Why do we procrastinate?
If there is one thing most of us are exceptionally good at, it’s the art of procrastinating. Somehow we all seem to have mastered this skill without any training at all. Despite the awareness how damaging it is to keep putting things off, we all find it so challenging to put ourselves together, gather the courage and just get into whatever needs to be done.
But, why? Why does it happen? Are we born slackers, underachievers, or just ignorant? Or is the reason something else?
The biggest reason is that we are too addicted to our comfort zone and simply don’t want to come out of it.
Remember, Lucy? The Hollywood flick starring Scarlett Johansson. In the movie she says something that is quite intriguing, “Learning is always a painful procedure”. May be that’s why we keep delaying things; simply to avoid the pain involved in learning and accomplishing.
Let’s just quickly sum up a few things that are the reasons behind procrastination:
- Fear of the unknown
Each time we think of getting started with a new task there is always fear of the unknown. Will I be able to do it? What if things don’t go as planned? And, if so, won’t my efforts go in vain? What all unperceived challenges lie underneath all of it?
There is always some form of learning in each and everything that we do. So what? Even if things don’t go as planned, won’t you be taking away at least a lesson from it. Besides, failure simply teaches you that a particular method wasn’t the right way to do it. There is no point fearing the unknown.
- Trying to be a perfectionist
We either want things to go just as planned down to the last of the detail, or we don’t want to do it at all. It’s like all or nothing. Well, life is never black or white. It’s always different shades of grey. Don’t be so obsessed with being a perfectionist that you don’t even start things. If you do so, you’ll be sabotaging your own success and growth.
- Looking at a project as one big task
Rome wasn’t built in a day. No project ever is one big task in itself. It is always a series of sequential smaller tasks. The problem is, we try to look at what is to be achieved in one glance. It’s like looking at a delicacy, without thinking of the ingredients that went into it and also forgetting about the cooking process. Don’t do that. Or else, you will never come out of the fear.
- Being too detail-oriented
Even when we have made the first move, we are often so busy trying to iron out the little details that we forget to see the bigger picture. Don’t be a stickler for smaller details. All you need is to get started on things. Once you do that the road ahead will get created on its own. Things will just keeping falling in places and you will keep figuring out everything as it comes. Things aren’t always as you imagine them in your head.
Still wondering how can you come out of this habit of procrastinating?
It’s simple — ‘Follow the 2-minute rule’
Lately, everyone is talking about the 2-minute rule as the ultimate cure for chronic procrastinators who keep putting things off.
So, what this rule is exactly?
The rule implies to spend two minutes doing something that you have been postponing. Just devote this much time. Next thing you know, you are so consumed in the task that delaying it will be the last thing on your mind.
If you really think of it, doing things is not that challenging. The challenging part is to get started with it. Don’t forget that getting started with something new, or just any task is really painful, but yes, it definitely does involve taking away our comfort. It’s taking the first step that sounds most dreadful. Once you have made the first move, it’s all downhill from there.
Just try it for once. You will find yourself going with the flow and you will start to enjoy the work that you had been delaying for simply no reason at all.