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Procrastination to Motivation (Regulate your emotions)

You Procrastinate Because Of Emotions, Not Laziness. Regulate Them To Stop Procrastinating!

There are two trains of thought – One leads to procrastination and one leads to motivation. And somewhere in between, there is a junction called anxiety.

Procrastination train of thought:

  • People procrastinate or avoid aversive tasks to improve their short-term mood at the cost of long-term goals.
  • Procrastination is not a time management problem. It is an emotion regulation problem - we delay activities which might make us feel not-so-good.
  • Procrastination is not laziness. Humans procrastinate because of poor emotional regulation about the outcome of tasks.
  • In short, we often procrastinate because of perceived anxiety, stress, and poor emotional regulation about the completion of a task.
  • Perceived anxieties make us feel ‘not so good.’
  • The aversion activity is a mechanism to avoid or delay the anxiety and repair the short-term negative mood.
  • Habits like procrastination are a reaction to the idea of completing a task. 

I'm so stressed that relaxing makes me more stressed because l'm not working on what's making me stressed.

Motivation train of thought

The fact that there are consequences for procrastinating is a source of anxiety and stress in itself. This could motivate you to not procrastinate in the first place. But that doesn’t always happen. The motivation could stay in the background or it could even push you toward your goal. However, the anxiety remains until it is dealt with.

Procrastination + Motivation = Conflict + Action

Solutions for overcoming procrastination
  • Address the perceived anxiety about the completion of a task. You know it’s there but it might not be in awareness. So you might have to dig and address your feelings first.
  • Use the popular Pomodoro Technique to gain control over your tasks and relieve the pressure from some associated anxiety. 

You can avoid procrastination by dealing with it like its a habit. Focus your willpower on The Cue and create a plan to change your reaction to the task. You have the control to rewire your brain and thus, form new beneficial habits.

Remember: Procrastination happens when your brain thinks that the consequence of doing your task is a painful experience. And thus, it tries to avoid it.

Feel free to share your thoughts in comments below.