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Procrastination feels awful. And, it can also have terrible consequences. Procrastination behaviour is possible in any area of life: not going to your doctor or dentist appointments, not tidying up, not getting around to making that one phone call, not doing any of the jobs that need to be done at home, you name it.

The work you need to do for your dissertation is also very susceptible to procrastination.

In spite of the temptation to blame yourself, to tell yourself that you are lazy or have no discipline, don’t, as it will not help.  Neither does ruminating over the consequences of procrastination. These thoughts are in line with a classic misunderstanding about procrastination,  namely that procrastination is about not doing things.

Procrastination is about something completely different, particularly, it is about your emotions, explains Fuschia Sirois, a psychology professor at the University of Sheffield. She elaborates, you might show procrastination because you cannot deal with the negative emotions that go together with what you have to get done.

You exhibit procrastination because you do not like what we have to do or do not like the feeling that has to do with the task. For example, you may feel anxious, guilty or insecure about what to do. And those feelings make it very difficult to get started.

For example, imagine you feel insecure about writing an article or paper for a conference, you might not know exactly whether you know how to do it, let alone think that you really have something useful to write.

The solution for procrastination behaviour is therefore not in better planning or organisation or time management. Rather, you have to learn how to deal with those negative emotions in a different way.

What to do with procrastination?

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Ask yourself which feelings you have, which emotions you are experiencing. If you can recognise the emotions and discern them, then ask yourself how seriously you should take those emotions. Is it true that you do not know what to do? Can you ask for help? Is there something positive about going to work with that task? Or use this strategy,  leaving and understanding your emotions for what they are.

Try to treat yourself more nicely, and practice self-compassion or self-forgiveness. Meditation can also be a handy tool for improving on this.

Another tip is to get started with “the really simple way to get work done”

There are always multiple ways to deal with those tasks you can find most annoying.

Be careful about calling yourself lazy. You don’t really get anywhere by doing that. If you were really lazy, you would have no issue with not doing or completing things, and you certainly would not be reading this blog! 

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