At the start of the pandemic, more than anything else, I was excited — excited for utilizing time to become a better me. I had enlisted a large number of books that I had planned on reading during the lockdown. I had laid down plans to complete the long-overdue projects and strike off every single thing that I had been postponing over the years because of lack of time.
But obviously, it didn’t work out that way. I did accomplish striking off a few good things from the to-do list, but the majority of tasks remain yet to be completed.
Hours stretched into days, days turned into weeks which swooshed by as months. With more than half the year gone, I sometimes wonder
Could I have done any better, given the current circumstances?
Looking back I realize that there were moments when even simple tasks felt like the most difficult ones on the list. It may be because of a lack of motivation, or maybe the crisis that hasn’t left my thoughts since the start of the year that deterred me from accomplishing my small goals.
Or it could be my behavioural procrastination that has resurfaced again.
If it all boils down to procrastination, then can we fight it as social distancing becomes the new normal? Most importantly, how do we identify the factors which are dimming us into this oblivion like state?
Let’s have a look at four possible reasons behind our persistent procrastination habit.
The Added Stress
With the pandemic breathing down our neck, refusing to leave us — we are experiencing the kind of stress most of us never experienced before. Social distancing, taking care of each other, lost jobs, rising inflation, surviving the aftermath of a loss of any kind — all of it has added to the distress.
Often this anxiety leads us to the idea of perfectionism which in turn transforms into procrastination.
We as humans dislike the idea of taking risks in the thoughts that we’ll mess up. Instead, we love the idea of being perfect and delivering perfectionism.
We fail to understand that procrastination feeds on these collective thoughts causing us to slack.
Lack of Work Catalysts
Working from home can be frustratingly dull. Even weekends are not very exciting or happening anymore.
Additionally, the time for commute being at our disposal has left us scratching our heads — thinking about how to efficiently use it. The traditional commute would mentally prepare us before showing up at work. It almost set a fixed time period between which we were in our ‘work mode’.
But now, sitting on the kitchen counter with the laptop and a mug of coffee brewed from the coffee machine at a distance of less than a feet does not buffer the work process. Instead, it as a huge demotivating factor.
With so many things — the pandemic, fear of being infected with the virus, extra precautions at every step, international affairs — happening at the same time, most people have taken a step back.
We have once again started reconsidering what matters to us this time. With shifting priorities and an impending doom looming our way, we have started focusing on more pressing matters at hand.
The anxiety levels skyrocketing because of external factors have caused most people to feel lesser pressured because of work: hence lower motivation to get work done.
If anything has caused major damage to our mental health and has pushed us into binging procrastination — it is the lack of social interactions.
Lack of instant feedback and detachment from the spirit of work has contributed to low motivation in the majority of cases. Additionally, virtual interactions feel less emotionally attached as compared to personal interactions.
This has also caused a lot of people to live in their heads at all times — causing devastating effects on the mental health of the infected and uninfected individuals alike.
Added stresses, lack of motivation, shifting priorities and social distancing — all have contributed to our procrastination in some way or the other day.
With the pandemic stretching longer than expected, there is uncertainty even in our working conditions. How long will we be working like this? More importantly, is our procrastination justified, despite the reasons?
I do not know the answers to either of the questions. But if there is one thing I have learnt from my observation and insatiable reading in the past few months, it is that you and I — we are not alone.
We are still trying to work to make our ends meet, in our own ways.
If it’s any consolation — we are at least not lazy.