Everyone procrastinates. Since the dawn of time, people have been putting things off.
Sometimes, procrastinating is harmless. Take for instance the laundry. No one likes doing the laundry, and as long as you’re not starting to re-wear clothes that have started to get a bit stinky, you’ll still be a functioning member of society if you put off the laundry for a few hours (or days).
In order to research this topic, I procrastinated writing this article until I was getting pretty close to the deadline (to my editors: ha, I’m kidding. Please keep me on staff). And you know what? Even though I put it off a little bit (again, totally for research purposes), it’s still getting done.
Here are nine reasons other than article research that you might find yourself procrastinating:
1. You want to control everything.
If you put things off, they can’t go wrong! Right?
Unfortunately, you can’t put things off forever.
By procrastinating, you hold the most control over whatever task you’re working on. However, this also means, obviously, that that particular task isn’t being done.
2. You see a task as one big project.
Honestly, almost everything we do can be broken down into little manageable parts.
Take, for instance, the laundry that I mentioned above. If the laundry seems like a daunting task to you, break it down into steps. Collect all your dirty clothes. Separate colors and whites. Put your clothes on a wash cycle. Put them in the dryer. Fold them.
Laundry is obviously a basic example, but this can apply to a number of situations. By breaking things down into parts, you’ll find the task much more doable.
3. You’re a perfectionist.
Sometimes, being a perfectionist works in your favor. However, it can be tempting to put things off or delay completing tasks simply because you’re worried about the outcome being less than perfect.
Just remember that it’s okay if things don’t turn out exactly how you had them in your head.
Plus, a completed, albeit imperfect, task is better than an uncompleted task.
4. You’re worried about failing.
It can be tempting to procrastinate tasks because of a fear of failing. Of course you cannot fail at something when you don’t do it at all.
Unfortunately, this is an unproductive way of thinking.
Facing your fear of failure will help you eventually overcome that fear, or learn to manage it.
So next time you think about putting something off simply to avoid potential failure, tackle it head on. You’ll grow as a person from the experience.
5. You don’t have a lot of self-control.
There are definitely varying levels of self-control. Everyone is different. However, there is a point in which your self-control can get in the way of productivity.
Procrastinating comes easier to people who naturally do not have the discipline to complete tasks in a timely and organized manner.
6. You don’t make lists.
Procrastination can come as a result of something falling through the cracks. If you put something off and then forget to write down that you need to do it later, it’s possible that you could entirely forget about the first task.
If you’re a forgetful person, make a to-do list with all your tasks on it, and only cross them off when they’re 100% completed.
7. You underestimate time commitments.
It can be discouraging when a project takes you two weeks to complete when you thought it would take one.
If you consistently estimate time commitments incorrectly, it might be causing you to procrastinate more than you would otherwise.
It’s tempting to put things off if you think you have the time, but realizing you don’t have as much time as you thought can cause serious scrambling to get things done.
8. You’ve (just barely) gotten by.
Procrastinating a task does not always equate to worse work. Some people work very well under pressure and can produce very good work, while others are simply lucky .
Eventually there will come a time when procrastinating doesn’t go so well. Be mindful of the quality of your work and make sure your last-minute rush doesn’t show.
9. You’re lazy.
This is the number one reason that most of us procrastinate. We just don’t feel like doing whatever it is we’re putting off. Being lazy doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.
It’s totally okay for you to sometimes lounge around and watch TV rather than mow the lawn. Just don’t let that behavior become habitual.
So here you go, 9 most common reasons why people procrastinate. If you can relate yourself to one of these reasons, it’s time to take actions and beat procrastination.
Take a look at Lifehack’s CEO Leon’s guide on procrastination:
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