Everyone procrastinates at some time in their life. As a self employed writer, I am certainly guilty as charged. I have spent many evenings cleaning the kitchen or folding the laundry instead of working on projects with looming deadlines. Through experience I have learned that there are many reason why I, and others, procrastinate and understanding these reasons has given me a new perspective on how to put an end to procrastination. In this article, I will share with you my insight on procrastination including common reasons for procrastination and strategies to eliminate procrastination.
Below are some of the key reasons why people procrastinate and tips for beating the procrastination cycle:
- Complex projects often seem daunting and cause many people to procrastinate. When faced with a project that seems overwhelming in its complexity it is advisable to break the project down into smaller components and tackle each component individually.
- Projects that are viewed as being unpleasant are also often the victim of procrastination. While many people will tackle a task that they enjoy with relish they may consistently delay working on tasks that are less appealing. Although not all tasks are enjoyable, they still need to be completed. To avoid procrastinating in this situation, try implementing a reward system for the completion of an unpleasant task.
- The inability to prioritize also contributes to procrastination. Those who cannot view the tasks at hand and place them into different categories based on their level of importance sometimes have difficulty getting anything done because they are constantly switching from one task to another or trying to decide what to do next. Try making a list of all of your tasks and ranking them in order of importance. Then set a goal of completing a certain number of tasks in the next four hours. After four hours evaluate your progress and reassess the situation based on the remaining tasks.
- The inability to make decisions also contributes to procrastination. Many people simply spend too much time trying to make decisions about their projects. While it is important to weigh your options carefully and make informed decisions, too much time spent wastefully trying to make a decision can cause a significant delay for a project. To avoid this potential problem, set aside some time each day specifically for the purpose of making decisions and set a timeline for yourself to complete the decision making process. This will encourage you to use your time wisely and reach a decision in a timely manner.
- A fear of failure also causes some people to procrastinate. Some people will subconsciously delay the completion of the project because they are nervous about the reaction that their project will elicit. One way to combat this type of procrastination is to visualize yourself succeeding in the project and imagine the steps that you will need to take in order to succeed. Once you have visualized the steps, it is time to act on them.
- Distractions are a major cause of procrastination. Sometimes the temptation to engage in conversation with your coworkers, play games or do other non-work related tasks can be sources of procrastination. Setting up your workspace to minimize distractions and scheduling time to converse with your coworkers will help to prevent procrastination and keep your project on schedule.
I was trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination until I came to realize why I was procrastinating. Once I understood what was causing me to procrastinate, I was able to implement strategies to put an end to my procrastination. Now I am completing tasks more efficiently and have greatly reduced the stress associated with constantly feeling like you are behind schedule.