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Last Updated on June 2, 2020

7 Characteristics of Procrastination (And How to Fight Them)

7 Characteristics of Procrastination (And How to Fight Them)

We all do it to some degree or another; put off for tomorrow what we know should be done today. Postpone the inevitable pain for the current moment of pleasure. But we know that even if we can manage to put it out of our minds for the present, it will eventually come around and bite us on the butt and disturb our external calm demeanor.

Below are some of the symptoms of a procrastinator and the remedies to try.

1. Lack of Vision

Not having a clear vision for the future is one of the biggest reasons people procrastinate. If you can’t see the benefits of completing certain tasks why would you bother starting them?

Remedy

Have a clear picture of all that needs to be achieved and the reasons why, you are much more likely to be motivated to get going and get things done.

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2. Lack of Time

Lack of time is the most popular excuse banded about for not getting things done. But fortunately there are very few people in this world that don’t have the scope for becoming at least 10% more efficient. Being busy doesn’t equate to being efficient. Regularly when someone lacks time in their lives, it is due to poor organization skills, poor prioritization or the inability to say no.

Remedy

Learn to become more efficient with one’s time. This can free up many hours a week to get the more important stuff done.

3. Lack of Organization

The infamous words of Peter Druker say it clearly “Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail”. If you are disorganized and don’t keep a schedule you are likely to forget tasks and miss deadlines.

Remedy: Keeping a schedule will help you to track all the tasks that you have to do and ensure that tasks aren’t forgotten.

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4. Tiredness

Some will use the excuse of being too tired to get started. Many people delay and procrastinate on their home duties because they are too tired when they get home from work.

Remedy

Find out the reason for your tiredness. Are you eating right? Are you exercising? Not getting enough sleep? Find your reason and try to remedy it by changing your ways.

5. Fear

Fear of the outcome can be another delaying factor. Some people fear failure; they won’t be able to do the task to a good enough standard so they delay in getting started. Others — believe it or not — fear success. They may know that by completing a certain task, the outcome may lead them places they are unsure they want to go.

Remedy

Become clear about the consequences of completing or not completing a task.

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“Clarity brings Power” — Anthony Robins

6. Easily Distracted

In the modern age we are bombarded with technology and external stimulation that it becomes more difficult to stay focused.

Remedy

Turn of email notifications and only check emails at allocated times during your day. Switch off your phone and allow messages to go to voicemail. Close your office door and let people know you are not to be disturbed. Remember to stay in control of your technology and not let it control you.

7. Feeling Overwhelmed

Some tasks at hand can make us feel overwhelmed, mostly because we don’t know how to get started.

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Remedy

Break it down into bite sized chunks. Then break it down even more. Plan each part of the task so that you are focusing on completing the sub task rather than the overall task. This helps to feel in control and not overwhelmed. Zoom in and zoom out every now and again to make sure you are moving forward with the overall task.

But the best and simplest advice is to make a start on any important task. No matter how small or how insignificant in the overall picture, just get moving. In keeping with the laws of physics — “An object in motion tends to stay in motion” — you can start to get rid of procrastination by moving forward.

If you want to learn more about procrastination, check out What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

More by this author

Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on November 12, 2020

15 Reasons Why You Can’t Achieve Your Goals

15 Reasons Why You Can’t Achieve Your Goals

The truth about many of our failed goals is that we haven’t achieved them because we didn’t know how to set and accomplish goals effectively, rather than having not had enough willpower, determination, or fortitude. There are strings of mistakes standing in our way of accomplished goals. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to fall victim to these mistakes for 2015. There are many common mistakes we make with setting goals, but there are also surefire ways to fix them too.

Goal Setting

1. You make your goals too vague.

Instead of having a vague goal of “going to the gym,” make your goals specific—something like, “run a mile around the indoor track each morning.”

2. You have no way of knowing where you are with your goals.

It’s hard to recognize where you are at reaching your goal if you have no way of measuring where you are with it. Instead, make your goal measurable with questions such as, “how much?” or “how many?” This way, you always know where you stand with your goals.

3. You make your goals impossible to reach.

If it’s impossible of reaching, you’re simply not going to reach for it. Sometimes, our past behavior can predict our future behavior, which means if you have no sign of changing a behavior within a week, don’t set a goal that wants to accomplish that. While you can do many things you set your mind to, it’ll be much easier if you realize your capabilities, and judge your goals from there.

4. You only list your long-term goals.

Long-term goals tend to fizzle out because we’re stuck on the larger view rather than what we need to accomplish in the here and now to get there. Instead, list out all the short-term goals involved with your long-term goal. For instance, if you want to seek a publisher for a book you’ve written, your short-term goals might involve your marketing your writing and writing for more magazines in order to accomplished your goal of publishing. By listing out the short-term goals involved with your long-term goal, you’ll focus more on doing what’s in front of you.

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5. You write your goals as negative statements.

It’s hard to reach a goal that’s worded as, “don’t fall into this stupid trap.” That’s not inspiring, and when you’re first starting out, you need inspiration to stay committed to your goal. Instead, make your goals positive statements, such as, “Be a friend who says yes more” rather than, “Stop being an idiot to your friends.”

6. You leave your goals in your head.

Don’t keep your goals stuck in your head. Write them down somewhere and keep them visible. It’s a way making your goals real and holding yourself accountable for achieving them.

Achieving Goals

7. You only focus on achieving one goal at a time, and you struggle each time.

In order to keep achieving your goals, one right after the others, you need to build the healthy habits to do so. For instance, if you want to write a book, developing a habit of writing each morning. If you want to lose weight and eventually run a marathon, develop a habit of running each morning. Focus on buildign habits, and your other goals in the future will come easier.

Studies show that it takes about 66 days on average to change or develop a habit.[1] If you focus on forming one habit every 66 days, that’ll get you closer to accomplishing your goals, and you’ll also build the capability to achieve more and more goals later on with the help of your newly formed habits.

8. You live in an environment that doesn’t support your goals.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in their book, The One Thing, state that environments are made up of people and places. They state that these two factors must line up to support your goals. Otherwise, they would cause friction to your goals. So make sure the people who surround you and your location both add something to your goals rather than take away from them.

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9. You get stuck on the end result with your goals.

James Clear brilliantly suggests that our focus should be on the systems we implement to reach our goals rather than the actual end result. For instance, if you’re trying to be healthier with your diet, focus more on sticking to your diet plan rather than on your desired end result. It’ll keep you more concentrated on what’s right in front of you rather than what’s up in the sky.

Keeping Motivated

10. You get discouraged with your mess-ups.

When I wake up each morning, I focus all my effort in building a small-win for myself. Why? Because we need confidence and momentum if we want to keep plowing through the obstacles of accomplishing our goals. Starting my day with small wins helps me forget what mess-ups I had yesterday, and be able to reset.

Your win can be as small as getting out of bed to writing a paragraph in your book. Whatever the case may be, highlight the victories when they come along, and don’t pay much attention to whatever mess-ups happened yesterday.

11. You downplay your wins.

When a win comes along, don’t downplay it or be too humble about it. Instead, make it a big deal. Celebrate each time you get closer to your goal with either a party or quality time doing what you love.

12. You get discouraged by all the work you have to do for your goals.

What happens when you focus on everything that’s in front of you is that you can lose sight of the big picture—what you’re actually doing this for and why you want to achieve it. By learning how to filter the big picture through your every day small goals, you’ll be able to keep your motivation for the long haul. Never let go of the big picture.

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13. You waste your downtime.

When I take a break, I usually fill my downtime with activities that further me toward my goals. For instance, I listen to podcasts about writing or entrepreneurship during my lunch times. This keeps my mind focused on the goal, and also utilizes my downtime with motivation to keep trying for my goals.

Wondering what you can do during your downtime? Here’re 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time.

14. You have no system of accountability.

If you announce your goal publicly, or promise to offer something to people, those people suddenly depend on your accomplishment. They are suddenly concerned for your goals, and help make sure you achieve them. Don’t see this as a burden. Instead, use it to fuel your hard work. Have people depend on you and you’ll be motivated to not let them down.

15. You fall victim to all your negative behaviors you’re trying to avoid with your goals.

Instead of making a “to-do” list, make a list of all the behaviors, patterns, and thinking you need to avoid if you ever want to reach your goal. For instance, you might want to chart down, “avoid Netflix” or “don’t think negatively about my capability.” By doing this, you’ll have a visible reminder of all the behavior you need to avoid in order to accomplish your goals. But make sure you balance this list out with your goals listed as positive statements.

How To Stop Failing Your Goal?

If you want to stop failing your goal and finally reach it, don’t miss these actionable tips explained by Jade in this episode of The Lifehack Show:

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Bottom Line

Overcoming our mistakes is the first step to building healthy systems for our goals. If you find one of these cogs jamming the gears to your goal-setting system, I hope you follow these solutions to keep your system healthy and able to churn out more goals.

Make this year where you finally achieve what you’ve only dreamed of.

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Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

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