Procrastination is one of the most common behavioural issues we all struggle with. For some reason, procrastination has become an integral part of our work schedule. From delaying tasks to the last minute to stressing. Ruminating about everything from work and future goals to life. Procrastination can trigger emotions and affect multiple aspects of work and life.
There is no one reason why people procrastinate. Everyone can have a different “why”. But here we are going to discuss the most common reasons a person procrastinates. And give tips that can help you avoid procrastination.
Am I Being Lazy?
Before diving into the article, it is important to clear this out. Procrastination is not being lazy. Laziness is different from procrastination. Sure, laziness can be one of the reasons why you choose to procrastinate. But they are still two different behaviour traits or habits.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
There are several reasons why we procrastinate. Even when we know how important the task at hand is, we are still not able to concentrate completely on it. People choose to indulge in activities other than work. Such as using social media, eating when they are not hungry, and doing less important tasks first.
Some of the common reasons behind procrastination are as follows:
- Performance Pressure
- Fear of Responsibility
- Getting Distracted by Things That Seem Important or Interesting
- Stress or Rumination
Let’s understand these reasons in detail before getting into the tips that will help you get over them.
When you know how important performing well is, you fear your work will not meet expectations. That fear triggers procrastination. It may sound a little weird but this is pretty common. You must have experienced this as well. You know a project requires you to work efficiently because there is no space for mistakes. You will procrastinate on that task, even if you are good at what you do. More rules and restrictions can be the reason why one feels performance pressure.
Perfectionism is a real issue. One may think that they can simply perform as well as they can and leave but this is not something everyone can do. For some, it is an issue if something seems less than perfect. Perfectionists procrastinate because they think they are not equipped with the skills. And learning seems time-consuming which pushes them towards procrastination.
Fear of Responsibility
The fear of responsibility is like performance pressure. But because of the fear of responsibility, one procrastinates even the simplest tasks. Someone who is not confident in their abilities often experiences this. Even if they can do something, their low confidence will make them believe the opposite is true. They will fear screwing things up. Leading to either avoiding taking responsibility or procrastinating the whole process.
Distractions like using social media and watching Netflix seem more interesting than work. Whereas planning, budgeting, or working on a less important task are distractions that “seem” important. Indulging in such tasks is one of the leading causes of procrastination. Everyone can consider this as one of their “why” for procrastination.
Stress or Rumination
Finally, stress and procrastination. It can be about the task itself or something else. Stress plays a crucial role in triggering procrastination. Rumination, or thinking about something constantly, can also be one of the reasons why. It can be thinking about how to start or complete a task or about something completely different.
Stress and rumination are symptoms of several mental health conditions. Such as depression, ADHD, anxiety, and eating disorders. People with these mental health conditions tend to use avoidance as a coping mechanism. Which only worsens the severity of the conditions and procrastination.
Tips to Avoid Procrastination by Understanding Your “Why”
Here are 9 tips that can help you overcome procrastination by working on your reasons.
Acknowledge Your Reason Behind Procrastination
A lot can change by acknowledging and accepting why you are procrastinating. When you choose to find the reason, you tell yourself that this is something you need to work on. And because you have accomplished one task, that is, finding the reason, you feel motivated to work on the next steps.
Write down your reason and why you are letting that reason affect your work. You will realise that the reason does not demand as much attention as you have been giving.
Staying Consistent Can Help
If your reason is that you get distracted easily, you should consider working on your habits. One of the best ways to do this is by making your work a part of your daily routine. When you consistently devote an hour or two of your day to a specific task, you make it an integral part of your routine. Your brain and body will know that this is the time to focus on this specific task and make you less resentful.
When you start journaling every day, you clear your mind by dumping your thoughts in a notebook. Journaling is more effective than one can imagine. By writing everything down, you can improve your mental health and the quality of your work. And, on top of that, it also increases your productivity.
Create a Work-friendly Environment
Having a desk or a corner in your room that you use only for work purposes can make a huge difference. Not just that, working from a coffee shop alone, can also help you avoid procrastination a lot. When you create an environment that is conducive to work, your focus shifts from everything else to work. We recommend keeping your phone away when you are creating a work-friendly environment.
Upscale Your Skills and Knowledge
Learning and upscaling your skills and knowledge can help the perfectionist in you. One of the reasons why we procrastinate is that we are not confident about our abilities. And the best solution for that is to better ourselves. So that we can have the confidence that will help us complete the task on time.
When we are confident that we can do something, we won’t waste our time doing something else. We’ll try to complete that task as soon as possible to prove to ourselves and others that we are experts in it. Learning and upscaling skills and knowledge is one of getting expertise in any field.
Done Is Better Than Perfect
Another tip for the perfectionist in you. It is better to complete something rather than try to be perfect at everything. And when you start doing something you can edit, improve, and redo things as and how you want to perfect your work.
It is like creating an outline when you start writing. It takes the most time when you try to write on a topic with nothing in your hand. But once you start with the outline, you get clearer ideas. Then you write the whole article and come back to proofread. You edit and improve your writing. Sometimes you even choose to rewrite the whole thing to make it perfect.
But had you not decided to start writing the outline, you would have been stuck at the very first word of your article.
Be Nice to Yourself
You procrastinate when you are not confident. You procrastinate when you think you lack the skills and knowledge required to work on a project. You procrastinate when you think you are not good enough. You feel this way because you tell yourself that you are not good. You lack the confidence to work on something because you are negative towards yourself.
Only you know how much you have improved and struggled to reach where you are today. You know how much effort you put to learn everything. People appreciate the quality of your work and wish to be like you. They must have told you this many times but you refuse to focus on that. Do you know why? Because you don’t believe in yourself. You focus on your flaws even when you know you are equally talented, if not more.
When you start telling yourself that you can do it, you will be able to do it. When you tell yourself that you are good at something, your performance will improve as well.
Calendar blocking and setting time restrictions can help a lot of people. Some people work well under pressure. If you are like that, you should consider creating that pressure on yourself. Write down the work that needs to be done and along with that set a time limit as well. Set a deadline by which certain tasks need to be completed. Instead of setting deadlines for the whole project, consider breaking it into tasks.
Don’t forget to add breaks to your schedule while setting deadlines.
Chewing Gum and Music Helps
Working on overcoming procrastination is a process that requires discipline in life. Time management is an important skill you need to avoid procrastination. Especially when they are working on their business, even if it is part-time. Several management strategies and tools can help you manage your time. If you wish to learn more about the same you should take this course on how to start and grow your side hustle.
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