One of the biggest time wasters facing people these days is procrastination. You know someday I’m going to write my book, or someday “I’m going to start a business” or “Someday I’ll prepare a business plan,” or, “Someday I will lose weight, or develop an exercise regime, or … you fill in the blank.
But someday never comes and we don’t fulfill our goals or tasks. Or we leave them to the last minute and we need to rush to get them done and in the process leave some important thing out. Or we wake up in the middle of the night and say, ‘Damn I forgot to do such and such.’
Procrastination can cause: energy drain, sleepless nights, anxiety, frustration, missed deadlines, forgotten tasks, unfulfilled goals, lack of focus and overall stress. Sound familiar?
What should we do to overcome the dreaded procrastination habit? This article deals with four possible causes and what we can do about them.
Before we go into that first ask yourself, "Why are you procrastinating?" Is the problem too big and you can’t get a handle on it? is it fear for what people might say if you do it? Is the issue you don’t know how to do it? Or is it a relationship issue that blocks you from dealing with it?
Whatever causes you to fall prey to procrastination there are solutions to what ails you.
The Problem Is Too Big
If the problem is too big break it down into smaller steps. For instance if you have a week to do something break it down into five steps. Start on Monday and by Friday it’s done.
Big projects often freeze us, but it needn’t be that way. No matter how big the problem break it down into manageable steps, put it on your calendar and work on it piece be piece. Staring at a blank page or computer won’t help.
If it is a task that causes you to procrastinate then put it on your task list for first thing in the morning. Make it a priority to get it done. When we put a task as a priority for first thing in the morning and get it done we no longer have that niggly voice in the back of our head –"Hey you got to do this,” “When are you going to do it” “You know you have to do it.”
The Problem Relates To Fear
Sometimes we hold back from doing something because we are afraid of what people might say? If this is the case you may need to check your misplaced pride or take a hard look at how your ego is getting in the way of progress.
Of course, if what is holding you back is immoral, unethical or a conflict in values, then it is a good thing you are procrastinating. Your 'heart' or 'gut' is telling you not too proceed. When this is the case then this is not procrastinating, your 'better self' is telling you not to go ahead because in the end you will be sorry you did.
Fear also leads to procrastination paralysis. We let procrastination block us and then worry needlessly that we are not getting what we are procrastinating on done.
When psychological fear keeps you from doing something, the question you need to ask ourselves is, “What will really happen if I proceed?” or put another way, “What is my biggest risk?”
Here we are getting at the source of the fear, meeting it head on, and finding a way to get around it, over it or through it. Sometimes our fear leads to more anxiety for us than the what the thing we are procrastinating on is worth.
Fear often is the biggest mouse in the room. Even an elephant is fearful of the smallest of creatures. When fear paralyses you, get to the source of your fear. Talk to a coach, mentor or someone you trust and move past it – again one step at a time.
The Problem Relates To Lack of Skill
The third issue that causes procrastination relates to a knowledge or skill gap - we just don’t know how to complete the task, project or solve the problem. This is much easier to deal with than we think.
Fundamentally we are dealing with a “skill deficiency’ and there are several ways to get around this one: a) ask someone to help you, b) take a course in the area you feel you are lacking – there are courses for just about anything these days, find one that fits you. You can “Google it,” “You Tube it” “take an on-line course” or take a course from a “community college or university”.
In this case we take responsibility for finding solutions, and not giving in to the procrastination game.
The Problem Relates To Relationships.
The Fourth concern relates to the dreaded relationship issue. Relationship issues that produce procrastination often come from several different situations – too many to deal with in this article.
But there are some generic things we can do. For instance we can:
In conclusion there are several reasons why we procrastinate, ranging from too big a problem to fear, a skill gap to relationship issues. There are solutions for each situation if we take the time to uncover what holds us back from proceeding. Find the source and you will find the solution. A solution is much better than the weight of procrastination.
Is it time to find solutions to your procrastination and turn it upside down?
If time management is something you are concerned about let me know below and I will set up an exploration interview with you.
In the meantime stay safe, keep well and continue becoming the best version of yourself.
Thanks for Reading
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