Procrastination Is The Killer Of Time
Why We Do It And What We Can Do About It
Do you have tasks that need to be accomplished that you don’t want to do? If so, you aren’t alone.
We all procrastinate from time to time.
According to Piers Steel, who is the author of The Procrastination Equation, about 95% of people admit to putting off work.
It’s no surprise that procrastination is a productivity killer.
Procrastination keeps people from completing important tasks. If you aren’t taking action then you are falling behind.
This is a recipe for disaster.
The negative impacts of procrastination include diminished performance, poorer mental and physical health, and increased stress, worry, and guilt.
When procrastination becomes a bad habit, you need to step back and ask yourself why you are doing it.
In the words of Christopher Parker, “Procrastination is a like a credit card. It’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
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The question remains, “Why do we struggle with procrastination?”
Longitudinal studies of procrastination have indicated that it “appears to be a self-defeating behavior pattern marked by short-term benefits and long-term costs.”
Everyone procrastinates for different reasons. The key to overcoming it is to identify the reason why you are doing it, and take action to change it.
Here are 3 (of many) reasons why we procrastinate.
1. Desire For Perfectionism
When procrastination and perfectionism join forces, chaos ensues.
Perfectionists are terrified of making a mistake. As a result, sometimes it can feel safer for them to not take any action at all.
Because they believe that they will be a failure if a task is not done perfectly, they convince themselves that it’s best to put it off until another time.
According to Hillary Rettig, the author of The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block, people who procrastinate due to perfectionism tend to have a fixed mindset.
Perfectionists tend to self-sabotage and have unrealistic expectations of themselves, which causes them to have the mindset that growth is impossible.
When they aren’t able to meet their standards of perfection, their intelligence is brought into question, which can crush their self-esteem.
In the words of Robert Hillyer, “Perfectionism is a dangerous state of mind in an imperfect world.”
Don’t wait for something to be perfect, because perfection doesn’t exist.
2. Lack Of Motivation
Have you ever tried to do something that you have zero interest in? It’s hard, right? It all comes down to perceived value.
A study done at Carnegie Melon University revealed that people lack motivation when they find little value in the projected outcome of their work.
When are you aren’t motivated to do something, it can be easy to fall into a procrastination trap. The desire to make any change at all fades away and you are left feeling depleted.
Eventually, this can cause people to put something on the back burner or give up on it altogether.
The question remains, “How do you find your motivation?” Tony Robbins suggests starting off by asking yourself 3 questions:
What do I really want?
What is my purpose?
What do I need to do?
The order is important, because if you don’t know what you want and why you want it, then you won’t take action to make it a part of your reality.
3. Not Knowing How Or Where To Start
Sometimes a task can appear so overwhelming that our brains go into information overload. When this happens, we don’t even know how or where to start.
When you can’t figure out how to do something, it’s easy to get frustrated and give up. If our monkey mind tells us that we can’t do it, then it must be true, right?
Wrong. Drop this story.
Sometimes we overestimate how many things that we can accomplish in a given day.
Are you setting SMART goals? These are goals that are smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. If a task doesn’t check off all of these boxes, it can be easy to procrastinate.
Make a list every morning and decide which task is going to require the most effort to complete. This is usually your most important task, also known as, the one that you will procrastinate on the most.
Mark Twain calls this “eating your frog.” He says that,
“If the first thing you do in the morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you. Your frog is your worst task, and you should do it first thing in the morning.”
If you are able to crush your most difficult task right away, then you will feel confident enough to take on easier ones.
Don’t allow procrastination to take over your life and kill your precious time. When you know the reason why you are procrastinating, you become empowered to change your habits.
Putting it off doesn’t make it go away. Getting it done does.
— Ned Hallowell, Driven to Distraction
Are you ready to shift into action mode?
Thank you for reading!
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