• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Coping with procrastination in the family

Why Procrastination is Opportunity’s Assassin

Procrastination is a growing problem and it is a big deal in families. Homework engenders it in children and teenagers; accomplishing both short and long term projects in parents.

For the increasing numbers of those working from home especially those who own their own businesses, getting ahead with projects rather than doing other things is a perennial problem. However, a psychological study traces this habit to patterns of family nurture. According to a recent review of the problem, procrastination is best defined as “delaying the beginning or completion of an intended course of action.” It always entails an irrational delay, against people’s will.

Almost everyone sometimes puts off tasks they do not relish, but procrastinators are allergic to them. Non-procrastinators might take on undesired jobs first to get them out of the way; for procrastinators, by contrast, the worse the task the later it is left. No one much likes tasks where the reward is distant, but procrastinators run a mile.

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However, most parents believe procrastination is a young person’s vice but what they have failed to understand is that they are equally neck-deep in it.

Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, actress says that procrastination is a vice she finds it difficult to get over. “I procrastinate a lot too,” she tells one of the callers on her radio programme. I’ve tried all I could to stop this but I find it difficult to do this. I’m still trying hard at it all the same.”

Like Aofiyebi-Raimi, nearly all procrastinators wish they aren’t. They perform worse in exams or at work as a result. It can have serious practical consequences even on the tax system and other major projects as people often postpone going to the bank to pay their tax. It is also a significant cause of major illness when procrastinators put off going to the doctor until it is too late.

“Four out of five procrastinators feel worse after doing so, suffering guilt, with some feeling severely depressed about it,” says a psychologist. “They tend to suffer low self-esteem or lack of self-confidence. Equally, procrastinators are often anxious types who are made more so by their vice.”

Many have a tendency to self-handicap, explains Seun Adigun, a counselor, creating external obstacles that hinder good performance: to protect self-esteem, they create real difficulties that can be blamed for their subsequent failure. They are usually reacting against parents who were overcontrolling and intrusive. “Their core problem may be that they do not feel that what they are doing is for them but for their parents. Having been hijacked from a young age, they have often been channelled into activities at work or play that do not truly reflect their passions: procrastinating is their way of telling hated parents to get lost,” she says.

Adigun explains that there are two varieties of procastinators. The first is basically chaotic, with low ambitions. They are impulsive, lack persistence and conscientiousness, are bad at planning and have disorganised, short-term thinking, with poor emotional self-regulation. The other sort may be so over-conscientious and perfectionist that they dare not act. They are often determinedly rebellious, disliking any external schedules imposed on them. They may also be hostile, angry, disagreeable people who use procrastination to mess other people about – evacuating their own misery into others.

However, it seems procrastination is growing. This may be because the last years have seen an increase in the proportion of people who are pursuing parentally and socially prescribed goals. A motivational speaker advises that to protect your children from developing it, try to help them to do their homework because it interests them, not because of your ambitions for them.

ANNE AGBAJE