You're not alone; we all procrastinate, and we do it more often than we would like to admit. It doesn't matter how productive you think you are; you procrastinate too. It's human.
Some people are chronic procrastinators, yet others procrastinate selectively. That is, we procrastinate in certain areas of our lives, or with certain types of tasks, but not most of the time. When an activity motivates us, we do whatever is necessary to complete it, no matter what.
As per my observations, procrastination has different triggers: lack of motivation, tediousness, lack of clear objectives, fear of failure. All of these are nothing but excuses, and deep down, we know it.
Let's take a closer look at each of these triggers:
· We lack the motivation to complete a task. We need a purpose for everything we do, a reason to do it. If we find an activity pointless, we'll never get around to completing it. Find the upside to start working on it now. Take the first step, no matter how small. If you start and finish one small aspect of it, you'll feel motivated to keep going. Starting is usually the hardest part.
· We find the task tedious. I hear you! Nothing is worse than having to spend time doing something dull. However, feel free to look for the no-so-boring side of it. Can you get together with a classmate, coworker, or friend to make the activity a little less daunting? What about working from a different location, like a coffee shop or bookstore? Sometimes, a new site will help to get your creative juices flowing. When possible, starting with the less tedious portion of the project may boost your interest.
· We don't know where to start. Do you know if what you've been putting off for a while is a task or a project? They are not the same, and making the distinction may make a world of difference in how you approach any activity. For instance, a task requires only one action: make an appointment with the dentist. A single action: call and make the appointment, that's it. Now, if to make the appointment, you have to call your friend to ask for the name of the dentist she recommended, then check with your insurance company to find out if she is in-network, and lastly, call the dentist's office to make the appointment, then this is a small project. In this case, break it down into single tasks and start by tackling one a time, even one per day if necessary, as long as you get it done.
· We're afraid of failure. Don't we all? Know one thing: it's better to try and miss than to never even try. At least, that's what I think. Take a few minutes now, and analyze the pros and cons of not completing your task on time. What would happen if you don't start now? What would be the consequences? Are the consequences worse than trying and getting a- less-than-perfect outcome? Make sure your fear of failure is not steering you toward something more serious. Usually, reaching a less-than-ideal result is better than doing nothing at all.
The good news is that procrastination can be overcome by being strategic and focused on the benefits of completing a task. First of all, check your list of "not-done" items and make sure you need to tackle now all that's listed there. Can you delete something? Can you reassign a task to someone better qualified to complete it?
Believe it or not, there are circumstances when procrastination can be a good thing. Rejoice, my lovely procrastinators, this paragraph is for you! If you're procrastinating because you
feel you don't have all the information you need and by waiting, you could get a broader view of what you need to
do, or because your instinct is telling you that you better stay away, you may be right. In that "controlled procrastination," you're not kicking the can, you're attempting to come up with better results. Maybe your activity doesn't need to be done at all. Is your boss asking you to do it? Your spouse? In this case, why don't you state your case objectively by indicating the reasons why you should invest your time in a more productive task?
If you're not usually a procrastinator and in one particular case you can't bring yourself to finish something, ask yourself why. There may be a good reason for it. Make sure your objectives are clear, that you have all the information you need, all the tools, the right people by your side, analyze if your procrastination may be due to causes beyond your control. Figure out why you keep postponing what you know you should do and tackle it! You may have different reasons for delaying different tasks; it is not a "one-reason-fits-all" type of solution.
Good luck in your effort to conquer procrastination. I'm sure you can do it! If you try any of these tips, let me know how it goes. I would love to read about your experience overcoming procrastination. If you liked what you read, comment, like, and share this post.