Psychology

Why we Procrastinate and how to Stop



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Procrastination. For some, it's a word to scream at their teenage children; for other's, it's a way of life. And while the urge may be great for me to stop this article now with a, "Screw it, I'll finish this later," it's time to finally get up and say something about this epidemic. Like it or not, the "I'll do it later" mentality has gotten a stranglehold on our society and could very easily suffocate our futuresif it ever gets around to it.

You could spend hours reading page after page, analyzing the procrastinating mind (if you have that kind of drive) and you'd find a number of conclusions varying from personality disorders to a blaming of the parents for instilling a poor work ethic on their children, but we all know the true culprit. If you look deep into your soul, and think back to all the times you've said to yourself "Meh, this can wait," you'll plainly see the reason is simply that it's easier, and gives immediate rewards.

Imagine yourself at home, it's 8:00 am, and you've got a task, something you know you can accomplish, but will take time. Let's pretendyou have to write an article about procrastination. And let's say you have a deadline of 5:00 pm. You know you'll have to do it eventually, but you're at a crossroads. You can do it now, and have free time after you're done, or you can put it off until the last minute, and have free time immediately. Now if you're a responsible human being, you'll do it now, and enjoy uninterrupted free time afterwards. Seems like an obvious decision, yes?

Now let's pretend you're an irresponsible college student, and a lazy one at that. You'll probably end up sitting around in your underwear for a while, microwaving a hot-pocket, taking a nap, reading some comic books, and watching reruns of "Antiques Roadshow" until 4:50 pm, when you then realize you've got an article due in 10 minutes, and you haven't even showered yet. Looking at it from this distance, it seems pretty easy to make the right decision, but I'm sure as we all know, it's not that simple when you're down in the thick of it.

But how do we combat procrastination? How do we fight a problem that exists in our minds? How do you force yourself to do something that you could easily do later? How do you get a teenager to take out the garbage when there's a perfectly good X-Box in the other room that's just dying to be played?

Well, if you're a procrastinator looking for answers in this article, go do something else! You've obviously got better and more important things to do than read about how to get yourself to do things, so go do them! Seriously, if you don't get going now, I'm going to kidnap your cat.

Now that they're gone, if you're one of the unfortunate souls who is stuck with the task of motivating a procrastinator, you're in a bit more of a sticky situation. If, say, your son keeps putting off changing the cat's litter, because he'd rather play his electric guitar and worry about kitty litter later, there's a very simple solution. Rather than yelling at him, or even unplugging his guitar, just poke him with a broom for a bit. Let him continue trying to learn "Crazy Train", but just start poking him with a broom handle for a while. Eventually he'll get the point. And if that doesn't work, bring the kitty litter into his room. If he's not going to change it, he can live with the smell.

Hopefully this has opened your eyes to a whole new world of actually getting work done in a timely fashion. Some of us, however, are beyond help, and even now are typing frantically to get this finished by their self-imposed 5:00 pm deadline.

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