Why Do We Procrastinate and How Can We Stop?
When we work, we usually have the best of intentions. Same goes for other aspects of our lives. Of course there are always things that we simply don’t like doing, but they must be done too. All of these different items end up on one long, or several categorized, to-do list.
Great. So we have it written down, typed up, or in our minds. We even have time to do some of them now. So why do the majority of us wait? Procrastination is a well-known and often practiced “tactic” of waiting until the last minute to get things done. There are several reasons why we procrastinate.
- We aren’t in the mood
It needs to get done. Maybe we even want to do it, as it could be a long-standing goal. However, we aren’t in the mood. We just don’t feel like it right now (or whenever we have the time do it).
- We have too much time
Some people find the busier they are, the more they get done. Those who have too much time on their hands tend to just kick-back—all the time.
- We aren’t sure of how to proceed
This one is for big or challenging projects. They can be off-putting because we don’t feel confident in our ability to complete them or know how to get started.
- We like instant gratification
In a world where we are constantly entertained and our attention spans are dwindling, we don’t exactly enjoy putting in long-term work for a task. We just want it done already so we can feel good.
In general, we all want to improve ourselves. We want to have less stress and worry in our lives, be organized, and accomplish what we set out to do. To do these things, all we have to do is stop procrastinating. Simple, right? Not really. If you’ve tried it before, you know it’s hard. Here are some tips to help lessen procrastination.
- Read self-help books
Books like Eat That Frog are extremely useful and motivating for combating procrastination.
- Break down and prioritize
Take what you need to be done and make into as many steps as possible. Remember the part about instant gratification? Checking things off feels good, so make your to-do list with short term items that will eventually lead to getting that bigger thing done. Also, decide what’s most important in that moment.
- Find your motivation
Find it, and display it. Print out a picture that represents what you are working towards and put it up somewhere where you will always see it.
- Pomodoro technique
This was rather popular a few years back. It involves only a kitchen timer. Set it for 40 minutes and work for that entire time. Take a 5-15 minute break and then reset.
In the end, there is no true answer. It’s simply what works best for you. If you find a way to stop your procrastination, that’s great. If it stops working after awhile, try a different tactic. However, the power of the mind is very strong too. All you have to do is be (and stay) committed.