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Entries from December 2016

6 reasons why you might procrastinate

8th December 2016

Procrastination

As I was thinking about what to write today I noticed I was finding lots of other things to do… I was putting it off!

So, I decided this would be my topic – why do people procrastinate?

Here are the 6 reasons I came up with:

Task is too big

You look at what needs to be done and think it’s too big. Sometimes it is, and sometimes once you get started you realise it isn’t, the obstacles were only in your head.

If it is too big you feel overwhelmed.  When this happens the best thing to do is break it down into smaller tasks and do them one at a time.

You’re not interested

Whether it’s at home or at work you are just not interested in the particular topic, event, person or task. You just keep putting it off or, worse still, make up other excuses for not doing it.

If this happens first ask yourself is it part of your job? Will it help you with your job/career? Is this person someone you want in your life? If the answer to any of these is yes, it may be worth looking at the underlying reason and reframing it so it’s a more positive experience.

You don’t want to fail

You’ve never done what you’re being asked to do before. You don’t want to get it wrong, or look a fool. You might spend a lot of time doing research, or asking questions or just avoiding it.

My advice here is break it down into bite size chunks. You can’t make progress until you make the first step. Treat it as a learning experience and ask for help. It may surprise you how many people want you to succeed and will do all that they can to support you.

You are not motivated

You know you can do it. You know you can do it quickly but you’re just not motivated to do it right now. This is one that trips me up fairly regularly. Rather than beat myself up about it I recognise that I’m not in the right frame of mind. I then do one of two things, change the way I’m thinking about it and just get it done, or recognise I need to be in a different place and plan to do it another time.

Resistance

In this scenario you’re simply rebelling against the person or team who has asked you to do it. You’ll do it in your time when you’re good and ready!

Personally I find this the most unhelpful state to be in. It does nothing to build relationships. If you find you are in this space take some time out and understand where your resistance is stemming from. Is it real, or are you making up a story?? Often it’s the latter!

You’re a perfectionist

You need to have all the information/detail and the perfect time to make a start. You want to get it just right and now is not the right time – you’re waiting….

Next time you notice you’re putting something off – ask yourself which of these reasons (excuses) are getting in the way and then take action!

You’ll achieve two things by doing this:

  1. Greater self-awareness that will hopefully mean you’ll overcome this habit…
  2. Getting ‘stuff’ done more easily and probably effortlessly.

“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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