Procrastination is a common struggle that many of us face when it comes to managing our time effectively. Whether it’s putting off small, medium, or large tasks, we can all relate to the temptation to procrastinate. However, succumbing to procrastination can have detrimental effects on our ability to accomplish our goals and hinder our progress. In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of procrastination, explore its impact on our productivity, and provide practical strategies and ways to overcome procrastination.
What is procrastination
Procrastination is defined as the act of delaying or postponing tasks or activities that need to be completed. This tendency to put off important responsibilities can have negative consequences, leading to increased stress levels, decreased productivity, and missed deadlines. Procrastination can take on many forms and can be caused by a variety of different factors. While procrastination is a common challenge that we all face from time to time, we can overcome procrastination with awareness, determination, and developing new tools and strategies.
The main cause of procrastination
There are several factors that contribute to procrastination. Procrastination doesn’t always mean we’re delaying tasks that we don’t want to do; we can be guilty of procrastinating really great tasks too. Some of the causes of procrastination are:
- Fear of failure: not starting a task because they are afraid of not meeting expectations or making mistakes.
- Lack of motivation: not feeling the desire or interest in taking on specific tasks.
- Feeling overwhelmed: when being faced with a bunch of tasks it can be overwhelming to know how to get started and thus we don’t do anything
- Perfectionism: feeling like everything needs to be perfect before we can actually get started.
- Impatience: refusing to allocate the time needed in order to accomplish the large tasks
The reason why we are procrastinating at our core is because we are trying to avoid something. When you’re able to understand and identify the cause of your procrastination, you can then make steps towards overcoming it in order to continue working towards your goals.
Does procrastination mean being lazy?
While both procrastination and laziness can be a hindrance to your productivity, procrastination is not the same thing as being lazy. Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing tasks or activities that need to be completed. When you’re procrastinating, you’re intentionally putting off work due to a variety of factors. Things like fear of failure, lack of motivation, feeling overwhelmed, and perfectionism. If you’re a procrastinator, you’re still capable of completing your tasks. You just struggle with managing your time or prioritizing your tasks effectively. Instead, your focus should be working towards building better habits to improve your productivity.
Laziness, on the other hand, refers to a lack of desire or effort to engage in any productive activity. It involves a reluctance to exert oneself or engage in tasks that require mental or physical effort. It is also characterized by a consistent pattern of avoiding work or responsibilities without a specific reason or underlying task to be completed. Laziness can hinder personal growth, limit achievement, and negatively impact your quality of life. Laziness also requires making a conscious effort to overcome, however, it starts with first overcoming a lack of motivation.
6 Ways to beat and overcome procrastination
Despite its negative impact, procrastination is a behavior that can be overcome. By implementing effective strategies and developing good habits, individuals can break free from the cycle of procrastination and enhance their productivity. Here are some things tips that I recommend:
- Understand why you’re procrastinating
- Get clear on your goals
- Break down large tasks into small chunks
- Create routines
- Just start
- Give yourself grace
Understand why you’re procrastinating
Awareness is the first crucial step to moving forward and overcoming procrastination. As we discussed earlier, there are various factors that can contribute to our tendency to procrastinate. By gaining a deep understanding of the root cause of our procrastination, we can effectively pinpoint the changes and strategies needed to propel ourselves toward progress and increased productivity.
Get clear on your goals
Having clear goals is a great way to help you stay on track, avoid and overcome procrastination. Establishing specific objectives and giving yourself reasonable milestones and deadlines can help you stay motivated because you know what you’re working towards. When you are setting goals ensure that you are being specific. Make sure that your goals are measurable and achievable as well as relevant to what you aim to accomplish overall. As you regularly check in with yourself and see how you are progressing towards your goals, you’ll be more motivated to get the work done that is needed to help you reach them.
Break down large tasks into small chunks
If the reason why you’re procrastinating is because you’re feeling overwhelmed, then breaking your tasks down into large chunks is going to be a great strategy for you. When you see a large task on your to-do list, ask yourself, “What is the smallest thing that I can get done that will move the needle?” and keep working from there. Your larger tasks on your to-do list are usually things that realistically you could not do within one sitting, so remove the thought of that by starting as small as you possibly can. Breaking down large tasks allows you to stay focused longer because you’re only focused on one little piece at a time thereby reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Routines are a great way to combine things that you like doing with things that you don’t like doing. Stacking 3-5 habits together will ensure you’re getting the things that you need to get done in addition to the things that you are already doing. For example, let’s say that you are working on a book but you keep procrastinating working on it. Consider creating a morning routine that includes all of the things you normally would do in the morning with the additional add-on of writing for 30 minutes every day. Making your writing a habit that can be a part of a routine that you already have or are trying to incorporate will help make sure that you are still progressing toward your goal and can make working on your book less and less overwhelming.
If you struggle with perfectionism or are afraid to fail, my advice to you is to just start. It’s okay that the first time isn’t good. That gives you something to work with. When you’re trying to do something that is uncomfortable or new, it’s normal to have those feelings of anxiety or fear. However, you can’t let that stop you. One thing I always like to remind myself is that “done is better than perfect”. When you actually get started, you’ll find that you’re going to be more motivated to continue because you’ll realize that the thing that you were trying to start is actually a lot more manageable than you could’ve imagined.
Give yourself grace
Grace is something that we don’t talk about enough. While grace is something that we’re not always going to get from other people, it’s something that we can always give to ourselves. In the past few years, we have seen so much loss, pain, and suffering in the world in addition to what may be going on in each of our personal lives. One thing that I’ve learned is that the world is not going to stop for you no matter what you’re going through. So even though not every day is going to be your best day for productivity, it doesn’t take away from all the work you’ve been doing before. Do the best with what you can and know that there will be better days ahead.
Books to help you stop and overcome procrastination
If you’re looking to start building better habits and routines so that you can stop procrastinating. Here are some books that I recommend:
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work by Josh Davis
- The 7-Minute Productivity Solution: How to Manage Your Schedule, Overcome Distraction, and Achieve the Results You Want
Procrastination is a common challenge that many individuals face. However, with awareness, determination, and the implementation of effective strategies, it is possible to overcome procrastination and increase productivity. By understanding the underlying causes and developing good habits and routines, you can take control of their time and achieve your goals more efficiently. If you are ready to take control of your life and reach your full potential, then you just need a system and routine in place that can set you up for success. Sign up for a consult call today!