Odd enough, in these days that we claim and complain we don’t have enough time, most of us seem to wait until the last minute to do certain tasks. And we do that because we don’t like the task at hand, or simply because it’s too challenging.
Same happens when we are afraid of consequences and negative results. Oftentimes things get done and no real consequence is suffered; or we may suffer consequences, but they are usually not substantial. In the words of Dr. Ramirez Basco, “the number one reason we procrastinate is because we can.”
Procrastination is a challenge we have all faced at one point or another. For as long as humans have been around, we have been struggling with delaying, avoiding, and procrastinating on issues that matter to us. Procrastination usually involves ignoring an unpleasant, but likely more important task, in favor of one that is more enjoyable or easier.
When we procrastinate, instead of working on important, meaningful tasks, we find ourselves performing trivial activities.
We procrastinate to cope, by shutting down unpleasant, or even painful feelings about certain arguably hard to do tasks or with perceived negative consequences. Is short, pain avoidance. It is an altered state of reality, according to Dr. Ramirez Basco.
In sum, procrastination is a habit that is so automatic that it does not require thought of planning; a habit hard to change. It is not something we can just decide to give up and then completely let it go. It is our comfort zone, where we feel the most at ease. We know it is happening when we have trouble persuading ourselves to do the things we should do or would like to do.
Behavioral psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called “time inconsistency,” which helps explain why procrastination seems to pull us in, despite our good intentions. It is the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.
Minor episodes of procrastination can make us feel guilty or ashamed. It can lead to reduced productivity and cause us to miss out on achieving our goals. Even worse, when we procrastinate over a long period of time, we can become demotivated and disillusioned with our work, which can lead to stress, depression, and burnout.
Worth mentioning, procrastination is not laziness. Procrastination is an active process; we choose to do something else instead of the task that we know we should be doing. While procrastination is active, laziness, in contrast, suggests apathy, inactivity, and an unwillingness to act.