Most people have procrastinated at some point in their lives. An occasional occurrence for some chores isn’t a big deal. However, procrastination can be a significant problem for some, affecting their ability to get things done and holding back their personal and professional development.
Procrastination is a habit that can be hard to break. It can be especially detrimental when it comes to time management, which is the key to sticking to your goals and achieving success. Mismanaging your time can lead to missed deadlines, poor work quality, and extra stress.
So how does procrastination affect your time management? We will explore how your time management suffers from procrastinating and provide tips on overcoming it.
- What Causes Procrastination?
- Emotions, Time, and Procrastination
- Does Time Management Create Procrastination?
- How Different Types of Procrastination Affect Time Management
- Good and Bad Time Management Practices
- Ways to Overcome Procrastination
- Manage Your Procrastination and Time
What Causes Procrastination?
Before exploring its relation to time management, it is worth examining what causes procrastination. There are many reasons why people might procrastinate.
Sometimes, it may be because the task is unpleasant or daunting. In other cases, it may be because the person doesn’t think they have enough time to do the job correctly. They’d instead do something they can accomplish with their time.
At its core, procrastination arises from an inability to separate emotional responses to tasks and deadlines from performing them.
As a result, procrastination is not a time management issue but an emotional management problem. However, since it’s one of the most common symptoms of time mismanagement, the concepts are so closely intertwined that they are often solved as a pair.
Fear of failure is one of the most common causes of procrastination. It can be difficult to start something new if you dread doing it wrong. This fear can be paralyzing and prevent you from acting at all.
Perfectionism is another common cause of procrastination. If you are a perfectionist, you may feel that everything you do must be impeccable. This can make it difficult to start anything new or lead to many abandoned projects because they weren’t “good enough.”
Impulsivity is also a cause of procrastination. It can lead to rash decisions that may not be in your best interest. Acting on impulse may lead you to ignore your deadline to do other things that may not be as time-constraining.
Lack of motivation is another common reason for procrastination. Finding the motivation to do something can be tricky if you do not have a solid reason or the task is unenjoyable or too difficult.
Additionally, if you are experiencing burnout, it may be difficult to be motivated to do things even if you’d normally enjoy them.
Emotions, Time, and Procrastination
Procrastination is a defense mechanism that seemingly shields you from an overwhelming task’s discomfort and mental and emotional load. Unfortunately, it creates a vicious cycle of poor time management and inadequate emotional control.
Perfectionism perfectly illustrates the nature of this loop. Overthinking and being heavily critical of the quality of your work will leave you overwhelmed, tired, and underachieving. This, in turn, hurts your self-esteem and overall performance.
You may feel like it takes an infinite amount of time to complete your work, or the moment is never good enough. So you put the task off, waiting for the “perfect” time and circumstances to finish it, but that time may never come.
It’s important to distinguish that procrastination and laziness look similar but typically work on different axes. A lazy person might be unwilling to start a project because they realize it’s difficult and requires effort. A procrastinator usually delays it because they don’t know where to begin effectively.
Despite the difference, procrastination is not a harmless coping mechanism and can have considerable adverse consequences. Not being able to start a task on time makes it more challenging to manage your time effectively and interferes with other projects and even self-care.
You may be unable to get enough sleep because you’re catching up on a fast-approaching deadline. This harms your health, elevating the task’s emotional toll, promoting future procrastination, and worsening your time management.
Improving your time management skills can help you overcome emotional roadblocks resulting from procrastination.
Does Time Management Create Procrastination?
We all know the feeling: You’re sitting at your desk, staring at a project that’s due tomorrow, and you can’t make yourself start. So you surf the internet, check your email, or take a “quick break” that turns into an hour-long nap.
When you procrastinate, you’re letting important tasks pile up. This creates an infinite loop of poor time management and procrastination perpetuating each other.
In some cases, poor time management is the root cause of procrastination. But often, it’s a symptom of procrastination. There are several reasons for this.
First, you may underestimate the time it will take to complete a task. This can cause a lack of time to do things properly once you start, leading to rushed work and panicked decision-making.
Second, procrastinating people often have difficulties focusing on one thing at a time. This means they may start working on a task but then get sidetracked by other things that seem more exciting or pressing.
How Different Types of Procrastination Affect Time Management
There are different types of procrastination, which can affect time management skills in distinct ways.
Active procrastination involves deliberately choosing to do something else instead of the task. It can occur for various reasons, including boredom, a lack of interest in the job, or perhaps even because you think you can get away with it.
Active procrastination can hurt time management as it often leads to missed deadlines and a build-up of unfinished basic chores.
In addition, this can also considerably impact your well-being. Due to poor time management, you may neglect your basic self-care needs when trying to meet deadlines at the last moment. Active procrastination is the most obvious reflection of poor time management skills.
With passive procrastination, you unintentionally put off doing something. This might be because you’re unsure how to start the task, don’t have enough information about how to do it, or worry about failing.
Passive procrastination can also negatively affect time management as it can lead to unfinished tasks. Furthermore, reasons that lead to passive procrastination may serve as excuses to dodge responsibility and may stem from an inability to accept greater demands.
The third type is positive procrastination when you delay doing something to allow yourself more time to prepare or gather resources.
It can also be a situation where you invest time into positive, objectively productive activities but still use them to avoid the most critical task. This might be because you want to do a good job, avoid mistakes and distractions, or get the best outcome.
Positive procrastination can sometimes improve time management, giving you more time to plan and prepare. However, there is a fine line between positive and active procrastination. Having a seemingly good reason to avoid an important task may serve as an excuse to delay your obligations.
For example, you might decide to clean your house to study easier for an upcoming exam. While it is beneficial to work in a clean environment, delaying studying for too long ultimately defeats the purpose of cleaning. Overlapping activities and multi-tasking are disastrous when trying to follow a tight schedule.
Good and Bad Time Management Practices
Both good and bad time management practices can impact how procrastination affects your time management and vice versa. Some good practices include:
- Identifying your time wasters and working to eliminate them
- Setting achievable goals and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks
- Creating a realistic schedule and sticking to it as much as possible
- Learning to say “no” when you know you don’t have the time for something
On the other hand, some poor time management practices that can fuel procrastination include:
- Trying to do too many things at once and becoming overwhelmed
- Putting off important tasks because they seem too daunting or difficult
- Filling up your schedule with non-essential activities and commitments
- Constantly checking email, social media, or other distractions instead of focusing on the task
When you wonder how procrastination affects your time management, these bullet points are an excellent place to start.
Ways to Overcome Procrastination
There are several ways that you can overcome procrastination and get back on track with your time management. Here is a quick rundown of valuable strategies to help you break the infinite loop:
- Set specific and achievable goals. It is easier to stay focused and motivated with a clear and attainable goal in mind.
- Make an action plan. Once you know what your goal is, break it down into smaller steps that you can complete. This will help you avoid getting overwhelmed.
- Set a deadline for yourself. A deadline will help keep you accountable and focused on completing your projects.
- Get rid of distractions. Turn off your phone, close the door to your office, and ensure you are in a quiet environment where you can focus.
- Take small breaks when needed. It is crucial to avoid burnout by taking time off throughout the day. Use a timer, so you don’t take too long of a break and get sidetracked.
With these strategies in mind, you should be able to allocate more of your time to healthy, productive activities rather than procrastination.
Manage Your Procrastination and Time
In conclusion, how does procrastination affect your time management? It can lead to missed deadlines, unproductive days, and decreased productivity.
Understanding your emotional triggers and working on your time management skills should help you overcome this bad habit and gain a strong foothold in your strive for success.