Reasons you procrastinate...and how to overcome themMay 03, 2023
Picture this: You get done with work for the day, and you're checking the to-do list you've made for the week. You stare at it and stare at it until you realize it's too late to get anything done. Then you tell yourself, "I'll just get it done tomorrow." Tomorrow comes, and you find yourself doing the same thing. Does this sound familiar?
Everyone procrastinates at one point or another, which can lead to stress and a negative cycle of constantly putting things off. It's easy to be hard on yourself when you catch yourself procrastinating, but luckily, there are probably specific reasons you're doing it. That means you can figure out what those reasons are AND combat them!
Procrastination can have different underlying causes depending on the person. Here are some common reasons I've seen in my experience as a productivity coach. Keep reading to see if you identify with one... or a few!
Sometimes, people delay tasks in fear of failure or poor performance. They might put something off until they feel confident enough that they will complete it. Those who hold high standards for themselves tend to struggle with perfectionism, which can lead to procrastination as they wait for the perfect moment or idea to begin.
They're easier said than done, but if you struggle with perfectionism, there are two small things you can do to start changing your habits. The first is to set more realistic expectations for yourself - remember, you're human! You don't have to be superwoman. The other is to focus on the positives. When you have a thought like, "I knew I should've started this earlier," replace it with something like, "Hey, everyone makes mistakes, and now I know how much time I'll really need next time."
Lack of motivation
A lack of motivation is something I KNOW you can relate to. We all can! When someone doesn't feel motivated around or invested in a task, they might put it off until the last minute. When you don't feel motivated to do something, resistance is built up against your to-do list. Even if you find the task at hand interesting and fun, a lack of motivation can be a big obstacle to overcome.
Many people think they should be fully motivated before starting a task or project, but in actuality, that's not realistic. Sometimes, the motivation doesn't show until you actually start the task. If you struggle with lacking motivation, think about WHY you need to get the task done. Considering the end game is crucial when finding motivation, and it might just give you that extra push to get started!
Poor time management
Some people who struggle with time management may not know how to prioritize tasks effectively or may underestimate the amount of time needed to complete a project. Poor time management is a universal struggle, especially if you're busy with a job and/or family activities.
One of the biggest tips I give people is to fill out their planner. Specifically, create time blocks throughout the day and reserve specific times for specific tasks. This way, you don't scramble trying to find time to get something done. Consider this: You've needed to clean your kitchen all week but have been pushing it back because you've had to spend the time paying bills and looking at your budget. Next week, block out an hour of time one day to tackle the cleaning, and 15 minutes each day of the week for administrative tasks. See how this can be helpful?!
People that have trouble focusing may find it difficult to start and maintain their work on a particular task.
There are plenty of accessible and easy methods to combat this reason for procrastinating. An easy solution is to turn on your "do not disturb" or set timers where you work for a set amount of time on a specific task. Another is to give yourself small rewards for being productive and getting things done. For example, if you're working on a big project, give yourself five minutes of leisure time after every 30 minutes of being productive.
Identifying the underlying causes of procrastination can help you develop effective strategies to overcome it. Never feel ashamed for procrastinating - it happens to all of us! Instead, think about what might be causing it and train yourself (or implement new habits) to overcome it!
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