Putting off tasks we do not enjoy is very common. Even if there are consequences or difficulties that come along with procrastinating a certain task, as humans, we will still tend to do it for various reasons.
People tend to procrastinate when faced with a job that is boring, tedious, something they dislike doing, or it seems overwhelmingly big to accomplish.
Procrastinating is common with both children and adults–whether your child is procrastinating their homework or you are procrastinating doing the laundry–this blog will help you tackle the tasks you tend to procrastinate one step at a time.
With our easy-to-use online subscription, access courses for adults and children alike–from Attention, Anxiety, Collaborative Conversations With Teens, and more–BLOOM has everything you need to overcome the challenges of everyday life.
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is when we delay or put off tasks until the last minute or past their deadline. Sometimes, procrastination can be described as an irrational delay of tasks despite potentially negative consequences.
Even for the most well-organized individuals, everyone has likely procrastinated a task at some point in time. Sometimes, it is as trivial as scrolling social media when you should be folding laundry.
However, if you make a habit of putting off homework, work assignments, and household chores, procrastinating can begin to have a major negative impact on your life–be it grades, cleanliness, or job performance.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
Someone who is not emotionally in good shape will have less drive and creative energy to accomplish something, especially if it's a task they dislike. They will therefore fall prey to procrastination more easily. One of the greatest determining factors of procrastination is the idea of feeling motivated or inspired by a task at the moment.
Other times, we underestimate the extent of a task and how long it will take to finish. This incorrect assumption can lead a person to believe they have plenty of time when they do not.
Common Reasons We Procrastinate
- Not knowing what needs to be done
- Not knowing how to do something
- Not feeling in the mood to do it
- Being in the habit of waiting until the last minute
- Lacking the initiative to get started
- Not wanting to do something
- Not caring if it gets done or not
- Not caring when something gets done
- Being in the habit of waiting until the last minute
- Believing that you work better under pressure
Tips to Stop Procrastinating
Even if you or your child are not particularly organized, you can effectively reduce procrastination with simple tips and strategies.
- Make a List–sometimes procrastination stems from feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to begin. Making a physical/written list and prioritizing your tasks can help you tackle the most important task first and then move down the list from there.
- Add Something Enjoyable–doing something enjoyable while you do the task such as listening to music that gets your blood pumping, or doing it with someone else, can make a daunting task feel surmountable.
- Address Fears–procrastination sometimes stems from fear of beginning a task. This can originate from a feeling that you don’t have the skill or know-how to complete a specific task or a fear that you won’t be able to complete it.
- Breakdown Your Task into Pieces–sometimes tasks are difficult to begin because they seem daunting in time and measure. Breaking down a large task into several smaller sub-tasks and tackling those individually can make the larger task seem more manageable.
- Remove Distractions–If your phone's Instagram app constantly distracts you from getting your work done, leave your phone in another room when you need to get work done. Removing recurring distractions can help you complete tasks more easily.
- Reward Completed Tasks—before completing a task, tell yourself you get to indulge in a reward if you complete the task without procrastinating. Especially for children, a reward after a task can provide the needed motivation to overcome procrastination.
Examples of Overcoming Procrastination
Dividing the task into bite-size pieces is a great way to help with procrastination. When we say bite size, we mean really tiny. If you have a sheaf of documents to fill out, you could tell yourself you'll do half a page now, or you'll fill out all the places where it says name and address now, and tomorrow you'll do another half a page. The next day, maybe you'll manage a whole page, and eventually, in this way, you'll fill out the entire sheaf of pages.
If you have a kitchen to tidy, you'll begin with not just one corner and not just one shelf but even just one box on the shelf, and in five minutes, you'll do more. Ten minutes later, maybe you'll return and complete the shelf. The next morning, you could tackle the entire corner around that shelf, and later on in the day, you'll tackle the shelf opposite that one. Slowly, slowly your kitchen will have a turnaround and look tidy and clean.
Parenting and Life Tips from BLOOM
Many times, we face similar challenges in both our life and the lives of our children. Procrastination is something that occurs in both children and adults equally. Understanding strategies for overcoming procrastination can help you better succeed at school, work, and life in general.
BLOOM’s online courses guide parents in life and parenting. With courses on Attention, Anxiety, Collaborative Conversations With Teens, and more, BLOOM supports parents at their greatest points of need.