delay or postpone action; put off doing something.
“the temptation will be to procrastinate until the power struggle plays itself out”
delay, put off doing something, postpone action, defer action, be dilatory, use delaying tactics, stall, temporize.
It is no secret that procrastination is a huge enemy of the achievement of goals and dreams. I would know, I almost procrastinated writing and publishing this blog post.
If you’re an avid procrastinator, you’ve probably asked yourself why you procrastinate so much. Then again, you’ve probably procrastinated with coming up with an answer to that question. In the alternative, you may have just given up altogether, accepting your fate and dwelling in your cave of procrastination.
The reality is that sometimes, we do not know why we delay getting things done. You may or may not have accepted the fact that you procrastinate but if you are constantly putting things off or delaying some tasks because “you’re not ready” or “it’s not that good” or you need to “put some finishing touches”, I am here to let you know that you are procrastinating.
Now, here are some reasons why you procrastinate:
Fear of failure or being criticised: This is legit one of the most common reasons why we tend to put off goals or tasks. You may be scared of the outcome, of putting in the work towards a certain goal and coming up short. You may be scared of external judgment or negative criticism that, let’s face it, does not always feel good. Thoughts like “what if it doesn’t work?” “would people like it?” “What if I fail?” “What would people say about this?” constantly plague your mind.
Lack of Motivation: You may delay getting things done because you really do not have the motivation to get them done right now. Or, in simpler terms, you’re not just in the mood.
Mental or Physical Exhaustion: Another possible reason could be that you’re stressed out and are just plain exhausted physically, emotionally and/or mentally. Your brain and/or body cannot take up any more tasks for now and so you keep pushing things that need to be done away.
Overwhelmed: You may have some huge goals and plans that leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. You do not know where to start so you keep delaying until you “figure it out”.
Indecisiveness: You are indecisive about what goals you want to achieve and keep going back and fourth. You are yet to make a decision and so it’s best to put it off till later until you can “come up with a substantial decision”.
Prioritisation of immediate feelings: You keep choosing how you feel in the moment over the long term results and do not delay gratification. If it makes you feel good now, you’ll do it. This is why you spend more time Netflix and Chilling than actually working towards your goals…and then later complain that you do not have enough time to get things done.
You do not believe in your capabilities: You feel that you are not good enough, not ready or not as qualified as some people seem to be. You keep waiting to be qualified or have the right experience before you take action. So in your opinion, it’s best to “wait till everything is perfect; the timing, your qualification and the tasks themselves“. This is why you keep putting off publishing that book, updating your CV and applying for that job, taking that course or just putting content out there on social media.
Other reasons could be that you’re going through depression, may have an attention deficit disorder and get bored easily or may fear that you will sabotage yourself in working towards your tasks.
If you have admitted to yourself that you procrastinate most times and may very well fall into one of these categories above, then congratulations. That is the first step. It is important that you identify what your “reason” is for procrastinating so that you can effectively deal with it.
So how can you overcome procrastinating? Here are 5 simple ways you can try:
Break huge goals/tasks into smaller tasks: By doing this you’re not as overwhelmed or confused at where you need to start. Break goals down into smaller tasks and the smaller ones into smaller ones. Tackle smaller ones daily and set realistic deadlines for yourself.
Reward yourself for the accomplishment of smaller tasks: Do not wait until you hit a “milestone” or till you achieve a huge goal before you can celebrate. Celebrate little victories and plan to reward yourself for the accomplishment of smaller tasks no matter how insignificant they may seem. This gives you something to look forward to and may give you the much needed motivation to get things done.
Get motivated!: If you lack motivation to get things done right now and stop putting things off, get motivated! External sources of motivation help, but at the end of the day, you are your most valuable asset, so motivate yourself as well! Listen to motivating music, watch inspirational videos, listen to inspirational/motivational podcasts, watch/read about the progress stories or people in your field you admire and surround yourself with like-minded or motivated people.
Identify your most and least productive periods of the day: This would help you with scheduling, planning and strategising on when and how to tackle tasks. It will also help achieve more within a little time. During your most productive periods of the day, eliminate any form of distractions that may threaten to slow you down…basically, turn off your notifications.
Realize that there is no perfect time: Avoid the perfectionist mindset. There is no perfect time. And if there was a perfect time, the perfect time would be now! You do not have to be good enough to start working towards your goals and dreams. Remember that people are learning as they go and are making it.
Develop in your ability to overcome procrastination and achieve your goals: Most importantly, believe in yourself. You are amazing and can achieve whatever you put your mind to. Stop doubting yourself and your capabilities. Stop talking down to yourself or waiting to be the smartest in the room.
One of the most important things I’m learning right now, which may be of benefit to you, is that my worth is not tied to my achievements.
“You are still worthy even if you do nothing.“
So when you take that big leap and people judge, give their feedback or criticism, remember to separate it from you. It is the work they criticise, not you.
So what are you waiting for? Get to work!
I hope this was helpful in some way. Let me know why you procrastinate in the comments and if you’re working on overcoming, let me know what you do to overcome procrastination!
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