What are you thinking of putting off until tomorrow? What projects have you started but can’t seem to finish? What task on your to-do list keeps rolling over from week to week?
Procrastination may be one of your biggest energy drainers, yet we think it somehow serves a purpose to make life a little more pleasant, by avoiding something we don’t want to do. But instead it adds stress, disorganization, failure and guilt. And the motto of “just do it” may not be the best solution. Other problems procrastination can cause include: missed deadlines, lost opportunities, tardiness, unnecessary expenses and even health and medical problems.
By first understanding and recognizing your own reasons for procrastinating, you can then develop strategies to overcome them. Here are six common causes that stem from the habit of procrastination and suggestions for dealing with them:
Cause of Procrastination
|Too Big: Feeling like a project is too massive and complex to complete||Break task into small pieces; “bite off what you can chew” for today.|
|Indecision: You can’t make up your mind about what to do||Identify what other information you need or what will help you make a decision.|
|Lack of Interest: The task seems boring and tiring, or perhaps was assigned to you||Take it on at your peak to maximize your energy.|
|Distraction, disorganization or poor time management||Clear your environment. Block out a specific amount of time. List by importance or due date or smallest to largest task.|
|Fear of Failure: Lack of self-confidence, or inability to handle the task||Focus on your strengths and the end result. Remind yourself of how good the completion will feel.|
|Perfectionism: Delaying because you want things to be perfect||Relax your expectations of how you feel things “should” be. Set a deadline.|
One of the many benefits of overcoming your avoidance habits includes a sense of energy and enthusiasm that completing the task will trigger. There is a release of endorphins in the brain, causing the experience of a natural high. We all know how great checking an item off our to-do list feels! However, chronic procrastination may be a symptom of a serious underlying problem, such as depression, addiction or an attention disorder. These individuals frequently do not understand why they cannot seem to “get it together,” and can become resigned to a life of struggle, frustration and underachievement. Seeking professional help and support can help individuals focus on the real problems in order to overcome the procrastination behavior.
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