Procrastination: the Subtle Act of Regret

Delaying, postponing and putting off an activity and/or thought: procrastination as we call it, is most times an intentional act, and it has become an habit for many.

Procrastination is different from forgetting to do something. It is deliberate. It is an action done consciously.

When there’s a task for you to do: from making your bed to placing a call to a friend, your mind would definitely remind you. But Procrastination is that act of shifting important matters to when you think would be convenient for you. The unfortunate thing is that the convenient time would most likely never come.

Postponing important matters for later is to live in a world of delusion, and this is very dangerous.

You could make yourself believe that you don’t have to strongly go after whatever is yours, even though you read books and went to college to get knowledge, you didn’t sleep at home and expect knowledge to fly to you…

It’s alright to make yourself believe that, but the truth is that:

Procrastination could delay or totally deny you of success! It seems subtle but it is very dangerous.

Procrastination could push you till you fail to take a step which you would regret for the rest of your life.

There are so many stories I could tell you to buttress my point but the one that easily comes to mind is the story of Faith, a friend of mine who lost someone so dear to her without even getting to pray for him or say goodbye!

Faith met John shortly after high school. They got so close that they would talk for hours on the phone, and on some occasions, they would sleep off while still talking to each other. Faith and John even planned to write the entrance examination into the same tertiary institution.

What a strong bond. But the question that comes to mind is that, despite the bond between them, how did John pass away and Faith didn’t even have the slightest idea that John was sick?!

Procrastination, yes, you guessed right. Waiting for the convenient time to check on John was what lead to this.

There was a time when John wasn’t as active as he used to, and even though Faith felt the need to place a call to check up on him, she let procrastination get the best of her that to spare a minute of 24hours to dial John’s phone number seemed like a burden to Faith!

“I’ll call him.” She kept saying.

While John was suffering and battling cancer, fighting for his life. His dear friend was battling with whether to call him or not!

Procrastination made Faith keep believing that there would be a perfect and convenient time to call John until she got a strange call announcing the death of John!

What a loss. John’s death tore Faith apart…

But even though Faith would always live with the guilt, she learnt a great lesson from this and changed her ways. She now has good habits that fights against her habit of waiting for the convenient time to do things.

Are you also battling procrastination? Then you don’t have to wait till you learn the hard way like Faith. You can get better now by implementing some of the things Faith did and still does.

1. Acknowledgment

Just as Faith acknowledged the fact that it was procrastination that got the best of her, She didn’t blame it on the fact that she was busy preparing for exams. She didn’t say it was because she had no call credit to place a call to John. You should do the same.

The first step to fighting any problem is to accept that you indeed have the problem. Denial would lead you to destruction and depression very fast. It would deprive you of solutions.

So, acknowledge that it’s procrastination that made you lose that Job, that opportunity, that relationship. It’s the one that made you fail to complete that task.

It’s doesn’t make you look weak. It only means you’re Human like the rest of us.

You’re not the problem, procrastination is and you can win over it. But you’d only win when you recognize and acknowledge it. You can fight it but only when you call it out.

{Read: How to Handle Procrastination}

2. Make to-do lists

Trust me, this still works. But don’t make it super long and unrealistic, that would only lead to more frustration.

Keep it real and simple. Include only the most important things.

You can write it in the order of importance, so that if somehow you still couldn’t meet up, you’d at least have executed the most important task(s).

Also, because the human mind likes to be rewarded for every task, you can use this to lure it to work. Promise yourself a reward after you complete a task. When you check a task on your to do list, reward yourself.

For example, you want to do 30 push-ups. Tell yourself that “once I do this, I would watch a movie.” This would help your mind and body stay active the whole time knowing it has something to gain after it completes the task.

Be disciplined with it though. If the goal is 30 push-ups and you did only 10 or even 29, don’t watch that movie. If you did the 30 push-ups successfully though, don’t sit all day watching movies. The reward is just to watch a movie, and not movies. Well, do basically whatever works for you but don’t overdo it.

3. Monitor your growth

Keep tabs on how much you learnt in a day. Celebrate how much you’ve achieved and done in past weeks. Because sometimes, we get carried away with doing so much that we neglect and forget how much and how well we’ve actually done.

Monitoring your growth would remind you of how much you’ve tried and how much effort you’ve put into getting better.

It also helps to know if you’re not doing so well. It helps you know when to move faster and harder, and when to relax

4. Be accountable

No matter how much you discipline yourself and everything, there would still be times when your mind would shut down. Times when procrastination would fight you back to ‘take its place.’

That’s why you need people: sincere friends and/or loved ones that when they call you and ask “how far have you gone?” And you say: “I’ve not done much.” They would chastise you constructively, reminding you that your mind is to control your body and not the other way round. Find People that would keep you in check.

Or you can just say: “I’ll never postpone anything again.” Only that it would only be very hard and might just turn out to be a lie because even the best of us still fight with procrastination. But with these methods highlighted, you can get better.

By being committed and consistent to beat Procrastination daily, you would improve and your life and people around you would thank you for it.

Your body loves the reward of good habits but it never wants to go through the process of building them.
You have to use your mind to trick your body into action. You have to own it. You have to be deliberate about it.
It’s hard work, I won’t lie to you, but it’s worth it.

{Read: The Act of Self-discipline}

Because, in Faith’s word: procrastination is a killer of time. You won’t always have all the time in the world. There won’t always be ‘enough’ time on your side. Nothing is worth postponing.

You can more about procrastination here

Story by: Ifeoluwa Oyegbite

How do you deal with procrastination? I’ll love to hear from you in the comments. You can also share this with a friend who needs it.


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