What is ‘to procrastinate’?
To procrastinate is to defer action; to delay; to put off till another day or time.
Generally, we delay things which require efforts just for a comforting present. In other words, it’s a chronic disease that causes us to avoid difficult tasks, for it is a perennial struggle with self-control.
Another view says that procrastination can be done in context of distractions as well, which helps us focus on the more important stuff. This signifies that procrastination is not a bad thing if done the right way!
Why is procrastination considered a bad habit?
Don Marquis, an American poet, says – “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.” So if today we’re doing yesterday’s job, then we’re losing out on today’s time, which again will be compensated for, tomorrow. This cycle continues and only deteriorates for worse!
The procrastination sets in when the task seems intimidating or there is lack of motivation. This habit might also lead to last-minute anxiety, panic and stress, and as a result, drop in the self-confidence. However, what is ought to be done has to be done, if not now, later.
The best solution discovered by far (in my opinion) is the ‘2-Minute Rule’ which I read first on James Clear’s blog. It’s a little strategy that is easy to comprehend. It consists of 2 parts:
Part 1: If a task takes less than 2 minutes, then do it now.
This part comes from David Allen’s book – Getting Things Done. It’s very simple, do not put off things that could be done in 2 minutes or less.
Part 2: If a task requires 2 minutes (or less) to start, then start it now.
This Part works on the physics of real life as Sir Isaac Newton in his First Law of Motion (also called Law of Inertia) taught us – Objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to stay in motion (unless an external force is applied to it). This law is equally applicable to humans as is to any other object.
Or use procrastination wisely!
There is no question about the ability of the ‘2-Minute Rule’ to overcome procrastination. But, there is no point in doing everything we can, especially when it does not contribute to achievement of our goals, personal or professional.
Rather, we’d use procrastination as an effective tool for time management. Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the ‘Urgent-Important Matrix’.
Now, how do we classify our activities/tasks as important or urgent? Here,
Important – Activities having an outcome that leads to the achievement of our personal or professional goals.
Urgent – Activities demanding immediate attention (may or may not deal with attainment of goals).
Once the classification is done, follow the sequence as per the activities falling in the following headings:
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Not important but urgent
- Not important and not urgent
Here, procrastination is arguably an important tool to defer activities that are not important. Procrastination may universally be believed to be a bad habit, but it is important to reason the notion and use it to the best of your own benefit, as everything that works for the universe might not always work in your case.
So, thinking of procrastinating the procrastination habit entirely?
If yes, go for the ‘2-Minute Rule’.
If no, go for the ‘Urgent-Important Matrix’.
Know the value of time; snatch and seize every moment of it!