Procrastination can work in your favour at times

Procrastination often gets a bad rap, but experts feel that it’s not always bad for you. (Istock)

The exam season is coming up, which means you’ll see two kinds of students out and about — the ones already halfway prepared, and the ones delaying things until they absolutely have to study. Those who fall in the latter group are usually called ‘procrastinators’.

Procrastination often gets a bad rap, but experts feel that it’s not always bad for you. Dr Kersi Chavda,consultant in psychiatric medicine, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, Khar(W), says, “There has been a lot of research to find out if procrastination could have any benefits, and the results are positive. Procrastination is supposed to allow creativity to flow and help unleash the subconscious.”

Experts also say procrastination gives you more time to evaluate a problem. Taking time to gather as much information as you can before getting to work on an assignment lets you better understand exactly what needs to be done and what the situation at hand needs.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLE69yTBGc7/embed/captioned/?v=7While a lot of people are natural at putting things off for later, there are many who have to learn to procrastinate. Neeta V Shetty,clinical psychotherapist, Blissful Mind Therapy Centre, Wadala, says, “I know of several people who discovered that their greatest potential is harnessed when they do things at the last minute. This is because our brains trigger a fight-or-flight response to the situation. The resulting adrenaline rush gives you a boost and you end up focusing 100% on the task. Such people tend to work at the last minute because they’re sure they will do a better job in such circumstances.”

However, procrastination can be detrimental if it gets out of hand. “If your to-do list is growing and the amount of actual work done is shrinking, that’s a good indicator that you should get going and avoid further delays,” says Namrata Dagia, clinical psychologist,The Illuminating Zone, Kandivili (W).

Another way to find out if you’re procrastinating too much is when people close to you start dropping hints, raise the issue or talk to you about upcoming deadlines. “If your partner, parents or friends are telling you that you have missed a deadline, pause and consider. It usually takes a lot for loved ones to criticise you, and if they do, it means you have missed more than a few deadlines, and they are concerned,” says Shetty.

Dagia adds, “Excessive procrastination can result in greater pressure to get the work done. It might also lead to higher stress and anxiety, which can only make the situation worse.”

Dagia adds, “Excessive procrastination can result in greater pressure to get the work done. It might also lead to higher stress and anxiety, which can only make the situation worse.”

How to master procrastination?

1. Procrastinate, but within a set time frame. Set a one- or two-day limit. For example, if you’ve got an important test coming up, tell yourself that you will start studying at least two days before your deadline.

2. Procrastination should never be an excuse to disrespect deadlines, because the “Due tomorrow? Do tomorrow” mantra rarely works.

3. Don’t exhaust yourself in the ‘waiting period’, which is when you know when the deadline is, but it’s too far off to bother you. If you’re sapped of all energy by the time you actually get to work, everything will be harder, as you will be tired physically and mentally.

4. Take a look at the times you achieved your goals and compare them with when you failed to meet a target just due to procrastination. Discipline yourself to stick to schedules.

When not to stall?

Procrastination does not work in several areas where regular commitment is essential. For example, joining a gym would be useless if you keep delaying your workouts.

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Tips to help deal with procrastination

1. Manage your time: Draw up a list of priorities and stick to it. Learn time management techniques and create a schedule.

2. Set goals: This might take some time to master. Begin by setting small, practical and achievable goals and work your way towards bigger goals.

3. Motivators: Ask your family or friends to be your motivators. Keep them in the loop about your ‘list’ and make it clear that you need their support and motivation to cultivate discipline.

4. Be positive: Surround yourself with positive people and be optimistic. Positivity goes a long way in helping you stay energised and confident about your ability to meet your goals.

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