Many people are unsure about what to do if they are afflicted with procrastination. But why do people procrastinate? What reasons make them put off important things that could move their lives forward and instead choose to do something else?
One of the most prevalent reasons for procrastination is that individuals neglect to think about their future. They focus on immediate gratification and have no regard for what will come their way in the future. As a result, they lose out on possibilities since it’s difficult for them to act if they don’t consider the future. This may lead to another negative consequence. The following time they face a similar problem, they will likely choose to do something more pleasurable or engaging instead of continuing their progress on the road to success.
A person’s fear of failure is another cause of procrastination. People avoid doing things if they believe they might fail. They begin thinking about it when they are in the early phases of their journey to confront new difficulties. When they sense that a task is beyond them, they will not try to complete it again in the future because they do not want to feel like failures once more.
There are additional factors to consider. Some people believe that urgent matters should take precedence over those not, so they concentrate on them. They don’t know that it is the complete opposite. If something needs to be done urgently but isn’t essential for our future, it means that it can wait until we have done what’s important for us. Maybe an example will explain this better, so people will realize that these two things are different. Imagine a situation where someone has to prepare a presentation for Monday, but they get sick and can’t leave their bed on Sunday. What happens if the person does nothing about it because they don’t think this presentation is important? They then miss their deadline and get into trouble with their boss.
People procrastinate when they don’t know what to do and therefore choose to postpone the decision. If there’s too much pressure or stress, they often avoid taking action because it makes them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. They want to escape from the situation, so they give up without even trying. This happens when people are not motivated enough to start something new.
Some people also procrastinate because they don’t value their time, so they don’t know how important it is to use it wisely and make the most out of it. They can sometimes focus on doing things that won’t help them reach their goals, leading to a lack of progress.
A surprisingly common reason for procrastinating is that people can’t handle everything they have to do. They opt for an easier way out by leaving their work until the last possible moment so as not to be overwhelmed by it. People who are perfectionists can also suffer from this, and they often put off an assignment if they’re not able to do it perfectly.
Procrastination can be influenced by stress levels as well. People sometimes let stress distract them because of the pressure on their shoulders or the things spinning around in their minds. They’d instead give up something goes wrong, then they won’t know how to get out of that situation or cope with it. That’s why people will sometimes put their health at risk because they don’t want to withstand the stress anymore.
In a nutshell, people procrastinate when they’re afraid of something that’s beyond them or if they lack self-confidence. And lastly, some people tend to overdo everything and end up not being able to handle the pressure on them, which is why they ultimately avoid their responsibilities.
What to do to free yourself from procrastinating?
We’ve all been there: You sit in front of your computer and can’t get started with whatever you want to work on. Your head is spinning around the same problem, over and over again.
But what’s probably most frustrating about this situation? The fact that it is so preventable! We all know how incredibly productive we could be if only we would start doing what we set out to do.
But how can you reach that state of flow, where the result rationalizes your efforts?
1. Remind yourself why it’s important (and urgent!) Now that may seem like an easy question at first glance, but not necessarily! Ask yourself WHY it’s so important to get started right away. As simple as it might sound, knowing why can give you that little extra push to overcome procrastination. Science has shown that while intrinsic motivators are generally more sustainable, extrinsic motivations are often needed at the beginning of a task or project.
In other words: You probably know that you want to lose weight because your health depends on it. But you might need an additional push from a personal coach or a nutritionist to make those first steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
So if possible, find one of those extrinsic motivators and remind yourself why it’s so important to get started NOW. For example:
– What’s the worst that could happen?
– How would you feel when it’s done?
– Who else might be affected by your delay?
2. Picture yourself finishing another one of those projects in the future… Another reason why we tend to procrastinate is that we’re so used to letting ourselves down. So it’s important to remind yourself of your past successes and failures, and how you’ve overcome them in the past!
For example: Remind yourself that you successfully finished a project at work, even though it was challenging. Or recall all those times when you had to stay up late to complete a project – and remember how proud you felt afterward.
If possible, find an example where your hard work was worth it. This will help you maintain your motivation and stay productive in the future!
3. Search for distractions and eliminate them! Here’s another reason we procrastinate: We’re either busy doing something else or don’t know what to do next. In other words: We need a bit of guidance!
To avoid this situation in the future, try to organize your workstation in a way where you can see what needs to be done at all times. This might require some extra effort in the beginning, but it’s definitely worth the trouble; because we all know that a clean and tidy workstation increases our productivity and effectiveness by at least 25%!
4. Focus on the next step: Your reward might be closer than you think. Another known reason people tend to procrastinate is that they either expect instant results or can’t imagine how it would feel to finish their task. This is not surprising, given that humans tend to prefer instant gratification instead of waiting for an unknown reward in the future!
Therefore, you might need additional motivation and encouragement to get started, especially since we already know extrinsic motivators wear off rather quickly.
Instead of trying to incentive yourself by promising a reward altogether (i.e., “If I finish this project, I’m going out for cake and ice cream!”) – try to create smaller goals instead! This might be as simple as telling yourself:
“I’m going to work on this part of the project for 30 minutes.”
You can either extend this deadline or treat yourself to something small and short-term. Either way: The critical thing is that you focus on the next step rather than thinking about the bigger picture (which might seem less attainable in comparison).
5. Break down tasks into manageable chunks. If you still think your project is too big and not worth starting, try to break it down into smaller chunks of work. For example, you could tell yourself that you will write 500 words first and then reward yourself with a 5-minute break.
Alternatively: Finish this article first and then go for a 10-minute walk!
What’s important is that you find small tasks well suited for your personality type. If you’re someone who gets easily distracted, try to work in short, focused sessions, while others might benefit more from more extended periods of intense effort!
6. Create a productive work environment. Another reason why people procrastinate is that they feel lazy and unsure about their goals in the first place. If this is the case, you might need to create a more productive work environment to get started.
Try placing relevant tasks close to your workspace, asking for help when necessary, or setting deadlines with your friends and colleagues before you begin! This way, you will have bundled all of these reasons into one event.
Afterward, you can congratulate yourself for taking the initiative.
Of course, this is just one of many different techniques to combat procrastination issues; but it’s also by far the most effective method I know! If you want to learn more about time management and increasing productivity, be sure to check out the book “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy.
I’d love to hear about your strategies when it comes to defeating procrastination! If you have any additional thoughts or insights, feel free to comment below.
Thank you for reading, and good luck!