Procrastination is a dangerous concept in modern society, and it’s a Latin term for postponing commitments, the one when your promise yourself to study – only after taking a walk, playing a game, and maybe taking a look at that new episode that aired last night.

We experience procrastination when we lose sight of long-term goals and instead focus on attractive short-term endeavors.

Two types of delaying

Avoiding procrastination can prove challenging. It is important to distinguish between different types of postponements and distractions. There is so-called dysfunctional procrastination that leads to long term problems – a person loses focus, never does what they’re supposed to and suffers because of it, but fails to change anything.

There is also functional procrastination, where delaying work can be seen as taking “mini-breaks.” For example, making coffee or doing the dishes. Even if the tasks are boring, the subconscious desire to delay becomes even stronger the more you do them.

Plan everything ahead

There are tricks you can use to resist procrastination. One of the most important is to formulate clear intentions and rules. For example, you could tell yourself: when I get home, I immediately put on my jogging clothes and go for a run. Be as specific as possible and organize work during the time of day when you are the most productive.

It also helps to protect yourself against attractive alternatives. So instead of working from home and walking to the fridge every now and then, you could sit in a cafe or some other place where those distractions aren’t available. Look for ways to remove distractions by leaving your phone, which is probably the biggest of them all, in another room, so that it’s not within your reach.

The most important step is to be aware that you’re procrastinating and to eliminate the biggest obstacles. However, try to have a realistic expectation as this is one of the most difficult habits to root out.

About the Author

Milica Madić, freelance blog/article writer from Serbia, with experience in teaching and working with young learners.