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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

7 Symptoms of Procrastination and How to Fight Them

7 Symptoms 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

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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 March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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