If you happen to be a chronic procrastinator, even the top strategies for better time management will only help so much. Researchers have recently discovered a surprising, emotional component that goes far beyond simply preferring to put things off. Understanding how your brain works and then mitigating the factors that are working against you, could be key to getting more things done and to leading a more positive, proactive and fulfilling life.
Procrastination May Not Be A Sign Of Laziness Or Poor Self-Discipline
Surprisingly, most procrastination is largely driven by anxiety. People who tend to procrastinate are usually subjected to intense feelings of stress and anxiety as deadlines draw near and pressure starts to mount.
Although these negative emotions are commonly believed to be the result of having put things off for too long, they are usually the catalyst or trigger that has caused the procrastination in the first place. In short, procrastination is as much caused by extreme anxiety as it is likely to create it. The key to resolving the tendency to put things off therefore lies in mitigating the moods or emotions that present themselves when a major problem must be tackled.
Strategies For Mitigating Anxiety Induced Procrastination
No one enjoys feeling stressed out and anxious, but many people still feel unmotivated and unable to move without it. As result, while they don't enjoy feeling anxious, these individuals know that stress is generally what prompts them to get things done. If they don't have enough anxiety and stress at the outset of a project, they will unconsciously begin creating the very emotional conditions that are necessary for getting them into gear. People who live under anxiety, pressure and stress or who have a hard time functioning without these, are also more likely to adopt maladaptive behaviors that further prevent them from making positive and lasting corrections in their general life habits.
In certain instances, simply charging headfirst into a project that causes anxiety is an effective way to make this overwhelming emotion abate, without having to delay action until an actual deadline is looming.
The more that people push themselves to work towards their goals, the less anxious they will invariably feel. In other instances, however, moving beyond the need for anxiety and the unconscious tendency to create it could require behavioral therapy.
Connecting With Your Future Self
Well-organized, well-planned individuals who maintain good time management skills, may have something that chronic procrastinators do not. This is a clear sense of connection with their future selves. These individuals recognize that what they accomplish today will have a clear benefit on the lives further down the road. Procrastinators often lack this same sense of connection and this in turn makes it hard to work for the benefit of their futures until their future deadlines are actually upon them. In this case, the surest form of remedy is to consult with a licensed therapist who can assist in establishing this important connection and a greater sense of self-preservation.
Ultimately, there are very few instances in which chronic procrastination is the result of laziness, stupidity or any other negative attributes. This negative life habit is often founded entirely in anxiety or in an inability to connect what is happening today with how one's life will be in the future.