7 Reasons why people procrastinate
Procrastination means putting something that we know we need to do. Most of us procrastinate to some extent. We have all said “I’ll do it later” or “I must get around to doing that”. But some people habitually procrastinate to such an extent that tasks build up their lives become very stressful.
Procrastination often amounts to deliberately avoiding having to confront our fears. Procrastination flourishes into optimal conditions. First, when the task is not urgent-we do not have to do it right now-there is time to do it in the future. Second, when there is something more pleasurable to do now. Procrastination is usually about putting pleasure before pain.
1) Lacking a sense of mastery
You may hold the attitude that successful people achieve their goals without frustration and self-doubt. When the going gets tough you think, “this is not how it should be, this is wrong” and give up. Whereas people who are consistently successful have a ‘sense of mastery’ and assume that life will be a tough frustrating struggle, to be mastered. So, when they encounter obstacles they just carry on because that’s what they expect.
2) Assume you have to be in the mood
Procrastinators often think, “I don’t feel like it, I’ll wait until I’m in the mood”. But with some tasks that are boring or too demanding, you will never feel in the mood. Successful people will often put action before motivation. Once you get started and begin to feel a sense of accomplishment it spurs you on to do more.
3) Fear of failure
You may leave the task until the last minute and then say, “I didn’t have enough time to do it properly”. By doing so you give yourself an excuse and protect yourself from the reality that your best effort might not have been good enough. Alternatively, if you are something of a perfectionist, you may think “I do not want to start unless I can do it properly or perfectly-otherwise I will feel like a failure”.
4) Fear of rejection or intimacy
You may avoid inviting friends around, or making a telephone call, in case you get rejected. Alternatively, you may not feel comfortable with the other person getting to know you. Procrastination helps you maintain a safe emotional distance, allowing you to avoid revealing yourself to others.
5) Fear of success
If you do it really well you may draw attention to yourself or create more work for yourself.
6) Getting back at somebody
You may be putting something off as a way of getting back at somebody. If you’re feeling bossed around or coerced into doing something, your procrastination may be an indirect way of expressing anger or rebelling.
7) Lack of commitment
You may simply not consider the task important enough to put in the effort. Alternatively, you may think “it’s an unpleasant task and I would prefer to do something else”.
Procrastination leads to an accumulation of stress and pressure. Try chunking as a way of eating into your daily tasks. Instead of looking at the insurmountable amount of work that needs to be done, break the workload down into smaller manageable tasks. This way, the work ahead will seem less overwhelming and more manageable.
Watch out for the next post on this blog as it deals with ways to overcome procrastination.