Why do we procrastinate and how to stop it
Do you know why we procrastinate? There are 5 main reasons that cause procrastination. They are – Fear, Perfection, Priority, Thrill, and Laziness. Not all the causes mentioned above are the signs of a red flag. In fact, some amount of procrastination is good for us.
Wait, What? Procrastination is good?
Yes, it is. When you know how to do a task but find it mundane, boring or feel lazy to get it done. In such a case, your laziness in finishing the task can actually benefit you.
I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.
– Bill Gates
When laziness drives your procrastination, take it as an asset. You could become more creative in problem-solving!
Do you know almost all of us
Are there ways to end the procrastination game?
Yes, there are simple tips that can help you. But first, you need to find your WHY, I mean you need to figure out the cause for your procrastination. There is no one size fits all fix for procrastination problem. Let me explain the causes of procrastination and the solution to mend the issue.
Procrastination due to Fear
Fear of failure, fear to start, fear of making mistakes, confused about where to begin, fear to proceed with a task – all of these fall under the same umbrella. Even the most successful people have been in this state at least once in their life. But they conquer their fear with a positive attitude.
Procrastination is the thief of timeEdward young
Let me give my own example. I wanted to blog for a long time. But I was afraid to start. I was confused about where to begin, which hosting to choose, which template to use and how to tell the world about my work? I finally silenced my fear started this blog in early January. Did I master everything that I feared? Heck No! But am happy that I overcame my fear and chose to work on my dreams of helping others through my blog.
5 Steps to overcome procrastination due to fear:
- Take baby steps: Your goal may seem far away but your next step is closer to you. Conquer the fear one step at a time.
- Snowball your tasks: I’m sure you are aware of financial guru Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball plan. Use the same concept in tackling your fearful task. Finish the easy tasks first and gain confidence before you handle bigger challenges.
- Maintain your momentum: Your snowball keeps growing as you keep checking of the easy tasks. Use that momentum to drive you forward. More the momentum more the confidence to finish the bigger issues.
- Celebrate your wins: Feel proud of how far you have come through and celebrate your accomplishments.
- Join support groups or ask for help: Thanks to technology, we now have virtual support groups and online classes. Invest in learning and polishing your skills as needed.
Procrastination due to Perfection
Perfectionism is a myth. I procrastinated a lot to complete my final year project at college. I set high standards and wanted it to be perfect. Unfortunately, the trap of perfection didn’t let me start working on my project for a long time. I had to burn midnight oil during the finals week to get the project done. In the end, I was not quite happy with what I had submitted. I realized that procrastination to achieve perfection didn’t do anything good. In fact, it caused more anxiety.
Are you a perfectionist? Do you procrastinate waiting for the perfect time to begin your task or come up excuses to mask your fear of failure? Then the following tips are for you.
5 simple ways to beat procrastination caused by perfection:
- Set realistic goals.
- Stop the comparison game.
- Work on building your self-confidence
- Change your mindset to believe in yourself
- Embrace imperfection for your own good 🙂
Procrastination due to trouble in Prioritizing
Most of the moms fall under this category. There are so many things on our plate that sometimes we overlook certain non-priority items on our to-do list. It could be the long overdue haircut, Zumba class that you are hoping to join one day or girls trip that you planned eons ago. You get the idea!
Amidst kids, work and family needs I had totally forgotten about my annual physicals. I had other important things to attend to and this one completely fell off from my priority list. This year, I have marked it on my Calendar as a priority item and am hoping to get it done.
3 simple methods to stop procrastination for non-decision makers:
- Edit your priority list periodically: When an item often keeps falling at the end of your priority list, then it is time to decide if it is worth having it in your list in the first place. That way you do not even have to do that task. Woo-hoo! Procrastination is good after all!
- Split your tasks into 5 min chucks: Do you want to declutter your closet, but are afraid that it would take a hell lot time to finish? The best way to tackle this non-priority yet nagging task it to work five dedicated minutes each day on cleaning the clutter. Have a timer if you don’t want to spend more than 5mins on it. Some work done is always better than not starting at all. Eventually, you would have a cleaner closet by the end of the month. Raising your brows? Come on, give it a try!
- Delegate the task if possible: Ask your spouse or a good friend, if they could help you. You can divide and conquer most boring tasks like decluttering or organizing when you have a fun company. Of course, do not forget to return the favor. It is definitely a win-win for both the parties involved.
Procrastination due to Laziness
As mentioned earlier, laziness could act as a helpful tool in bringing out your creative self. You are fortunate enough to have overcome the fear and perfection. All you need is the right mindset to propel you forward.
Simple ways to fix Procrastination due to Laziness:
- Rethink your goal: Would you rather feel a little discomfort now and get things done or focus on the discomfort and forget your end goal? Write down your goal on a paper and stick it on your desk. Let it remind and motivate you to finish your task.
- Remove distraction: Don’t chase every shiny object you see and keep yourself focused on the task
- Team up with a friend for motivation and accountability: Help each other achieve the goal by partnering with a good friend.
- Reward yourself to push forward: Treats are not for kids alone, enjoy your reward for moving towards the goal.
Procrastination by the last-minute lovers
I attest that many people love the thrill of finishing their tasks at the last minute. The adrenaline rush in working under pressure gives them a great sense of accomplishment. My husband belongs to this category and I know how much he enjoys pulling things off at the last minute like a pro 🙂
If you belong to this category, you are in luck. Waiting till the last minute to get your tasks done helps you to be more creative and successful.
How to fix the last-minute rush:
- Plan your strategy wisely so that you don’t end up doing all the tasks at once.
- Be mindful of your health and time. Every single task on your list doesn’t need the same surge of energy. Too much of last-minute thrills can be detrimental to your health.
Procrastination is a slippery slope that hinders you from living the life you deserve.– Christine Louise Hohlbaum
I hope that you were able to figure your cause for procrastination and found these tips useful. Whatever be the reason for your procrastination, When you got to do it, JUST DO IT and get it done! You will thank yourself for overcoming procrastination, getting into discomfort zone and finishing like a winner. All the best!