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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

Why You Procrastinate: 7 Possible Reasons You Can’t Get Anything Done

Why You Procrastinate: 7 Possible Reasons You Can’t Get Anything Done

If you can’t get anything done, you need to confront these seven harsh truths that reveal why you procrastinate.

1. You let distractions interrupt you constantly.

I’d like to emphasize the word LET. People like to complain about how “distracted” they are, and most of them aren’t willing to accept that they are responsible for that reality.

No one is holding a gun to your head and demanding you to answer texts the second you receive them or accept more responsibilities than you could possibly handle.

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If you feel overwhelmed, you need to deal with the fact that it is your fault. I don’t say this to judge you, because I’ve been guilty of both those things myself, but you need to accept personal responsibility; if you can’t do that, don’t even bother reading the rest of this article. 

2. You brag about your ability to “multitask.”

Focus is a skill that is in short supply in the information age. Everyone is so obsessed with doing more things that they never stop to consider the fact that it might be more productive to do fewer things more effectively.

How productive would it be to take a customer phone call while performing a transaction in person if juggling those two things results in mistakes that otherwise could have been avoided? How efficient is it to stop writing an article or essay every five minutes to answer a text that isn’t urgent? How successful do you think you will be if you’re so accustomed to distraction, that you don’t even know what concentration feels like?

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If you really think multitasking is a good idea, I dare you to answer those questions to prove me wrong.

3. You think long and hard, but don’t do much.

Planning is a prerequisite for long-term success, but as the saying goes, “there can always be too much of a good thing.” The best plan in the world is worthless if you never take action. George Patton summarized this point nicely when he said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

4. You blame your problems on other people.

If you get upset when another person gets a promotion instead of you, I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to cry me a river. Look — even if you deserved the position, how productive is it to gossip about another person? If anything, you’ll just alienate that coworker and make yourself look like a sore loser, which isn’t going to help your cause the next time you pursue an opportunity for advancement.

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5. You obsess over stuff you have no control over.

“Obsessing over things I can’t do anything about sure makes me feel better about myself,” said nobody — anywhere — ever. Do NOT fall into this trap, because it will only result in self-inflicted stress and regret.

6. You can’t say “no” to anything, ever.

While it’s great to have friends you love to hang out with, you can’t expect to achieve anything worth talking about if you spend all of your time with other people. Highly effective hustlers know they must spend the occasional night working alone if they want to achieve their goals.

7. You read articles like this all the time, but never actually apply them.

I love to read, because it gives me the opportunity to discover new thoughts and ideas that challenge me to grow; however, the best self-help article in the world can’t save you if you’re not willing to implement the material in your life. Leave a comment below telling us how you’re going to take action.

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And if you’d like to help your fellow procrastinators who can’t get anything done, make sure to check out this article too: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Zohre Nemati via unsplash.com

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today Why Instant Gratification is the Villain of Success How To Be Happy Alone and Enjoy Life Why You Procrastinate: 7 Possible Reasons You Can’t Get Anything Done 9 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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