Tips To Beat Procrastination By An IIM Ahmedabad Student And A 99.87%iler
Is there some half-baked idea you’ve been sitting on? Someplace you’ve been meaning to visit? Some piece of work you’ve been trying to finish? Thinking that you will get to it..thinking that there is ample time.
Everyone procrastinates – it is a common weakness of human nature!
What I am here to say is that there is so much you can learn from just observing when and why it happens. You will notice three commonalities in the tasks we tend to procrastinate:
1. The task causes physical discomfort (think of exercising or cleaning up your room or sitting down to practice DL-LR sets),
2. The task requires mental focus (say finishing a project, sending out an e-mail, updating your resume), and
3. You get easily distracted from the task
Observe how these affect us in that present moment and overpower our senses with an availability bias. This is what makes most of us switch to a less rigorous task.
The problem is that we know we should not procrastinate – we only know. A mere acknowledgement of not doing something doesn’t keep us from acting on it. We do not possess the full comprehension of why we procrastinate. There’s a difference between waiting-it-out and procrastination. Making the latter a habit is not very rewarding.
The bright side, though, is that we are not incapable of fighting procrastination – we’re just unwilling! That’s where the solution lies – a) show a willingness to begin, and b) begin (for even 10 minutes!). Persisting through this 2-step solution, no matter how difficult, will induce and inspire real willingness to continue.
I’d like to close with a paragraph to give a sort of motivation to all the CAT aspirants. This is taken from a book ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ written by Adam Smith. It’s a beautifully articulated passage themed on the principle of approbation of virtues:
“When for the sake of the present, therefore, we sacrifice the future, our conduct appears to him (the spectator) absurd and extravagant in the highest degree, and he cannot enter into the principles which influence it. On the contrary, when we abstain from present pleasure, in order to secure greater pleasure to come, when we act as if the remote object interested us as much as that which immediately presses upon the senses, as our affections exactly correspond with his own, he cannot fail to approve of our behavior: and as he knows from experience, how few are capable of this self-command, he looks upon our conduct with an eminent esteem with which all men naturally regard a steady perseverance in the practice of frugality, industry, and application, though directed to no other purpose than the acquisition of fortune. The resolute firmness of the person who acts in this manner, and in order to obtain a great though remote advantage, not only gives up all present pleasures but endures the greatest labour both of mind and body, necessarily commands our approbation. That view of his interest and happiness which appears to regulate his conduct exactly tallies with the idea which we naturally form of it. There is a perfect correspondence between his sentiments and our own, and at the same time, from our experience of the weakness of human nature, it is a correspondence which we could not reasonably have expected.”
I wish you an active week!
Akshita Agarwal is a student at IIM Ahmedabad PGP class of 2017-2019. She scored 99.87%ile in CAT 2016 and bagged final admission offers from IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, and IIM Lucknow. She worked as a business analyst at ZS for 2yrs and graduated from BITS Pilani in 2015. You can find her blogs on CAT preparation here.