Has it ever happened to you that you put off doing a difficult task? Or that you postponed taking an important decision until you would feel more prepared to take it?
Well, if the answer is yes to any of the two questions, you have probably fallen in the same trap so many people fall every day…the trap of Procrastination!
But how bad is it to procrastinate anyways?
Well, The Procrastination Research Group (so it even has its own research group!) made a survey on 2,700 individuals and asked them how much negative impact does procrastination have on their happiness? 46% said that very much and 18% said that an extreme negative effect.
Pretty bad, don’t you think?
So let’s explore what are the most common reasons of procrastination:
- Care Too Much About What Others Think
It happens that sometimes you want to impress others so much that when given a task you feel so much pressure that it delays your work.
- Striving For The Perfect
It sounds weird, but perfectionism can be what causes procrastination. You may want to strive for perfectionism so much that you feel disheartened even before you begin. This is because a goal that seems unachievable (and who can ever be perfect, anyway?) can be demoralizing.
- Doing Things Totally New To You
You need to embark on a totally new project and you have no idea at all on how to tackle it. The first reaction is to procrastinate. The uncertainty of the result of this task causes you to delay commencing the project.
- The Task Isn’t Meaningful And Motivating
This is another main reason what causes procrastination. The task at hand isn’t motivating to you, as it does not match your aspiration. It is not meaningful to you and therefore you drag your feet in completing the task.
- The Lack Of Confidence
Another common cause of procrastination is the lack of confidence in completing a task. It can be real that you lack the skills but sometimes it may be a perception that you lack the skill. Because of this you may totally avoid completing the task.
OK, but enough with the causes, here are seven solutions:
- Give up being Perfect! (Nobody is and nobody will ever be!) It is much better to do a task 80% good, rather than wait until you are 100% satisfied and never actually manage to deliver it.
- Just as most people can’t eat a whole birthday cake in one bite, some jobs cannot be done all at once. Some people come to realize that it is harder to put something off if they slice a job up into manageable pieces and do the task piece by piece, little by little. This might mean breaking down the time required to-do a task into smaller chunks that are spaced over several days or weeks. Some people don’t like large doses of something distasteful. They find that smaller doses spaced over time makes things easier to do and less procrastinatable.
- Another way some people have reduced procrastination is to begin with an easy, an enjoyable, or the least distasteful piece of a job to get started.
- Many ex-procrastinators have realized that working with someone else makes it less likely that they will put something off. Perhaps this would work for you.
- It could be that you will come to realize that making a commitment to someone or setting a deadline for completing a task is one way to make procrastination more difficult. It is known that for many people, setting a goal results in motivation. For this to work, ex-procrastinators have found that the goal must be something they want to achieve.
- Maybe you will discover that doing a job in the least distracting environment makes putting off work a little harder. For many college students, homes, dorm rooms, or apartments have many distractions and potential distractions. Perhaps you will find a place like the library to study where it is quiet and is going to stay quiet until you are ready to leave.
- Like many non-procrastinators, you may find it enjoyable to reward yourself for doing a part of a job and for completing a task. Some examples of rewards are treating yourself to some delicious fruits, going to a movie, visiting with friends, or just doing something that you enjoy.
Self-leaders don’t procratinate. Find out more..