Medically, a syndrome is a group of symptoms that consistently occur together in a condition. That is, these symptoms are almost always seen together when the medical condition is present and their presence can thus, be used to confirm that the medical condition is present.
But this term soon became more widely used even beyond the medical concept. A syndrome could then be seen as any given set of concurrent things such as emotions, behavior, or actions that form an identifiable pattern. And right about now, we are going to look at the procrastination syndrome.
This procrastination syndrome is rightly called a syndrome because it soon forms a well identifiable pattern or habit that may become really unproductive.
Procrastination, thus, is not one of those medical syndromes you will see in health-related literature but its effects on human development both at home and at work are equally deleterious. Hence, the need to talk about plus one syndrome.
I coined this name "the plus one syndrome" from the usual birthday plus one when people sing or say to mean that they just became a year older on their birthday. But in this case, plus one will not be referring to some birthday celebration when you add one to your age, rather, it will refer to a propensity to keep delaying by adding more time or days to the time you were supposed to pick up your task and fulfilling it.
One great thing about us as individuals is that for every task or project we plan for, we usually set a time frame to it. In other words, we allocate some amount of time or days within which we must have completed that task or project. However, most of the time, we end up not completing them before the time frame. But why is it so? You will soon find out.
Another very common scenario of procrastination is in the areas of skill acquisition and personal development. This procrastination is what happens when you delay when you are expected to start learning a skill or developing a given part of yourself. Take, for example, you want to begin learning computer programming or how to play a musical instrument, or learning graphic designing, or learning to drive, etc, it is quite common to find people delay a little by adding one more day or one more week to that time.
I had a friend who wanted to learn graphic design. But whenever he felt like jumping right into it, he would tell himself "I will start tomorrow" and of course, tomorrow never ends. To cut the long story short, he never got to learn graphic design. One more day became one week and it spiraled into months and years and then into never. This becomes a pattern or syndrome when it becomes a habit that affects every other aspect of your life.
When it comes to the attitude of people towards the execution of their tasks, there are two categories of people. Somewhere between this great divide lies the ability to break out of the plus one syndrome. Some of the world's most successful people are those who have learned to jump right into the execution of their projects at some point without waiting any longer.
Why Do People Exhibit The Plus One Syndrome
There are common reasons why people exhibit the plus one syndrome, a pattern of behavior characterized by the propensity to delay or procrastinate. Here are some of those reasons:
- Interest in the present pleasure
- Fear of finding it too difficult
- Inappropriate satisfaction with the current state
How Do You Know You Have The Plus One Syndrome
It's not quite so easy to know that you have the plus one syndrome. However, there are common signs you may show that suggests that you probably have the plus one syndrome. Here are some of those signs of the plus one syndrome:
- You always succumb to the desire to do something else instead of working
- You have many unaccomplished projects
- There are many things you wished you had done earlier
- You still find it hard to overcome your fears of beginning to do something
- You are afraid to begin
You Always Succumb to The Desire to Do Something Else Instead of Working
There are times when you really need to do something productive or an idea just struck you and you decide to go ahead with it. Other times, you may have worked out plans to execute an action but you tell yourself that you are not fully ready to execute it yet. If you keep telling yourself that you are not ready for it, that means that you are unable to yield to your inner desire to execute your plans.
It is normal to plan adequately first before going into the execution phase of any of your plans, but it becomes a problem if you keep telling yourself that you are not ready when obviously you have spent too long already.
Pleasurable activities usually catch our attention more than productive activities. You find yourself procrastinating working for the television. It is normal and happens to everybody but if you find yourself lagging in your product works because of this, you need to look inwards and try to overcome this plus one syndrome because that is what the problem is.
You Have Many Unaccomplished Projects
How many projects have you accomplished and how many have you not? A quick survey at the number of plans you have successfully execute is a great indicator of how much you actually procrastinate working on your projects.
Normally, when your projects pile up to such amounts that you realize that you need to do something about them, most people usually engage their alert mode. In the alert mode, you find yourself putting extra efforts into the same work you may have been ignoring prior to that time. You work for longer than usual hours and you actually achieve more in a shorter period of time. This is what others refer to as the "crash program" or "crash job".
Although the crash or alert mode is quite normal, the plus one syndrome could actually be so serious that some people would still not respond to the urge to work harder due to the load of work yet unaccomplished. If you are one of such people, there is no doubt you may have the plus one syndrome.
There are Many Things You Wished You Had Done Earlier
I had a friend who wished he had played a musical instrument. He had interests in musical instruments but he never had to play one. One major reason why he was not able to satisfy his dream of being able to play an instrument like he would say, was that he never had the opportunity. He would then add that even now, it seems too late for him to begin learning. But are all these claims absolutely true?
Everyone has some things they have not yet accomplished but the important question you must ask yourself is what are you doing about them. It is important that you jump start whatever it is. That is to say, it is better than you are halfway than nowhere at all. But what is most important is that you accomplish it ultimately.
Many times, you find such people or even yourself telling stories of how you wished to begin something but you never had to do it. But they do not always have to end at the story level,
If there are many things you wished you had accomplished and the list is enormous, then you have to accept the diagnosis of the plus one syndrome. The good thing is it is not an incurable disease and the solution is right here in this post.
You Still Find it Hard to Overcome Your Fears of Beginning to Do Something
It is normal to be afraid to start developing or learning a skill that is rather difficult or at least, seems difficult. But people have still, found a way to learn some of the most daunting skills and engaged in some of the most complex tasks ever. What makes the difference then?
If you find it really hard to overcome your fears, that means you would have many tasks and projects unaccomplished as well. And the plus one syndrome is anchored on the need to push your plans further ahead to a later date until you end up never accomplishing your plans.
You Do Not Understand The Importance of Delayed Gratification
Delayed gratification is a concept that refers to one's decision to endure the present stress of doing something because one realizes that he can get to enjoy the pleasures sometimes later. Delayed gratification is an offshoot of self-control and self-discipline to face what is more important at the expense of some pleasure which may not be so important at the moment.
The simple logic behind delayed gratification is rating activities according to their scale of importance and attending to the more important before the less important. But as easy as this concept seems, many people do not fully understand how to apply it in their lives. For instance, being able to stop watching the TV you've been watching all day because you need to do some work or being able to avoid playing video games now because you can do that later and there are some more pressing things you need to attend to at the moment. These are practical examples but there are more out there.
You Are Too Afraid To Start
In the section about why people exhibit plus one syndrome, I listed some of the reasons why people find it difficult to begin or start implementing their plans or projects. Like I already mentioned in this post, everyone sometimes experiences the fear of beginning something that looks really complex or difficult but there has to be a way to face those fears and jump start on your projects. I am going to give you some practical ways to handle these issues in the next sections.
Before we look at how to overcome the plus one syndrome and achieve maximal success in your productive life, let's see some of the important consequences of the plus one syndrome.
Consequences of The Plus One Syndrome
It may seem like a trivial matter, especially when it means that you get to enjoy all the time doing only the things that give you pleasure but notoriously unproductive. The plus one syndrome is not just a phenomenon of procrastinating alone, it is procrastination that has formed a pattern and gradually destroying your productive life without you realizing it.Some of the consequences are as follows:
- The feeling of regret in the things you could not do
- The habit affects everything else you do
- Getting lost and confused about life
- Behaving irritably when you see others who achieved them still
- Disappointment with yourself
The Feeling of Regret in The Things You Could Not Do
After a little while, it becomes too late to go back on your dreams, I mean those dreams you outrightly ignored fulfilling because you were too afraid to begin somewhere. We often have regrets about the things we could not do, but it is easy to forget when they are not as much. However, the plus one syndrome makes the list of things you could not achieve to be enormous and this makes the feeling of regrets more pronounced. As a wise man once said, it is better to attempt and fail than to regret how you never even made an attempt.
The Habit Affects Everything Else You Do
Once this pattern has been established, it does not stop at only one area of your life. The plus one syndrome is able to affect all systems and aspects of your life including relationship and marriage, work and job establishments, skills, and personal developments and career development.
You find your self procrastinating or being afraid to approach a lady that you are interested in, or you are unable to start your business or even to learn a particular skill or develop a talent.
The feeling of regret about how you could not accomplish your dreams could demoralize you to the extent that you begin to have a false negative image about yourself, how you are incapable of doing the things you are meant to do. This false negative image of yourself can affect all other areas of your life, subsequent opportunities that may come your way, and how you handle some of your future projects.
Getting Lost and Confused About Life
The more complex problems become, the more difficult it will be to solve them. When you let things pile up, they become jumbled up and more difficult to handle. This also happens in life too. When you fail to settle some things about your life, execute projects when you should, or do fail to do something you should have done earlier, everything piles up with time such that you could become confused about life if there is no external intervention.
When they say "a fool at 40 is a fool forever", it does not mean that someone at 40 cannot get better or change but it does allude to the fact that it becomes increasingly more difficult and confusing to change some things at a more advanced age than at the earlier stage. Therefore, instead of piling things up till later, facing them squarely at the moment would save you a lot of stress and confusion.
Behaving Irritably When You See Others Who Achieved Them StillJealousy is usually a combination of two things.
- Seeing something or quality you desire with someone else
- Lack of hopefulness in yourself
Anyone can boast that they would not feel bad when they see others doing better than them. Yeah, that is hugely true if the second condition above is still intact. If you are still hopeful about your life, you may not really mind how much other people succeed and how much you do not. But the grave consequence of procrastination and the plus one syndrome is that by the time one has become confused about life, the little hope they still had in themselves and life is suddenly overwhelmed. Then, they resort to acting and behaving irritably when they see other people who were able to achieve the things they couldn't.
Disappointment With Yourself
You can only be disappointed at yourself when you become convinced that you could have done something different from the way you did it. This is much like the regrets about the things you could not accomplish. However, disappointment is usually a feeling signaling that there is nothing much you can do about the situation anymore.
If someone else is disappointed at you, it is much less bad than if you are disappointed at yourself, at which state you realize your wrongs and you feel bad about them. When you procrastinate too much or exhibit the plus one syndrome, you could get disappointed at yourself at a later time when you finally realize how stupid you were some few years back.
Solutions To The Procrastination SyndromePeople who were able to overcome the plus one syndrome or who were able to avoid procrastination from being a syndrome devised a means for handling the pressures of procrastination. Here are some things you could do to overcome procrastination and the plus one syndrome.
- Be ready to face risks
- Break tasks down into smaller bits
- Simplify tasks in your mind
- Promise yourself some rewards when you meet a target
- Follow the tasks step-by-step
Be Ready to Face Risks
Risks are part of everything, they are hurdles that need to be surmounted. You do not ignore risks, you identify and recognize them, then face them. People are often too scared to face risks but the few who made it to the enviable top are those who were bold enough to face their risks.
If you must take a firm hold on this plus one syndrome, you must be ready and willing to face risks and not run away from them.
Break Tasks Down into Smaller Bits
The feeling of fear that is experienced when you are about to take on new tasks or projects or skills can easily be surmounted when you break down the problem into smaller bits, taking one at a time. This approach works for almost any task or project. In order to avoid being held by the plus one syndrome, you must learn how to strategically break your big projects into smaller units. This could be a topic for another day but will not be exhausted further here.
Simplify Tasks in Your Mind
Your perception of a task has a big role to play in determining the difficulty of that task. In other words, the bigger or harder you perceive it to be, the bigger or harder it actually becomes. Until you learn to tell yourself that you can do it and that you have all it takes to handle the task or project, the fear will perpetually haunt you.
I have already said it, but let me say it again that simplifying your tasks in your mind is done by assuring and reassuring yourself that you can do it, and that you are capable of handling them. It is a way of silencing your fears.
Promise Yourself Some Rewards When You Meet a Target
Motivations are motivations indeed. They enhance your desire to succeed at a given task or project. When you promised yourself some rewards, probably one of those things that would have stolen your time, you increase your motivation. For example, if you were supposed to watch a movie but you realize it was time for you to do some work on your project, you could tell yourself that when you finish your task for that day or period, you would go on to enjoy your movies and much more.
if you are finding it hard to enter the execution phase of your plans because you are fixed on procrastinating and the plus one syndrome, you can promise yourself a reward for jumping right into it.
Follow the Tasks Step-by-step
The truth is that even the steps are laid down already, sometimes you might want to skip the steps. For simple tasks and projects, you can afford to skip steps or even follow them in the reverse order. However, for those complex processes you actually dread, you might want to follow the steps carefully.
From my experience with complex stuff, if you skip steps without grasping the basics, you will end up meeting those steps you skipped in the future staring boldly at your face.
If you do not follow the steps, you may have been able to overcome the resistance against starting but there is still another side left. That is the side that requires that you complete what you have started. Skipping steps makes the whole process rather more complex because that way you do not get the little pieces of the job that makes the big whole.
Know When to Start
If you are really serious about stopping this habit of procrastination, otherwise called the plus one syndrome, you would definitely want to start acting now. But here comes another question, how do you know when to start?
There is a great need to put your plans together before you begin execution for any of your projects. However, there is a very thin line between when you have made sufficient plans and when you should start execution. The truth is, if you want to get a perfectly ideal plan before you start, you will end up wasting the entire time or even not accomplishing your tasks at all. My experiences have proven that you can actually get a clearer picture of what your project should look like as you keep working on it. That is to say, the more you work on it, the better your plans get but that does not rule out the fact that you need some baseline planning before you begin any and every project or task.
So, I compel you to go and face your habits of procrastination and the plus one syndrome and I adjure you to do so now. You will truly experience the joy of fulfilling your tasks and the extra motivation that comes with that. Testify now or later when you have seen the results.