Filipinos procrastinate not because they don’t want to do anything. Procrastination is not a product of laziness. I know many procrastinators who work hard. I will offer a quick explanation and a simple fix too.
In another article, I talked about Mañana Habit and the five ways to fix it. I strongly suggest that you read it too and send me an email if you have anything to add. It is good to share our knowledge. I also wrote about ways to overcome procrastination.
The easiest thing to do is to give you a solution. Most of my readers are here for a solution. And you can get five or seven fixes from me.
But these solutions are band-aids. You need to understand the reasons behind procrastination and other things that make us do what we do not want to do.
Ningas Kugon and Procrastination
Ningas Kugon is a trait that many Filipinos share. They begin working with full excitement and enthusiasm but are unable to finish what they start. They tend to jump from one activity to another.
On the other hand, we often lament that our politicians do not have a sense of urgency. They tend to do things very late, usually before the next election. But this is also a trait shared by many Filipinos. They wait until the 11th hour. They cram.
When I was a new teacher, I assigned projects two or three weeks ahead. The projects can be done in less than three hours. But I want to give students the “freedom” to budget their time.
But often, they had to ask for a time extension. Students reasoned that they have many things to do and had not had enough time. I extended the deadline for submission. Still, they crammed. They had to do the project at the 11th hour.
How I wished I knew how ningas kugon and procrastination worked together to sabotage the performance of my students.
Just do it.
Just do it is a bit of good advice. A shoe brand popularized it. A superstar basketball player made the line famous that most of us accepted “just do it” without question.
I used the slogan too. When people are afraid to start something, I told them to just do it.
But the problem of Ningas Kugon is not that Filipinos are afraid to start a project. In fact, they can start something without a plan and an idea of how to finish it. The problem is how to finish a project.
Not all who procrastinate have problems starting something. Many of us can start a project with full enthusiasm, we slow down, do something else, and stop doing the project. Again, the problem is how to finish the project.
We have an execution problem.
I will talk about Ningas Kugon in detail some other time. I injected the idea to show that the answer to a procrastination problem is not always “just do it”. In fact, many procrastinators are busy bees. They keep telling themselves “just do it” while doing one thing after another. They keep them busy doing 99 things while delaying the execution of the one thing they need to do.
Did you get that? They do 99 to delay doing the one important thing.
Procrastinators are busy people. They do many things so that they can find justifications for not doing the one thing that must be done.
Our brains trick us.
Our lizard brain is a great deceiver. You and I can easily be deceived if we measure our day based on the number of activities we do.
Our lizard brains avoid doing what they deemed to be difficult and challenging.
For example, most of us avoid speaking on stage because we deemed it a performance. Public speaking is performance. And unless we believe that we have what it takes to speak in front of people, we avoid it.
A manager who was given the assignment to speak will think about the project for days. He will spend sleepless nights thinking about the possibility of mediocre performance. But the actual preparation happens in the 11th hour.
Then, on the day of the engagement, he goes to the stage. The first he’d say is that he is not prepared (true) and he is not good at it (maybe).
Our lizard brain avoids greatness because many of us believe that greatness is not achievable.
Never mind that greats tell us to make things simple.
The bad effects of procrastination.
I experienced the bad effects of procrastination. Later, I will give you my “simple solutions”. Use them to finish your projects and to grow yourself.
Here are some of the bad effects of procrastination.
- unnecessary stress and anxiety
- poor work quality
- missed opportunities
- unaswered client inquiries (costly)
- unfinished books
- unfinished courses
- admired persons I was not able to meet (they’re dead now).
(to be continued)