If you have a deadline approaching but couldn’t bring yourself to work because your mind was wandering, you are procrastinating. In reality, many of us deal with procrastination and its side effects. For some, procrastinating has minor ramifications such as slow productivity or delay in completing assignments. However, it is a source of constant and debilitating anxiety for others.
Scientists believe that people procrastinate because of impulsivity and other neural functions. It’s also because many people don’t find value in the work they are doing, and therefore, they end up avoiding the task. To get to the root cause of the issue, you must understand why humans tend to procrastinate in the first place.
According to news reports, approximately 20% of the population suffer from chronic procrastination. However, years of scientific research have found the cause and coping mechanisms that students and professionals can use to beat procrastination. In this post, we have assembled the best behavioral techniques that you can utilize to fix your procrastination problem.
Procrastination plagues students and adults alike. Many children fear that they may not do the job well, so they give up altogether. Whether you’re in school or university, if you feel the impact of procrastination is affecting your studies, seek academic support from reliable writing services. You can hire a trustworthy company to “write my essay” and help you stay competitive.
The reasons why people procrastinate
The common assumption that humans procrastinate solely due to lack of willpower or time management is outdated and inaccurate. However, the answer is far more complex than that. It has more to do with our innate cognitive mechanisms that control our thinking, perception, memory, learning, consciousness, and emotions.
According to research, the predominant traits of procrastination are impulsivity and self-control. Therefore, procrastination results from failure to self-control even at the cost of long-term goals. Below are the many reasons why one procrastinates:
- A pessimistic view and disconnect of your future self.
- Optimism that you will complete the work last minute.
- Fear of failure, negative feedback, and/or evaluation.
- Self-destructive habits.
- Feelings of overwhelming.
- Task aversion.
- A focus on short-term emotions and future goals.
- Lack of energy and motivation.
- A struggle with delayed gratification.
The 2-minute and 10-minute rule
When we are confronted with a duty that we are not comfortable with, we create barriers in our minds and delay the work. We think to ourselves that we will do it later or on some other day. In the end, we run out of time and fear the outcome of missing the deadline. This adds to our anxiety, and we become engulfed in a cycle of procrastination.
If you are losing out on opportunities due to procrastination, we recommend following the 2 minute or 10-minute rule to quit procrastinating.
The 2-minute rule:
The 2-minute rule is a proven strategy that has helped many people overcome procrastination and build good habits. The name ‘2-minute rule’ is based on author David Allen’s two-minute method to enhance productivity. The idea is simple- “If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.” In this strategy, you break down your new habits into two-minute challenges. The dissection of a task into smaller parts can help you feel less pressured to make changes.
For example, if you want to take up reading, start small by reading just one page before you go to bed. You slowly build the habit of reading for two minutes, one page at a time before bedtime. Initially, this may seem like a menial task, but it will gear you to foster a ritual that will help you accomplish bigger things that require more focus and patience. By following the same ritual every day, you will gradually embrace the habit, and it will become second nature before you realize it.
When you take up the 2-minute method, ensure that your activity lasts only 120 seconds, not more. It can be underwhelming in the beginning as nobody aspires to read only one page, do one push-up, or fold one pair of socks. But always remember that doing something is far better than doing nothing. When you master the 2-minute rule, you can extend your activity time. Ultimately, you will be able to read a whole book, do 100 push-ups, and fold your entire laundry without being overwhelmed by the idea of doing it.
The 10-minute rule:
The 10-minute rule follows the exact roadmap as the 2-minute rule. The logic here is to build a habit by dedicating 10 minutes of your day to it. You choose your task and set a timer for 10 minutes. In those minutes, you only focus on the task at hand. Once the timer hits ten minutes, you decide whether to continue with the task or leave it for the next day. With this methodology, you lower your inhibitions and prevent procrastination.
This process works similarly to the 2-minute rule because it prevents our limbic system from perceiving a task as daunting or arduous. Committing to 10 minutes of labor doesn’t seem like a big challenge. It improves the chances of sticking to the work and actually seeing it through. Breaking down a piece of work into more minor chores reduces the magnitude of the job. Therefore, it doesn’t overwhelm us and removes any resistance to perform more significant tasks.
For example, the thought of running a marathon can appear to be an insurmountable quest. However, the idea of putting on your shoes and walking for 10 minutes seems more approachable. When you continue this small habit for a specific amount of time and continuously work your way up, you will gain more confidence about completing the marathon. You will be less likely to procrastinate and wonder if you will fail. Instead, you will be more focused on continuing the flow and achieving your goal.
The answer to how not to procrastinate is to start small and stay consistent. If you concentrate on smaller parts of the task, you have a higher chance of completing it without complications. You can employ the 2-minute or the 10-minute rule to alleviate your procrastination problems and adopt healthy habits. Bringing your procrastination under control will enable you to grasp exciting opportunities and take new challenges head-on.
Roslyn, a former professor, has been working as a content writer for 8+ years. With an impressive career spanning over two decades, Rosyln knows the ins and outs of the academic world. Literature is her passion, and she loves helping students grow their skills and develop their personality.