A procrastinator is a person who keeps putting things off, especially things that require urgent attention. Some people procrastinate for the euphoric rush. Others do it for fear of failure. And many do it simply because they cannot make a decision. Regardless of the reason, procrastinators sabotage their health, their private relationships and their personal success.
So psychology is all doom and gloom when it comes to procrastination, but we all know pretty much 90% of the world's population is made up of procrastinators. You probably didn't start off as a procrastinator, but come teenagerhood, university, and adult life, you find yourself dreading having to do certain tasks, or you find yourself so tired and busy that you end up pushing things off until a later date.
Since, let's face it, we're all procrastinators (why else would you be on this site, looking at this article?), here are some things that all of you have probably caught yourself doing.
15 You Procrastinate by Looking Up Ways to Not Procrastinate
You have a task to do but you keep pushing it aside. You know you've got to do it but you find yourself doing other things like searching googling the meaning of Justin Bieber's of Cold Water, even if you're not a fan. You identify the problem: you're a procrastinator. So you look up ways to not procrastinate. At least if you look into ways to not procrastinate, you will be able to get on with the task you need to do. It just needs to wait a second while you do your research. It's not procrastination, you convince yourself, it's research. Purely research for the task at hand. If you can just find the ways to not procrastinate, you can start on with the task and get it done…finally. Just hang on a moment, while you do your research. What you probably do not know is that you are procrastinating by looking up how to procrastinate. That’s a fact, we’re sorry to say!
14 You Do an Hour of Work and Suddenly You Feel Like a Superhero
When you finally get around to doing your work, you somehow manage to do one hour's worth of work and all these feelings of heroism wash over you. You're no longer a procrastinator, but a superhero. You feel on top of the world. You want to stand on the roof and shout to the world ''I'm a superhero!'' And just to convince yourself even more that you're no ordinary human being, you tell all your friends and family that you've been working overtime... maybe you even add in that you've barely found time to eat. Now that you've done some work, you feel like you deserve a well earned rest. And so, you give yourself a break and log onto twitter. Then, just to give yourself some extra self-love, which is meant to help motivate you, you play an online game. And then you watch an episode of Friends. Suddenly, you don’t feel like a superhero anymore.
13 You've Searched For Almost Every Meme that's Ever Been Made
What's funner than work? Looking at memes! Who doesn't love memes!? You've had a bad day, you tell yourself. You deserve to have a little giggle over a few funny memes. So you find almost every meme in existence and before you know it, you've done no work at all. You feel so bad because you've been searching for memes all day instead of working, you tell yourself you'll have a bad day and just spend the rest of it checking out funny memes. You might even make your own meme and just enjoy the rest of the day. And then you try to convince yourself that actually, making memes and reading memes is quite productive when you think about it. It's actually quite creative. And then you literally spend the rest of the day consoling your conscience that memes are good for the brain. You can always dream, can't you?
12 You Tell Yourself You'll Do it Tomorrow
Instead of completing a task at hand, you tell yourself you will feel more like doing it tomorrow. Or you might tell yourself that you work best under pressure so leaving it until the last minute will help you work more productively. Lie! Lie! Lie! The next day, you won’t feel more like doing the task nor will you work better under pressure. You are lying to yourself so that you can avoid the task at hand. Another big lie you may tell yourself is that ‘’this task isn’t important.’’ This is to protect your sense of self, to make yourself feel less guilty. The fact is, the task IS important and CANNOT be put off until another day. You can keep lying and trying to convince yourself that you’ll be more creative the next day but eventually, you’ll find yourself making up that same old excuse day after day.
11 You Sit Down to Work, but Facebook Keeps Disrupting You
You sit down at your desk, ready to work, with an assignment right in front of you. Just when you’re about to start, your mouse clicks over to your email. You only checked it five minutes ago but you want to check it once more before you start work. Several minutes later, your mouse clicks over to Facebook and the next thing you know, you’re scrolling down your news feed, reading statuses and watching videos. You keep looking for simple distractions that don’t take too much energy. Why do you do it? According to experts, procrastinators distract themselves in order to regulate their emotions such as the common fear of failure. Rather than get on with a task right away, you do everything you can to avoid it by finding distractions such as checking emails and social media. It's more interesting to scroll down your Facebook homepage and like a few pics, maybe even upload a few of your own.
10 You Research Shortcuts
Ok, so...how can you do your work faster? There must be a shortcut, you convince yourself. Then it's back to the Google search box again. There's this nagging feeling inside of you telling you there's work to be done but you argue back and say what you're doing is actually research. You know there must be a shortcut out there. Instead of spending five hours on the task, surely there's a way that only takes one hour....surely. The next time you look at the time, you realize you've been researching shortcuts for the past 3 hours and then it hits you: ''I could have completed the task in two hours if I hadn't have wasted all my time doing all this research.'' In the end, it takes you five hours to do the task and with the addition ''research'' you convinced yourself you did, the total time spent on your work racks up to 8 hours.
9 You've Had So Many Espressos, You Feel Like You Could Fly
The only reason you can't get into work today, you tell yourself, is because you simply haven't drank enough coffee. Without the caffeine fix, you can't function. You press the button on your coffee machine and make an extra strong espresso. Once you've had your caffeine fix, you'll be able to work. You will feel more motivated and more energetic and more ready to work. The first espresso just didn't cut it. Another one will do the trick, you tell yourself. Before you know it, seven espresso cups are lined up beside your laptop and now you're starting to feel dizzy. Your heart is fluttering. And you feel, ever so slightly, sick. Instead of doing the work you'd planned on doing, with the help of an espresso – or seven – you are lying down, trying to recuperate. Once you've recuperated from the caffeine overdose, you will be all set to work.
8 You Rearrange Your Filing Cabinet Three Times Before Starting Your Project
You have to get it just right. And the first time didn’t cut it. So you do it again. And then you do it again, until it’s just right. Before touching your project, you want to make sure your filing cabinet is perfectly organized. If it isn’t perfectly organized, you can’t work, you tell yourself. Instead of getting on with the project you are supposed to do, you spend most of the day sorting out your filing cabinet. It takes you three attempts before it seems right. Then you look at the time and it’s lunch time. Well, you can’t go hungry can you? Once you’ve had lunch, you will start with your project, you tell yourself. Is it the truth or is it a lie? Maybe once lunch is over, you’ll move on to another part of your office that needs rearranging. How about your desk? That could do with a tidy-up.
7 Your Favorite Phrase is ‘’I’m working on it.’’
... Because it buys you more time. After all, who can argue with "I’m working on it"? By telling people you’re working on it, nobody can predict how long it will take you, so you have time to work on something other than the task, like Facebook or Twitter for instance. Just to prove to all those people who think you’re a procrastinator that you don’t keep putting things off, why don’t you share a picture on Instagram of you actually working at your desk? Maybe it would convince people that you really do work hard. Sandra from human resources just came into your office and said she needs you to fill in the document by the end of the day. "I’m working on it," is your reply. Bob calls you up and asks where his fax is. "I’m working on it," you say. Basically, "I’m working on it" is your number one, ingenious line for putting things on hold.
6 You Get an Email and Reply... Oh Wait, You Haven't Replied Yet... Or Have You?
There’s an email in your inbox waiting for a reply. You read it, closed the window, and said you’d answer it later. But it didn’t get answered later. In fact, it’s been nearly a month and that email is still sitting in your inbox, nagging at you, to be answered. Conveniently, it always seems to slip your mind. Procrastinators always seem to put pretty much everything off. You deliberately look for distractions in order to avoid answering the email. Maybe the email asks you questions you don’t want to answer. Perhaps you feel you’d find the right answers the next day or the day after that. Instead of answering the email, you check your social media pages. You click a few like buttons. You play a video. Maybe you go and make yourself some dinner. Basically, the email never gets answered or if it does, and when it does, it’s a long time after the email was sent.
5 You Swear You'll Go the Dentist but Before You do, You Wait Until a Study Confirms Your Belief that Dentistry is a Myth
Everybody hates going to the dentist. Yet we all know we need to and that it’s necessary for good dental health. While most of, regardless of our fear for dentists, will book an appointment at least every 12 months, procrastinators will avoid going full stop. You may even have a problem with one of your teeth that needs sorting out but every time you think of booking an appointment, you come out with the same old excuses: "I’ll do it later.", "I’ll do it after I’ve watched TV.", "My tooth actually isn’t that bad....I’ll wait to see if it gets worse before booking." And you keep on making up excuses until the appointment never gets booked. According to Joseph Ferarri, a psychology professor, there are two reasons for procrastination: (1) We delay action because we’re convinced we’re not in the right mood to complete a task, and (2) We convince ourselves that our mood will change in the future.
4 Your Kitchen Cupboards are Empty - And All Your Dishes Are Sitting In The Sink
You eat breakfast, you leave your bowl on the side. You eat lunch, you leave your plate on the side. You eat diner, you leave your plate and cooking utensils on the side. Now you have a stack of washing-up to do. It needs to be done soon because you have guests coming over for drinks soon. If you don’t do it, what’s it going to look like? Ok. Ok. But first, you need to log on to twitter to message your friend Steve just to check he’s definitely coming later. "Yes," he replies. He’s definitely coming. So now the washing-up definitely needs to be done. But wait. Before you do it, you need to go to the store to buy some booze – what's a friendly get-together without alcohol? After that, you’ll do the dishes. Before you know it, your friends are ringing the door bell and the dishes are still piled up on the side. I hope somebody brought plastic cups!
3 You Become A Pro At Making Up Excuses As To Why You Were Late
But your friends know it's just because you're the worst procrastinator in the world... They've heard all the excuses before. The cheesy ones like, "I was on my way but then I got lost and I didn't have my cell phone on me and before I knew it, I was really late." Or, "I'm sorry I'm late! I was attacked by aliens!" Ok, so maybe not that far fetched but you get the idea. The fact is, your friends won't fall for your excuses. They know you're simply the worst procrastinator in the world. So whatever lines you cook up, they are not going to be fooled. They know you better than you think they do. No matter how convincing you think your excuse may sound, your friends aren’t convinced. They know you’re lying. Instead of replying to their text right away or within an hour tops, like a good friend would, you couldn’t be bothered. You thought you’d lie instead, make up an excuse and try to convince them that you’re telling the truth. Procrastinators make up so many excuses to the extent that they lose touch with their real self. Luckily your friends know you're the worst procrastinator in the world...so you're off the hook.
2 A Month-Long Project Becomes a 10-Minute Project
Why spend a whole month working on a project when you could just as easily get it done in ten minutes or maybe a little more? If you get the project done in 10 minutes, just think how much free time you will have on your hands. In other words, lots of TV, social media and googling funny memes. You swear the people who need an entire month to carry out the same project you can complete in 10 minutes are just plain idle. Are they working at a snail’s pace? They must be if it takes them a whole month. You start the project, trying to beat the 10 minute time frame you gave yourself. In the end, by the time you get around to touching the project, it does end up being a month project. What can you say? TV, social media and memes just got in the way.
1 You Carry Guilt Around With You Everywhere You Go
You feel guilty, ashamed and plagued with self loathing because you feel like you keep letting everyone around you down. You told your best friend you'd meet her for coffee but you stood her up. You told your sister you'd be on time for the appointment but you were ten minutes late. You were supposed to be at your child's parents' evening at 6pm but you arrived at 6:30pm. Now your best friend, sister and child think you're a let down. They think you are completely incompetent. And as a result, you feel terrible. You are plagued with all these horrible feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety. You hate yourself for being such a failure to the people you love. If only you could start getting your act together and stop being a procrastinator, maybe those feelings of anguish and resentment towards yourself would go away. It's worth a try isn't it?