Have you ever suffered from procrastination?

You’ve got so many things to do and yet you find yourself doing pretty much anything but the task at hand!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve done many mundane things that usually don’t get the time of day – all due to procrastination! I’ve cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, cleared out my email folders, cleared out the wardrobe, all things that aren’t really that urgent or important in my life – they just serve as a distraction so I don’t have to get on with those big tasks I’m avoiding.

Sound familiar?

There really is nothing more debilitating than being caught in the grips of procrastination. It stops us from focusing on what’s truly important to us, which can for many, lead to an unhappy, unproductive life.

To beat procrastination, first we must understand what the triggers are – and why we bother to procrastinate at all. There are a few common errors people make that can lead them down a destructive path of procrastination.

Have a look at the below list to see if any of the errors sound familiar to you. Fear not — there are also some tips for overcoming these errors, so read on…

1. Fear of failure

If we fear that there’s a chance we may fail at something, it’s common for us to put off even trying. Yet what we don’t realise is that failure is a good thing! It provides us wiht valuable feedback so we can move on and learn from our mistakes. All the greats have learned to love failure. It’s important to spend some time changing your attitude to failure so this no longer affects your goals.

2. Feeling overwhelmed about a situation

This is related to ‘fear of failure’. If we feel that a task is just too big or too overwhelming then again, we will make up excuses to try and avoid tackling it. One thing you can do is to break down big tasks into ‘bite size chunks’. By tackling a big task, one step at a time you will feel less overwhelm.

3. Too busy with other things

Often we are unrealistic about what’s achievable. We can take on too many things yet plan a really big goal that ultimately needs more time than is available. We need to make sure we have enough time & energy before we take on a new task. This may mean we need to remove other smaller, insignificant tasks form our list to make room.

4. Lack of confidence in the task at hand

If at some level we don’t really believe we can do the task, we will put it off. This links to the first point; fear of failure is really the biggest trigger for procrastination. If you have any doubt in your mind then it’s highly likely you will find other things to do! Make sure you have built up your confidence before attempting a goal!

5. How important is the task?

This is a big one. Many people will set themselves a goal – but it turns out they’re not really that bothered about it. It’s essential you get clear about why you have set yourself goals and what the benefit is for you to complete them! If at a subconscious level you’re not really sure why you’re doing something, your brain will just decide for its self that it’s not that important and therefore demote it to the bottom of your priorities. The best thing you can do is prioritise your goals and then cross off those items that aren’t that important. This will free you up to focus on the goals that really matter.

6. Is the task really for you or for someone else?

When we are young we pick up certain behaviours and attitudes form our parents. It can be common when we reach adulthood to carry these attitudes with us – yet they are not ours and they are not really important to us. So, when we set a goal – sometimes it can be someone else’s goal. This makes it very hard to achieve because on some level we don’t really want it. You see this with young adults who have taken a career path into law because their father was a great lawyer. They are doing it for their father and not themselves and at some stage they end up sabotaging the career. Make sure your goals are your goals and no one else’s.

7. Lack of Focus

If you surround yourself with distractions then the temptation to procrastinate is much higher! It’s essential you remove ALL unwanted distractions so you have the space to focus on the task at hand! Yes — this means no television, no Facebook, no mobile phone and no emails — unless these things help you to focus. Believe me, the world will not end if you ‘turn everything off’ for an hour so you can focus!

(Photo credit: Snooze Button via Shutterstock)

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