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What’s the Real Definition of Procrastination?

Let’s start with the definition from the dictionary. Procrastination is the act of putting off, postponing or delaying intentionally and habitually something that should be done.

This act may make you feel guilty for not being productive and responsible. You become stressed and this becomes an excuse to delay what should be done even further.

When you procrastinate, do you feel a low sense of self-esteem, not worthy and distressed that you’re not meeting others expectations? Do you overestimate the size of a task until the thought of doing it overwhelms you? It’s said that procrastinators expect too much from themselves and become out of touch with reality and their goals are in reality only wishes and dreams.

Procrastinators are often times perfectionists. They spend an inordinate amount of time trying to perfect one small task while the larger, needed task goes unfinished or not begun.

Perfectionists and procrastinators often continue to work on a tiny part of a project to avoid the evaluation of others, thus becoming a workaholic. The underlying problem for some perfectionists is that they are egocentric and will settle for nothing but the ultimate.

Psychologists classify procrastinators as two types: relaxed and tense or anxious. The relaxed type directs their energy into tangent tasks, thus avoiding what needs to be done. They view the whole elephant and are unable to take a bite at a time. They see the task as not pleasurable and enjoyable and demand instant gratification. Procrastinators gain the gratification by doing a more menial chore.

The anxious type is usually unrealistic about time and goals lacking the ability to focus and tell themselves they will start later. They rationalize reasons for delaying a beginning.

As time runs out, guilt and anxiousness increase leading to depression and even withdrawal. Failure, delay and unmet goals become a cycle with an unending loop that continues to repeat.

Procrastination is common in the academic world when a student waits until the last minute to start an assignment. Some students say they work better under pressure but this usually results in inferior work. They know the work must be completed to complete the course but other more pleasurable distractions get in the way.

If you avoid reality you could be a procrastinator on the road to a mental health disorder.

A compulsion to surf the net, play video games constantly, too much television, or even using sleep as an escape could require professional help. These things are not bad in moderation but start with being honest with yourself.

Do you see yourself in these definitions? This is an attempt to characterize the act of procrastination and help you determine if you are, in fact, a procrastinator. No real solutions to procrastination are offered here. The solution to most problems begins with awareness and admitting you have a need. We’re all guilty of procrastination to some degree. Seek what degree is best for you.

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