How often do you procrastinate?
Did you know that procrastination is the number one barrier to getting things done as reported by most US adults.
There are many reasons why people procrastinate. It helps to know your reasoning to know if procrastination is actually a cause o =r a symptom.
To manage yourself and your time you need to understand the underlying causes to why you procrastinate.
For many, procrastination can be a result of habits and lack of discipline, but there are some key contributing factors that cause people to procrastinate. For instance you:
- may NOT KNOW HOW to do something
- don’t know WHAT to do
- like to do things RIGHT but are confused
- don’t have TIME
- may NOT WANT TO
- might be feeling INSECURE or UNCERTAIN of the outcome
- want to AVOID CONSEQUENCES
Below are ten of the key reasons why people procrastinate and tips for beating the procrastination cycle:
Task Is Too Complex
Complex projects often seem daunting and cause many people to procrastinate. If it’s overwhelming – chunk it! Or break the project down into smaller components and tackle each component individually.
High Emotional Charge (You Hate Doing It)
While many people tackle tasks they enjoy you’ll tend to avoid projects you feel are unpleasant. Although not all tasks are enjoyable, some may still need to be completed. To avoid procrastinating in this situation, you may want to design rewards as you accomplish milestones.
You Can’t Prioritize
If you struggle with categorizing and prioritizing you may have difficulty getting anything done. If you find yourself constantly task-switching while deciding what to do next, try listing all of your tasks and then rank them in order of importance.
Once you have your priorities, create realistic and reasonable goals and try to knock off a certain number of tasks within one hour. After that hour evaluate your progress and see how much you actually accomplished. Revise your goals accordingly.
You Can’t Decide
This is near and dear to my heart because I believe decision-making is the great equalizer among all skills related to procrastinating. If you labor over decisions procrastination will haunt you. While it is important to weigh your options and make informed decisions, too much time spent trying to make a decision can not only cause angst and anxiety but also create significant project delays. To avoid this potential problem, set a timeline for yourself to complete the decision-making process.
You Are Afraid To Fail
If you can’t fail you’ll likely procrastinate outcomes. You may even subconsciously sabotage your projects by delaying to avoid the reaction that their project will elicit. If failing makes you feel paralyzed, try visualizing. To visualize, you need quiet time. First, close your eyes and breathe deeply to feel centered. Then imagine yourself succeeding in the project and imagine the steps that you will need to take in order to succeed. Once you have visualized the steps, take action before that fear comes back home to roost.
You’ve heard the statement – “if you want something done, give it to a busy person.” Why is it that it is so true? People whose days are not varied and who experience what I term “sameness”, can be plagued by boredom. Believe it or not, boredom is also a cause for procrastination. Lack of challenge can lull you into a routine and not allow you to access adrenaline and excitement. Vary your days and do things you like. Switch tasks, scenery, and options often.
Distractions are everywhere and are a major cause of procrastination. The temptation to chat, email, surf, play games or do other non-work related tasks are so high when you want to procrastinate. Set up your workspace to minimize distractions and schedule time for meetings and downtime to catch up with friends, families, and co-workers. This will help to prevent procrastination and keep your project on schedule.
You Need To Move Your Body And Change Your Surroundings
Sometimes you need a change of scenery or a change of pace. Different people have different likes and dislikes. Sometimes I like to get out of my office and away from my computer. I’ve found a change of scenery, different room or the atmosphere of the coffee shop can really spark my creative energy and put me in a very productive mood.
You’re Burning Out
If you are listless, lifeless and demotivated, you may be procrastinating because you’re burned-out. When you do too much, or go without sleep, or exercise for long periods of time, you put your needs on the back burner. And when your basic human needs remain unmet for a long time, the only cure for this type of burn-out based procrastination is to take a real break…
YEP – Time for a vacation – or a complete job change.
Time away and time to reset, revive and rejuvenate can have an incredibly motivating effect.