There is a growing epidemic among us…the disease of procrastination. We all do it, probably without even realizing it. For some it has become almost second nature. I have suffered from this malady on more than one occasion. Handling the tenancy to procrastinate can be quite the feat, but it does not have to be. Realizing why we procrastinate is the first step in treating this affliction.
The list of things we may procrastinate about is endless, but the reason is always the same: We don’t enjoy subjecting ourselves to things we consider unpleasant. The desire to procrastinate is a coping mechanism of our unconscious mind that prevents us from feeling pain. So when we don’t want to do something it’s because our brain associates that task with pain. That said, procrastinators fall into five different categories:
The thrill-seeker who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
“…If you’re a thrill-seeker, then you procrastinate because you actually get a rush from completing things last minute. You feel that you thrive under pressure and you love the adrenaline you get from handing in work in the last possible minute. But are you accomplishing your full potential when you’re spending so little time on your projects?” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog (Follow her on Twitter)
“…Who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog
The Indecisive Procrastinator
“…The Indecisive Procrastinator simply can’t make a decision. Usually, this is a result of the fear they will be blamed for a negative outcome. This type of procrastinator runs away from responsibility. After all, if they’re not making a decision, the result won’t be their fault.” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog
“…Perfectionists set such high standards for themselves that they become overwhelmed. This type of procrastinator might even get started on work, which the other kinds of procrastinators usually have a hard time doing, but they fail to finish when they can’t meet the unrealistic expectations they set for themselves.
Because they can’t do something perfectly, then nothing gets done at all. Cue cycle of anxiety and shame.” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog
The busy Procratinator
“…Busy procrastinators are just too busy to actually get down to the bottom of their to-do list. Everything seems equally important and they can’t decide what to do first. Choosing only one task would mean that the others won’t get done. Just like in the case of the Perfectionist, the Busy Procrastinator might actually start some of her work, but will fail to finish it. What this type of procrastinator needs is a big dose of prioritizing.” Alina Vrabie, Sandglaz Blog
Which one are you? Perhaps a combination of all five? The most common type of procrastinator is the avoider. This little bugger is the voice inside your head with seductive distractions that steer you away from the task at hand. These distractions pulls us into what we call the “comfort zone.” The comfort zone is safe haven away, or retreat, from all unpleasant tasks.
How do we get back in control of ourselves and our time? In comes the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo (he named his technique after a tomato shaped kitchen timer). The Pomodoro Technique breaks down work into 25 minute intervals with a 5 minute reward period. These breaks are known as “pomodori”, the plural of the Italian word pomodoro for “tomato”. This method is great if you are a obsessively-compulsive-perfectionist- procrastinator like me. This method works wonders for your productivity!
Sounds pretty rad right? But how do we implement it? Well ladies and gents I present to you the Pomodoro Technique :
- Identify a task to be accomplished.
- Set your Pomodoro timer to 25 minutes
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings
- Take a 5 minute break
- Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break (10-15 minutes)
How to get started with the Pomodoro Technique:
All you really need is a timer. Any timer will do, a phone, or web app will suffice. I found a neat timer called Tomato Timer. It’s pretty simple and offers desktop notifications (in Chrome only), which is handy little tool for us developers! *Does a happy dance off in the distance*