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When it comes to procrastination, we all have a story to tell, especially if you are in or have gone through medical school. You must have procrastinated at least once in your lifetime. However, I can confidently say I’m not a procrastinator. Procrastination has held captive most of us; knowingly and unknowingly.
Jane B. Burka, PhD and Lenora M. Yuen PhD in their book ‘PROCRASTINATION’ explain some of the reasons why people procrastinate and the neuroscience behind procrastination. Some of these reasons include:

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1. Fear of failure

In this case, you’re probably looking for perfection. It is important to know that perfect is not always Excellent and Excellence doesn’t always come out of perfection. If anything the only way you will know if you failed or not is if you tried.

When you are looking for perfection your greatest fear is failure and as a result you keep postponing whatever you are supposed to do. Eventually, you have very little time left and you end up doing it in a hurry. If you are lucky enough to not fail, you survive the consequences of imperfect results. If not, you have to endure and sail through the consequences.

In most cases the real consequences are manageable. the other category is imagined consequences. If it involved your boss, you’ll probably start worrying about what they think about you and with time, your productivity dwindles and so you become a chronic procrastinator because you have imagined a lot about your ability, what others think about you. Some people end up losing their jobs because of this.

2. Fear of success

Growing up you may have or may have not experienced this. I did. Fear of success is mostly externally induced, for example when you are always on top of your class or just always doing your homework in time. Your teachers will be proud of you, mentioning you all the time. However, your popularity among your peers is threatened. You start losing friends for being the smart kid. With time, for you to fit in, you start failing on purpose. You stop doing your assignments in time just to be accepted. Slowly, you’re becoming a procrastinator that you never were.

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3. The battle for control and autonomy

Most of us don’t like deadlines. Especially those set by someone else. As a way of protesting, we procrastinate. An example is when say for example you have Monday as a deadline. Because you don’t like being controlled, you decide you will do your assignment on Tuesday. If your supervisor accepts it on Tuesday, you feel powerful. If the deadline is extended, some people feel justified. What these people don’t realize is that they’re cultivating a habit that can be and is very detrimental to their career/education or whatever it is they’re dealing with.

4. Fear of separation and fear of intimacy

Some people will just procrastinate doing stuff because they don’t think they can do it without someone else’s help. It could be a guardian or the bright kid in class. Others, will procrastinate to avoid intimacy. To them, the habit of not doing things in time has created a pattern that allows them to believe they’re within a bubble that if they did anything in time, it could pop the bubble.

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5. Objective time and subjective time

Objective time is time defined by the clocks and calendars while subjective time is “event time”. If you plan to do things based on subjective time, chances are very high you’ll be late. For example, if you’re planning to do your assignment after cleaning the house, it doesn’t matter what clock time you’ll clean the house as far as you are concerned. If your assignment is due at 3.00pm and you start cleaning the house at 2.00pm… it goes without saying, you’ll be late. Most procrastinators use subjective time.

Others: Attention deficit disorders, anxiety disorders, effects of stress, biological rhythms such as sleep debt and sleep apnea and other medical conditions contribute to procrastination.

Part two of the book talks about how to overcome procrastination and I’d be willing to share some highlights in the next article. In the meantime, you can grab yourself a copy.

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Faith Kurgat January 27, 2020 at 7:01 pm

Amazing 👌

PROCRASTINATION II: MANAGING PROCRASTINATION - The Medical Hub March 10, 2020 at 5:16 am



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