Procrastination is a tendency to keep postponing the important work and spending your time on meaningless activities just that you don’t have to do that important work while feeling that you’re doing something important. It becomes a greater problem if you are self-employed or a freelancer and your entire livelihood depends on your ability to do the needful on time, whether you like it or not.
Procrastination does not mean laziness and it is not something that has cropped up due to the onslaught of distractions of the Internet. Some even like to term it as “habitual hesitation” and references to these problems can be found even in the ancient Greek texts (“do not put your work off till tomorrow and the day after” – Hesiod, around 800 BC).
This problem is not just restricted to professional work. People procrastinate when they are studying, when they need to pay their bills, when they need to run important errands and what have you.
Although the general misconception regarding procrastination is that it is not very harmful and people eventually do what they need to do, it is known to cause health problems such as a weaker immune system, depression and low self-esteem and constant financial mismanagement. It even wreaks havoc in interpersonal relationships. Then why do people indulge in it? As mentioned above, it’s a historical problem and most people don’t even realize how serious a problem it is.
This blog post on Buffer.com suggests a “2-Minute Rule”. Isn’t it very easy to do something just for two minutes even if you’re not feeling like doing it? Even if you plan to postpone an important project, just spend two minutes on it.
It’s like, you want to start jogging? /Put on your jogging shoes and just go out and jog for a couple of minutes.
Want to eat healthy? Eat fruits and raw vegetables just for two minutes. Want to start meditating? Just meditate for two minutes. Want to work on that difficult project but somehow you keep postponing it? Just work on it for two minutes.
You must be wondering what sort of difference it is going to make. Keep in mind that in the beginning it’s not about the difference, but developing a schedule. Procrastination is not about not doing something; it is about not starting something. So in the beginning don’t worry about how much pounds you’re going to lose. Worry about going for a jog just for a couple of minutes everyday.
2 minutes is very easy so it doesn’t even seem daunting and you don’t even feel, well, you could have been doing something else, something more enjoyable, something more entertaining. Everybody can take out two minutes out of their busy or entertaining schedule. Even if you’re watching TV, you can pause for a couple of minutes and do the needful.
Then gradually you will start noticing that you’re spending more time than two minutes. Maybe you are eating your fruits for four minutes, or five minutes and you are jogging for 10 minutes. Maybe one day you jog for 30 minutes and the next day you don’t want to jog at all. This happens. There are peaks and there are troughs. The trick is sticking to your two-minute schedule. Even if one day you can jog for 30 minutes and the next day you don’t feel like moving out, just go out for two minutes. Gradually you will realize that your habit of procrastination is waning away and you are in better control of yourself.