Do you ever ask yourself why you can’t just get things done? If you’re prone to procrastination, then I’m sure this thought comes along pretty regularly. I often hear people saying things like ‘I wish I could just get on with it when I need to, as once I do it I’m fine and it’s not hard’ or ‘even if I have a deadline, I put it off until the last minute and then have a huge rush and pressure to get it done’. Over the next few weeks, we will be bringing you a series of blogs on procrastination and productivity, all designed to help you understand your personal productivity, and helping you to get more done! In this first instalment, we bring you 15 reasons why you procrastinate in the first place!
So why do people procrastinate?
The dictionary definition of procrastination is:
the act or habit of procrastination, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention
But we all know that procrastination stops us from moving forward. So why do people not just get on with things? Well, there are reasons. In fact, there are many, many reasons that can get in the way of our productivity and lead us into huge procrastination. Have a read through and let us know which resonate the most with you!
1. Getting distracted
Some tasks don’t need to take us that long. But in this age of technology and the juggling of different roles in our lives, we have endless distraction. If we don’t set ourselves up for some distraction-free time, it can be extremely tough to get through a task without procrastinating.
2. Lacking motivation
Sometimes we are just not motivated! We have nothing pushing us forward and getting us to focus on the task at hand. It could even be that the task really is time sensitive, but we still lack the drive to get it done. This can be worse when the task we have to complete is for someone else’s benefit, or is not something we ourselves have decided to do. So, if we have to produce a report that someone else has asked for, but we have no interest in it ourselves and it won’t benefit us in any way, we’re more likely to procrastinate. We may also have other tasks that need attention and are more enjoyable or gratifying in some way so those take the front seat.
3. Lacking self-discipline
It could be that the project or task you need to be getting on with is actually enjoyable, and perfectly do-able for you. But the call of scrolling through Instagram or even putting the washing on just won’t leave you alone. Procrastination is not having the control to move past that moment.
4. Lack of confidence
This one leads to so much procrastination – sometimes to the point of never moving forward with your plans at all. Confidence and related issues such as Imposter Syndrome, affect most of us at some point or other. When you doubt yourself and feel you want to hide, it can make moving forward with certain tasks or projects feel impossible.
5. Talking ourselves out of something
There is a moment where we decide to do something. Let’s say a workout. And as we’re about to get up and put our trainers on, our brain kicks in and asks ‘do you really want to do that’? It points out all the inconveniences of exercising right now, and what you might just do instead. This is a huge interruption and has the power to completely derail our efforts to get on with something and do it.
We may be dying to work on a project that, deep down, we really want to get on with and bring to life. But underneath the desire to do it is a thick layer of fear. Fear that we might fail or be judged. Of getting it wrong. Fear of what people will say. Even fear we might succeed and what the ramifications of that might be.
Anxiety is a huge reason why we procrastinate. Perhaps you’re not great with finances and therefore the task of looking at your books and figures never gets done because it fills you with anxiety.
8. No reward
Some people work very well on a rewards-based system. Often with tasks and jobs there can be an obvious reward, provided either by yourself or by others. But with some tasks, there is no reward, or that reward is too far in the future. This can be demotivating, and lead to procrastination.
9. Wanting immediate gratification
We often get clients to look at their long term vision and to focus on their why. Why they’re doing what they’re doing and why they want to concentrate all this effort on it and put the work in. Sometimes though, when we need to focus on an important task, we get a call or urge to do something that satisfies an immediate gratification need. We procrastinate on the task in hand and blow it off to meet that other need. This is where we need to check back in with why we’re working towards that vision.
10. Lack of direction
If someone does not have a clear vision of where they are going and why they are doing something, they are much more likely to procrastinate and put related tasks off as they don’t really know why they’re doing it or where it is leading.
11. No clear goals
As with lack of direction, if you haven’t planned and set goals and actions, then how can you get on and make progress? If things remain vague, or too big, you will procrastinate.
This is a real issue for procrastination. Putting off doing something because it’s not ready yet. This can be particularly prevalent amongst business owners when it comes to things like social media posts, blog writing, book writing, releasing new products or programmes. The saying progress not perfection is a good one to remember in these circumstances.
13. Not wanting to do a task
Sometimes you just don’t want to do a task – or perhaps even can’t be bothered – for whatever reason. That in itself is a very common reason for procrastination.
14. Feeling overwhelmed
When you feel there is too much to do and you don’t know where to start you are likely to procrastinate and fill your time with other things even though it means you get further behind.
15. Low wellbeing, low energy.
If we don’t take care of ourselves and our wellbeing, our energy levels get depleted. And when energy is lacking, so is the drive and motivation to get things done!
Procrastination affects all of us at different times and in different ways. Which of the reasons above resonate the most with you? And what are you going to do about it? If you find that you’re struggling with a particular issue, why not book an introductory coaching and mentoring session with us? We can work with you to understand your own reasons for procrastination and put together a plan to overcome your barriers and help you to move forward.