Procrastination - the worst "disease" of a freelancer

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In the era of more and more frequent civilization diseases, people are reluctant to admit them, bearing in mind either their universality or their shameful nature. Nobody talks honestly about allergies, because they are "sick mollusks" and an invention of civilization, and the truth is that those who struggle with this disease are not mollusks at all. Few also directly state that they are alcoholics, because alcoholism is not even a disease, "and the fact that I like to splash myself sometimes doesn't mean anything yet."

The same is true of procrastination, the notorious tendency to postpone certain things. As of today, taking into account its popularity, it can be boldly given the status of a disease, or even an epidemic, because it has affected everyone at least once in a lifetime. The "infected" is doomed to live with this uncomfortable virus, and if you do not see its symptoms yet, you can be sure that the seed is sprouting inside it, and it will eventually unfold with full force.

Of course, as with any social disease, no one admits to procrastinating, it is simply considered a symptom of laziness. Meanwhile, "untreated" can ruin someone's life, and freelancers who, plagued by this disease slowly lead to bankruptcy, know it best.

Symptoms

  • Internal fear of completing the task - the freelancer accepts the job and suddenly it starts to overwhelm him, he cannot focus on it, he sits for an hour in front of the computer and cannot think of anything, he begins to lose faith in himself and in his abilities. His motivation also disappears.
  • Paradoxical workaholism - contrary to appearances, a procrastinator is not lazy at all, on the contrary - he eagerly performs classes, but these, unfortunately, have nothing to do with the target task and usually do not require much mental effort, e.g. a freelancer-IT specialist instead of programming, starts making dinner .
  • Substitute task - a freelancer-procrastinator, delaying the execution of the task, looks for a replacement task with a similar level of difficulty. Let's say that he is commissioned to write an article, but at that time he prefers to proofread another text.
  • A thousand irrelevant things - before starting a task, or during its course, a thousand things that seem to be unimportant suddenly appear, however, distract the freelancer from the task. Let's say that a freelancer is a PR person and has to write a press release and instead of doing it, he looks at the weather for the next day, and while he is writing the text, suddenly he comes across a word that starts to wonder him, e.g. a Neanderthal, and checks it encyclopedia definition of the word, postponing the actual creation of a press release.
  • Many thoughts at once - when the procrastinator finally manages to get down to the task, hundreds of ideas appear in his mind, which he does not keep up with writing down, and then trying to recall them, he runs away from the merits, i.e. he does not focus on the right task again.
  • Nervousness - the procrastinator is irritated by the lack of inspiration, he blames everything around him, he is annoyed by friends who dare to stop his work, he is annoyed by noises outside the window that prevent him from focusing.
  • Guilt - the procrastinator sees his guilt in this process, notices that instead of focusing on the right job, he does a lot of unnecessary things. Then he begins to feel guilty, which completely robs him of his motivation.
  • Finding excuses - procrastinators often justify their actions - "I really didn't have the strength to do it today, tomorrow I will do twice as much for it". Except that the situation the next day usually repeats itself.
  • At the last minute - the freelancer-procrastinator is pushed against the wall anyway, performs the order under stress, as a result he cannot focus and does not finish it at all.
  • A strong resolve to improve - when the procrastinator fails a task, he promises himself that in the future he will never, but never allow such a situation to happen. This, of course, repeats itself shortly afterwards.

The reasons

The human psyche is twisted and still mysterious. Therefore, it is the source of procrastination, because it can be associated with personality disorders that prevent a person from performing the task entrusted to him, eg ADHD, depression, various types of phobias. Sometimes it also happens that it is procrastination that leads him to these disorders. However, these are extreme cases, let us now focus on cases of a smaller caliber.

  • Rat race - society, and especially the labor market, forces a person to have a certain life rush - "I must be first, I must be the best". Losing an order to a competitor causes an immediate loss of motivation in the freelancer procrastinator. So the cause is deeply in human nature.
  • Perfectionism - freelancers-procrastinators do not allow themselves to think that they could make a mistake, they are right. Therefore, they often prefer to postpone the task or not do it at all, to avoid a mistake.

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  • Rejection - the freelancer is afraid that the task he has completed will be criticized by the client, so he postpones it or gives it up altogether.
  • Loneliness - the procrastinator is often afraid that if he refuses his friends to go out for a beer, they will turn away from him and will not invite him again. Therefore, it decides to go out, even at the expense of labor.
  • Low self-esteem - some freelancers are helped by their low self-esteem and lack of confidence in their own talents and abilities in postponing tasks.
  • Success - it happens that procrastinators are afraid of success, they are afraid that it will lead to a chain of inconvenient events, i.e. competitors will get jealous and start to fight it, clients will make more demands on it, etc.
  • Compassion - sometimes the procrastinator with his "failing orders" tries to draw the attention of his relatives to be interested in him and sympathize with him.

Treatment

Curing procrastination is virtually impossible because it is deep inside you and is part of your way of being, but there are several ways that a freelancer can manage the disease.

  • Establishing a calendar / schedule - in order not to procrastinate, a freelancer must impose a rigor of a calendar in which he will have a detailed schedule for the day, e.g. today three articles, tomorrow two, on the weekend off. It will also prevent possible chaos from arising.
  • System of penalties and rewards - the procrastinator should set himself some penalties for delaying the execution of the order, e.g. if he does not proofread 10 pages today, he will not watch his favorite series tomorrow, because he will have to catch up. Similarly, if he does the job well, he will get a reward, e.g. a weekend trip to the mountains.
  • Of course, you can also reach for professional therapy from a psychologist and medications, but depressants increase the reluctance to act, and stimulants distract attention, so it is best to reach for these measures only when all the previous ones have failed and there are no more ways.

Procrastination especially concerns freelancers, because they do not have any top-down rigor imposed, and without external supervision it is easy to fall into total creative chaos, then it is difficult to mobilize yourself at all, because no one checks how you work, after all, the principals only wait for the result of your work .

Procrastination takes many forms, from mild to severe, with serious consequences. Taking the matter seriously is extremely important to help prevent a tragedy from happening. The procrastinator must realize in time that he is and take appropriate measures immediately. If the postponement of important tasks in time is periodic (i.e. it is finally done) and is done for other important matters, such as, for example, filling out a tax return, replying to outstanding business e-mails, etc., then there is no reason to be concerned. On the other hand, when procrastination takes a more dangerous form, namely a conflict with the law, constant loss of clients, companies, or even divorce, then you should look at it as soon as possible, because simple laziness is not that dangerous.