Acute Procrastination Syndrome — and How to Cure It with 3 Tips
I’m often known for being interested in a topic or hobby for a short period of time and leaving several projects unfinished. If you face this too, then you are not alone. In this article, I will describe 3 key tips to avoiding this level of procrastination.
When it comes to craft hobbies, I always purchase necessary equipment, finish one sample, then tend to move on to another hobby.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, I believe I put enough effort to discover that these ideas are not worth pursuing.
This type of issue can be seen in many different levels, and is what I would call “Acute Procrastination Syndrome”.
Recently, I have noticed this in the number of drafts that have accumulated in my Medium account in Figure 1. This shows that I frequently delve into a topic, write a few key points about it, but usually do not complete an article about it.
To understand this problem, we need to break it down into the forces involved.
On one end, we want to finish a project. However, the project often appears too daunting for us to tackle, thus we leave it to a later time when we feel more ready to face it. This then repeats and the cycle of procrastination goes on indefinitely. This issue is also compounded by the number of different interests we have, which give more reason to leave other projects for another.
These are the key forces that lead to procrastination:
- The scope of a project is too big
- You have many things to work on, but do not know what to prioritize
- There is no urgent deadline for the project
In order to tackle these, the following tips are essential:
- Break down (quantize) the project into phases, and limit the scope. Once the phases of a project are identified, you can break it down further into standalone, relevant, bite-sized tasks. This will help you get over the initial procrastination barrier and consistently get you into a flow state. It will also help you continuously make progress, which encourages you further to complete the project. Taking the example of writing articles on Medium, I narrowed down the scope of the broad topics I had in mind by avoiding topics that I have no significant experience in.
- Learn how to prioritize among tasks using The Ranking Table Method I published earlier. I highly recommend reading through it and practicing this method a few times. It will help you identify what criteria is important to you and effectively prevent you from procrastinating critical tasks. Once you are familiar with this method, you can develop intuition for prioritization, which improves your productivity tenfold.
- Set your own deadlines for small tasks. By picking a small task, you can estimate how much time it takes more confidently than a big undefined project. For example, a small task may be to write a paragraph for a topic, which we can estimate to be doable in 15 minutes. By using this thought process, we can then schedule this task on our calendar as a 15-minute event and almost guarantee that we will make progress towards this project.
By identifying the forces that lead to procrastination, I have identified 3 important tips (quantization, prioritization, and setting deadlines) to tackle this problem. In this article, I have thoroughly described these tips and listed examples that show how these tips work in my own experience.
I hope these tips can help you eliminate procrastination. If so, please clap :)
If you have more ideas that you think can help, send me a message or comment down below!