20% of the population admits to being chronic procrastinators. This number seems to hold true across cultures. But that 20% is only chronic procrastinators. What about the rest of us who flitter in and out of procrastination mode?
Maybe you don’t procrastinate all the time. Maybe you are a “situational procrastinator” and only don’t get things done when you don’t know what to do. Maybe you are a “thrill seeking procrastinator” and love the rush of adrenaline when you are working on a deadline.
Whatever reason you seem to have for procrastinating, it gets in the way of you accomplishing your tasks, leads to stress, anxiety, insomnia and generally just isn’t good for us. Understanding why we procrastinate can help us to make the changes we need to get off the procrastination train.
3 Reasons Why We Procrastinate –
No Structure – When we don’t have a plan in place or a way of executing our plan we tend to get more distracted. And it is so easy to put it off – “I’ll just check email one more time, then I’ll get started”, we might tell ourselves. Only after checking email we tend to find something else to spend our time on.
Taking the time to plan ahead can help to not let procrastination get in the way. We no longer have the excuse of, “I don’t know what to do” to keep us from getting our tasks completed. One way to do this is to make sure that we close out tabs on our computer and have a list of specific tasks that need to be completed.
Emotional Impact – “It’s just emotion that’s taking me over.”, the Bee Gees sang. We are human and we have feelings. Sometimes these feelings get in the way of getting our things done. Some people are perfectionists and can’t let go of something until it is done to high, sometimes unattainable standards. There can also be the fear of judgment and concern over what people will think about us if we put ourselves and our business out there.
These fears and feelings stop us from doing the things we know we need to do. Taking the time to work through our feelings that lead us to procrastination is paramount in increasing our productivity.
We Think We are Fortune Tellers – Sometimes it is difficult for us to commit to something in the here and now. In a recent Harvard study on procrastination researchers found that if we have a choice to do something now or later we are likely to say we will do it later.
Part of this may stem from the idea that we think the future will be different. We might say, “I don’t feel like doing it now, I’ll do it later.” Only later we still don’t feel like doing it. Or we might think that we don’t have the resources or knowledge to do something now, but we will in the future.
We can only take action in the here and now. Giving ourselves rewards for near and far goals can help motivate us to move ahead. For example, wait until you have finished writing your client notes to check social media. Or go out for dinner after you launch your new product.
Procrastination can be a major issue for us, if we let it. Implementing a structure to our work can help us know what we are doing next. Working through our feelings about the work we are doing can change the speed at which we get projects completed. Know that unless you make changes today the future will hold more of the same for you.
P.S. – Our Back to Productivity School starts September 4th. Sign up to get reminders delivered to your inbox. https://jacjulien.com/back-to-school/