“Nah, I still can do my homework tomorrow. It’s just 5-pages anyway.”
“I did so much work yesterday, so I can delay my assignment today.”
“I can scroll posts on Facebook for another 30 minutes.”
Have you felt guilty while reading them? Be honest.
I’m a bad procrastinator. I admit that I do procrastinate, especially after so much work a day before. However, I make sure I do my tasks the next day if I decide to chill out today, for example. Just recently.
In the past few years, I succumbed to this habit wherein I skip one task to the other or leave one task unfinished. “Anyway, the deadline is still a week from now. I guess I can manage it,” I thought.
As the days went by and as the deadline was fast approaching, I left it undone until I was forced to do cramming just to finish it, compromising my pending tasks intended for submission in that same week.
I was wrecked. “OMFG! What should I do now?” This was my most said line over the years. This was also the reason behind my overwork affecting my health. I suffered from depression, by the way.
When I started to fight it as much as I could, I realized that I need to do something with my bad procrastinating habit. I knew I have to make conscious efforts to live a healthy working lifestyle for my mental health.
This led me to make a huge leap of faith and re-programmed my mental software through my favorite method, which I will introduce to you later on. So, if you’re curious about it, stay tuned until the end of this post. *giggles*
Anyway highway, because of the re-programming, I manage to balance my work days and my relax/cheating days weekly to avoid compromises. I was also able to control my urge to enjoy my precious “temporary avoidance” of the piled up work.
Now let’s talk about yours. You are aware of this ongoing problem but you don’t know how to handle it. In fact, you want to overcome it to move forward with your assignments smoothly.
Actually, this is the most unwanted habits that the majority of the Filipinos are famous for. In the Philippines, we call it the “manana habit” aka the “Mamaya na” habit.
Many of us wanted to eliminate this procrastinating habit, however, the majority find it difficult changing this habit because it is already considered part of the culture. We know it’s bad but everyone’s doing it.
If a hundred percent of the Filipinos would do something to fix this, the Philippines could dramatically progress from a third-world country to second or probably first.
But that’s not the reality and as a Filipino, I really like to do something on it.
Before we dig into the real reason behind your bad procrastinating habit, I encourage you to download your FREE worksheet to guide you on how to achieve more tasks within 30 days and move forward to your overwhelming success—because you know, it really feels good when you achieve something great. I felt that many times so I’m helping you to have the same experience.
So, what’s the real cause of your bad procrastinating habit?
Many blogs out there says a lot of reasons behind this. They mentioned more exposure to environmental distractions like accessibility to the internet, social media, or perhaps your social circle.
I thought it was simple as that. But as I delve into it deeper, it has a clear cause behind the motivation to avoid the work and do something that will give them temporary ease. Depending on the level of stress of the work affects your duration of quenching your pleasure needs.
Procrastination basically is an outcome of your fear.
And fear in any forms caused your decision to avoid the cause of anxiety. Let’s take your work as an example.
You are working as a freelancer for a month. You have to work full-time for eight hours straight, writing 1,500+ words per day.
While you’re in the middle of the stressful writing job, you suddenly felt like you have to watch a comedy movie, forgetting your work demands for more than an hour. “Anyway, I still have more hours to work on the rest of the articles,” you thought.
If you think of the situation in a third-person point of view, you know why you are avoiding the work. This is because you want to avoid any uncomfortable conditions like working eight-hours straight doing something you’re not even interested.
According to the French neuroanatomist Charles Letourneau’s published work in Physiologie des Passions (1878), fear and anxiety are outcomes of emotions, which is considered “linked to organic life” and are “results of abnormal excitation of the nervous network (aka the brain).”
As human as we are, we immediately activate fear and anxiety whenever we feel threatened or in danger, disturbed through motivational conflict regardless if it is existent or not.
Before we reveal the real cause of these irrational fears, let me tell you its different forms aside from phobias, of course.
Let’s know them one by one.
3 types of fears
1. Fear of Failures
This is the most common fear people could easily identify. Who would love to fail many times, right? For sure nobody wants to do something as uncomfortable as failing.
Just so you know, I am a novelist on Wattpad and I publish chapters twice a week. There are times when I keep staring at the blank page trying to figure out how to start the story or continue the story development which will hook the readers to read more.
And that goes on for days. Yes, it’s true.
So, if you’re experiencing the same, you don’t have to feel bad because I do feel the same.
Your bad procrastinating habit can root in this cause. Fear of failure. You don’t like to experience failing in something you are working right now. Because of that, you either not start or you keep distracting to avoid accomplishing the task.
If you aren’t scared of failing like me, you belong to the one percent. Yikes!
But for most of us doesn’t.
And below the fear of failures include the following:
- Fear of criticism
- Fear of rejection
Both of them linked to perfectionism. You tend to make sure your work is flawless. You subconsciously force yourself to make a perfect work even in the first draft.
Duh, why would you expect the best piece of work in the first draft? Even the great American novelist Ernest Hemingway says, “The first draft of anything is shit.” Though everyone knows that, many still believe that it is best to create something epic even in the first try. This is only a myth, my friend.
Consequences of this mindset include mental or creative paralysis, unable to write something on a piece of paper or word processor (MS Word).
Remember when you wanted to write your first novel, book report, or research paper, all you did the whole day was staring at a blank space? How about when you want to draw or design on PhotoShop or Adobe InDesign and you can’t think of a perfect layout to start with?
That’s a clear picture of fear of failure. Your mind stops you from starting something because you fear criticisms and rejections from the people—the very audience of your work.
If you are guilty of this fear, stop it. Start your task and move on!
2. Fear of loss
When it comes to losing something valuable in possession, there are two main aspects to look at, according to Karl Albrecht’s 5 types of fears people share.
- Fear of losing autonomy, aka of the fear of losing the “in control” factor regardless of the object you consider important such as the future, outcome of your hard work, or predictable consequence of the work you are doing now. This is because you don’t have the full control of the results of your work.
- Fear of losing your social circle, which obviously refers to your friends, family, or someone special or close to your heart. You are afraid when you focus on something important today like your tasks or workloads you might miss events your social circle enjoyed.
So that includes the following sub-fears:
- Extinction (which is the worst, because in this case, your social circle considers you non-existent in their eyes)
3. Fear of Pain
Well, this is second most obvious fear people could determine. It is also called as algophobia, an irrational fear of persistent, unwanted pain in many forms. However, this kind of phobia is common among elderly people.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist among the youth. Because it does.
This is in the form of:
What I determined with the physical pain is more external and more-related to the body pains like the stress- and anxiety-related problems or the lack of sleep. Something like that.
On the other hand, the psychological pain is more of the conditioned fear (is brought from childhood such as abusive trauma, narcissistic parenting, and post-traumatic stress disorder) and commitment towards the task to completion. This is the invisible type of pain because people can’t see you’re dying inside.
So, how do we usually fight against these fears?
Psychologically-speaking, we dwell in two types of coping—the active (proactive style) and the passive (reactive style) coping strategies. In other words, it’s either we face it or we flee away from it for good.
Active coping strategies (ACS) include:
- Procrastination Bulldozer Method
- Emotional Freedom Technique
- Ivory Lee Method
- Intermittent Fasting (in work, not referring to dieting)
- Simplification Method
- The 15-minute Work Rule
- Acknowledging the problem (your bad habit itself)
- Conscious effort of dismissing its excuses
- Adjustment/tolerance to uncomfortable situations (for accomplishment)
Passive coping strategies (PCS) include:
- Conservation-Withdrawal Strategy
- Wishful thinking
- Dependency or relying on others to resolve problems
- Simply avoid the problem through alcohol, drugs, etc.
- Just run away and live off-grid
Of course, the goal of this post is not to master the passive coping strategies or what they call the reactive style, but the other way around.
I don’t want you to run away from your bad procrastinating habit or simply embracing it amid the unhealthy working lifestyle you have right now.
Instead, I encourage you to learn the nine (9) important active coping strategies psychologists want you to master as part of your daily habit.
In that way, you can easily cope with your “Mamaya na” habit and accomplish a lot in a day or within a month! This is the reason behind writing this—to gather all the techniques you could use and benefit from it.
What are the nine (9) proactive style of overcoming procrastination?
1. Procrastination Bulldozer Method
This is one of the rising technique nowadays when it comes to dealing with your temporary enjoyment. It actually refers to your ability to deal with the root cause of your bad procrastinating habit.
The methods are varied depending on how you handle it. Most of the time, it is through making consistent conscious efforts to eliminate the habit per se.
You probably say “Come on, I grew up this way. It’s hard to change that just like eating a piece of candy.” I am aware this is difficult to implement especially if we don’t have accountability.
I’ll tell you my personal anecdote on this one.
I’ve been writing a Filipino novel on Wattpad entitled “30 Days with Mr. Weirdo” for around a month now. Because it is a novel, it is obviously longer than short stories or blog posts.
This week, I’m now in Chapter 35. That’s really a lot of effort to reach that number, especially I’m writing at least 1,500+ words reaching 3,000+ words in every chapter.
And my readers knew I publish every Tuesday and Friday. So, they will be very sad and disappointed if I can’t make it on that day regardless of my reasons.
In the past few days, I felt like I can’t write chapter anymore because of running a blog like this, but then I know I shouldn’t give in or else many people will be disappointed with me. Plus, I didn’t have proper sleep that day because of staying up late for this blog.
Because of that, delaying my novel update was REALLY tempting. But I decided to delay my gratification—the need for sleep. So, I started writing and took advantage of the brownout in the barangay until I finished the whole 3,000+ chapter within two hours or so.
And I ticked publish and done!
A day before that, Monday, I started outlining Building Self Manifesto from the last week and then, I started writing about it around Friday until Monday, including breaks during the weekends to think of what else could I add to the book.
So last Monday, I started re-writing the book from start to finish from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. I stopped a bit to cook dinner and do all the household chores.
After doing all those and fixed myself (took a bath), I resumed working around 7 in the evening until 1 in the morning. I was able to finish the whole manifesto in PDF in more than 12 hours.
The next day, I did the novel update and tweaked a bit in the blog before I slept. In general, I managed to finish around 3 tasks in each day. All big ones, by the way. Recalling the moment I finished a lot in that day is worth reliving.
Can you do that? I want you to. That’s why I encourage you to download my FREE worksheet to work on, which is good for 30 days of lessening the impact of your bad procrastinating habit, my friend.
2. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
This is usually in a form of a therapy in a form of counseling interventions. You probably need a counselor or a therapist to benefit from this technique though you have a lot of resources on YouTube as a guide.
Although I haven’t experienced having EFT myself, however, I have heard a lot of positive reviews about this method of coping your bad habit.
According to Mercola, the official site teaching this technique, it is done through psychological acupressure methodologies to help you optimize your mental health. You can see their site for video tutorials on how to do that.
3. Ivory Lee Method
This is taken from a famous story of a PR consultant Ivory Lee, who shared his simple-but-super-effective-as-hell productivity hack to Charles Schwab, who was then the CEO of Bethlehem Steel in the 1920s.
Schwab asked for Lee’s help on how he could boost his company’s performance than the present. So, the PR consultant immediately shared his unbelievably simple method for the CEO’s employees to work on.
According to Lee, in order for any company to double its outputs is to implement this method—through listing 3 to 5 important tasks within that day.
This should be done by employees of that company. And within each step, the employee has to start on the first task and finish it before proceeding to task #2, task #3 …
The simple method made Schwab the most millions he could earn in his company in his time.
If this technique made a lot of money and success to persons like Schwab, how much more to an ordinary fellow like you? Am I getting clear here, my friend?
4. Intermittent Fasting
If you’re a fan of dieting, you would have probably met this guy. Mr. Intermittent Fasting. *giggles* Anyway highway, if you’re already familiar with the system in terms of eating, you would know how it applies to accomplishing your daily tasks without compromises in between.
If not, it’s simple. If you work more than 12 hours today and accomplished 3-6 tasks in a day today, you can give yourself a rest tomorrow. Then, work on the next and rest on the next two days.
James Clear of JamesClear.com says, “I skip breakfast each day and eat two meals, the first around 1 pm and the second around 8 pm. Then, I fast for 16 hours until I start eating again the next day at 1 pm.”
When it comes to dieting, you follow either 8-hour or 12-hour no eating plan. Afterwards, you can eat as long as it is already passed the time limit. Same thing with your work.
This is actually one of my habits when it comes to working or writing on the web. I work heavily on Monday and relax on Tuesdays. Work again by Wednesday and Thursday and rest a bit on Friday.
On Mondays = 14 hours of work (11 am to 1 am)
Tuesdays = Relax. Chill. Work a bit like 4 hours (1 pm to 5 pm)
Wednesdays = 14 hours (11 am to 1 am)
Thursdays = 8 hours (1 pm to 9 pm)
Fridays = Relax. Chill.
Saturdays and Sundays = Half-day (1 pm to 5 pm)
In each day, I have to make sure I accomplish at least 3 tasks assigned on that day to avoid delays. At times, I do tasks in advance for my rest day. It’s really simple method but it is super effective.
5. Simplification Method
I call this the “task tidbits” method. From a whole overwhelming-looking task to tidbits. It’s like that. This is my personal favorite techniques to overcome procrastination.
If you try to recall the moment when you are assigned to something big like organizing a charity event, just by taking the overall picture of it, it sounds so big and impossible. “OMFG! Please bury me alive now!” You might have said that in a second.
But if you take it an another angle, you’d see it differently. Instead of focusing on how big the project is, ask yourself, “How can I do it?”
To see how it goes, download my FREE fillable worksheet you can work on for the next 30 days. You can reprint this for the next month, so on.
6. The 15-minute Work Rule
This is what I follow at times. The rule is simple. You can finish one task for 15-minutes non-stop. If you think the assignment is achievable for 24 hours, do it in 15 minutes. That’s crazy. But it works like magic.
Remember when I told you about my 3,000+ word chapter for my novel? Yes, writing a lengthy chapter is usually attained around 4 to 6 hours. But, I tested my limits and see if I can finish it lesser than 4 hours. I did.
Within 15 minutes of non-stop writing, I wrote for around 2,000+ words without distractions. And then the next paragraphs followed until I finished the whole chapter for 2 hours.
Let’s say, you have to clean the entire house. Of course, your initial reaction would be “WTF! Did you just tell me to clean the entire 120-square meter house alone?!”
But if you follow the 15-minute work rule and mentally work on the specific areas of the house that needs more cleaning than the others, you can do it. Swear. I tried it many times over the years and it’s effective.
This is more of your mental preparedness to challenge. Try it and you’ll see. Yikes!
7. Acknowledging the problem (your bad habit itself)
Well, let’s get straightforward in this section.
The overwhelming 9 suggestions I mention in this post will be worthless and surely be put to waste if you won’t get real to yourself now. That means you need to be open or vulnerable at least this time.
Determine the REAL REASON behind your bad procrastinating habit. Why do you tend to avoid the task? Is it because you find the work too big for you to handle? Or is it because you are afraid you won’t satisfy your teacher or your boss when it’s finished?
Ask yourself, my friend.
8. Conscious effort of dismissing the excuses
Well, this is the most obvious recommendation. When you try to make changes in your procrastinating habit, you need to forget your alibis. I know it is really tempting to do it but please don’t.
You may have noticed this is a lengthy post. I consider this an epic post with *insert drum rolls* 4,000+ words. WAAA!! Yes, this is a very long post and writing this entailed a lot of effort from me. From researching different articles, gathering resources, creating and revising drafts, publishing it, and creating the FREE fillable worksheet.
I spent around four days of work for this post alone. That’s almost a whole week FREE WORK (credits to Charlie Hoehn for the term) from me, man (read as meyn, boisterous laugh)!
And honestly, within these four days, surfing the web, enjoying National Geographic, or watching Korean dramas and movies were tempting. Seriously.
But then, I challenged this thought. I asked myself several times, “If I give in, I would delay the publishing date I set for this post. If that happens, my assignments would be delayed as well. I am wrecked! If that happens, I don’t deserve some sleep! And if that happens, what will happen to the people who’d miss my message? Argggg!”
If I was able to pull this off, you can do, too. And please if you think you can’t and if you think I’m too great to do this possible, stop it. *rolls eyes* Because you’re great, too. I believe you are a human reading this post. *winks*
9. Adjustment/tolerance to uncomfortable situations (for accomplishment)
Just like the previous point, when you desire to accomplish things assigned on that day, you have to expect uncomfortable feeling. This is because you choose to work on the stuff for the big goal you’re working on and not gratifying your temporary pleasure.
When I wrote this post (while writing the new chapter of my novel, by the way), enjoying a day without doing anything at all was tempting. But I chose the other way around. That alone was really an uncomfortable decision.
However, I learned so much in this journey. At least, I don’t have something to regret at the end, given that I’ve achieved many things early this week alone. That feeling is damn unforgettable.
So, if you’re working on something big this week or this month, think of the sacrifices you need to do to achieve your objectives. I tell you, if you say no to these temporary pleasures and do a conscious effort to accomplish your goals this time, is worth your while.
The feeling of having fulfilled many things within a limited span of time is more satisfying over regretting it at the end just because opted to subsume with your bad procrastinating habit.
Expressions like “I should have done it.” or “If only I worked on this chapter yesterday, I could have enjoyed being with my family today” will never be your problem or in the nearest future. If and only if you follow my suggestions.
Are you ready to stop this kind of lifestyle, my friend? If you are, don’t forget to grab your FREE fillable worksheet wherein you can divide your big tasks to small chunks. Just click the button below to get yours now.
How do you find this post? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, don’t forget to spread the word with your family and friends. I’ll really appreciate it… a lot, my friend!