If you’re one who tends to delay things, this post will be life changing for you. First, know continually pushing things off does not mean that you are lazy. At its core, procrastination is rooted more in your state of emotions than in your productivity skills. So, solving procrastination issues doesn’t require focusing on self-discipline. What it requires is identifying and understanding why you are delaying in the first place.
By looking at the reasons why you push things off until later, you’ll not only become more self-aware, but you’ll finally put an end to procrastination once and for all.
Understanding why you procrastinate can help you reframe the problem so you can stop procrastinating.
Here’s a few reasons why you may be procrastinating:
You fear failure.
You might believe that trying hard and failing is worse than not trying at all. Maybe others have set such high expectations on you that you feel they are utterly impossible to obtain so you just don’t even bother trying.
You’re a perfectionist.
If you presume that everything must be in tip-top, perfect shape, this can put tons of unnecessary pressure on you and cause you to delay and postpone whatever you’re supposed to be working on. Instead of expecting perfection to move forward, focus on doing your best within specified timelines. Most people—and businesses for that matter—won’t get it right the first time around. So just start whatever it is you’re delaying, complete it, and then improve the quality over time. Remember there is not a single person you know that is perfect.
You don’t see the rewards.
Most procrastinators tend to delay because they can’t see the reward in completing the task. Feeling rewarded for your efforts is critical, so make a point to identify the reason you want to accomplish a specific task. Then celebrate your little wins. You deserve it.
You lack motivation.
Maybe you think you need to feel motivated or inspired before you begin. If you end up waiting until you get in the mood to do the work, you may never start the task, especially if it is a boring or unpleasant task. Most times just the act of beginning will start the juices flowing, and the motivation to keep moving forward follows because you can start seeing your way to completion.
Your perspective is too narrow.
It is a common pitfall to focus on others’ successes without ever considering how they got there and then to expect yourself to meet the same success without traveling the path. Never assume that successful people didn’t go through their share of struggles. Anything worthwhile requires work, and all work has a starting point. You owe it to yourself to just dig in and begin.
You’re being too passive.
You must be assertive and stick to only doing the things you want or need to do. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself committed to doing things you don’t want to do and procrastinating on the things that you do want to do.
You find the task undesirable.
This is probably the most common cause of procrastination. Do you simply push things off because you don’t want to do the task? If it’s something you need to do then make it feel like less of a chore. By changing how you perceive a task and why you feel a certain way about it, then you’re more likely to address it head on. For example, doing your taxes may overwhelm you because you’ve never learned how to do it yourself. However, knowing that you can just give the necessary numbers to an accountant and let them handle it, makes the task far less daunting. Or let’s say you have a task that seems so monstrous that it has you dragging your feet; try adjusting the words of your internal conversation to make the task less intimidating and more desirable. For example, instead of saying “I have to clean the garage,” rephrase the task to emphasize the benefit. “I’m going to clean the garage to make room for my new home gym.” You’ll find by shifting perspective to focus attention on desirable results, you’re more likely to get it done.
Understanding the reasons why you procrastinate can help you reframe the problem so you can stop procrastinating and get to work making things happen.
There will be times and situations when your reasons for procrastinating are justified. Maybe the task isn’t a high priority, so you put it on the back burner. After analyzing the situation further, you may find that you don’t want or need to do a certain task at all.
Ultimately, once you can figure out why you feel a particular way about what you’re procrastinating about, then you can finally decide to either start it, schedule it, or completely drop it from your to do list.
So, what have you been procrastinating on? How can you reframe it so it looks more desirable?