), and you'll often find yourself inspired to eat a healthy salad.

Do you want to create the habit of reading? Just read the first page of a new book (the '2-minute Rule') and before you know it you will have read the first three chapters.

Do you want to run three times a week? Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday put on your running shoes and go out (the '2-minute Rule') and you'll soon end up strengthening your legs instead of introducing fried foods to your stomach.

The most important part of a new habit is to start - not just the first time, but every time. It's not about performance; but of consistently taking action. In many ways, starting is more important than succeeding. This is especially true in the beginning because there will be a lot of time to improve your performance in the future.

The '2-minute Rule' is not about the results you want to achieve, but about the process of actually doing the job. This works best for people who believe that the system is more important than the objective. The focus is on acting and letting things flow from it.

Procrastination test


  1. Zologami

    And so it happens too :)

  2. Mathieu

    More of these things

  3. Pygmalion

    Wonderful, as an alternative?

  4. J?n

    It is the surprise!

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