I grew up in a large family. Virtually all our neighbors had large families too. I had several older and younger siblings some of which I disagreed with from time to time, but generally we were closely knit. Despite the size of the family, our parents didn’t hire any house help. Only a babysitter when necessary, but all other household chores and yard work were done by us. They really loved us but were tough. All our pleas for a house help fell on deaf years. To ensure that everybody got their fair share of the chores, mom made a weekly duty roaster. It was this document that later revealed our true nature on procrastination.
I resented yard work and household chores from a very early age. My delight was in reading books. I was greatly captivated by the thousands of stories that lay enclosed in those covers waiting to thrill anyone who so cared to read them. Whenever my turn came to handle those kinds of duties, I would feel like someone had put a huge load of rocks on my back. I would drag my feet and grow weary even before I started. My mood would change for the worse. I had no idea where this negative attitude came from but somehow it always reared its ugly head on such occasions. I would keep on postponing the duty till the very last minute and then grudgingly accomplish it. Absconding from duty was out of question because mom was a no-nonsense woman.
My older brothers were worse than me. They would fake some kind of sickness at the eleventh hour and totally avoid the task but eventually their big mouth would do them in. Whenever my parents were away, a couple of them would bully me into handling their tasks while they played with their video games. I gave in to their demands several times but decided to put an end to the trend when it started getting out of hand. The next time they tried their dirty game; I declined to tag along and made my stand very clear. I had teeth that bit like a piranha and I put them to use whenever they got physical with me. My defense tactic worked like a charm.
I always wondered whether there was a practical way of avoiding procrastination. The causes of procrastination are still a huge topic of debate up to today but it has been closely linked to anxiety, low self-esteem and a self-defeating mentality. These situations regularly lead one to replace high-priority tasks with engagements of lower priority. Alternatively, the affected would find themselves putting aside important tasks and engaging in others that elicit much enjoyment or greater pleasure. Some procrastinators do it because knowingly or unknowingly, they are ill-prepared for the tasks at hand and fear the results of their efforts or are lazy, poorly motivated, disorganized, are pursuing perfectionism or don’t enjoy the activity at all.
What many don’t know is that procrastinating has numerous causes and the specific cause vary for each individual. Most of these causes are interwoven to one another and many of them have to be properly addressed before one can successfully kick the habit. Unless checked, this habitual putting off of tasks continues for a good while and leads to great levels of stress, feelings of failure and worthlessness. Setting realistic goals and expectations is integral to success. It takes a lifetime to get to where one is today in procrastination hence, it isn’t something that’s going to be fixed overnight; but it is something that can be fixed. All one needs is utmost dedication and willingness to try something new. Whenever the walk gets tiring, always remember that nothing is as fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.