Human beings are mostly driven by avoiding what causes pain and attracted to what gives pleasure. If something you need to do is linked to the thought that it will cost you something or provide you with discomfort, you will procrastinate.
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong.”- Narayana Murthy
Procrastination is the opposite of using your power, and it slowly kills your success as you do nothing to improve on the essential things. Inaction soon creeps into every area of your life, and when you finally wake up, you realize that the pain of not taking action is great!
Tendency: “An inclination towards a particular characteristic or type of behavior.”
1- Character Flaw: For some people, procrastination comes naturally. My wife, for example, will over-think and analyze long before making a decision or taking action. I am more impulsive by nature: act first and think later.
Doing nothing is the safest way to live, but only by doing can we leave our mark in this world. It is better to err on the side of doing- than on the side of not doing.
2- Immaturity: Maturity helps in the non-procrastination issue. We have to take responsibility for our actions as they have consequences. Try procrastinating, taking out the garbage for a week, and smell what happens.
Procrastination is linked to a lack of self-control and can lead to frustration and anxiety. It is like being ruled by our emotions and whims, rather than by our sense of responsibility. We do what is right, whether we feel “like it” or not.
3- A fixed mindset: Or thinking you cannot change! This is why planning and setting goals is a great way to change that attitude and help you not to procrastinate, especially if you attach specific dates and reasons for their accomplishment.
Procrastination has the power to ruin your life, but rituals and daily routines help break the pattern. Why is it so difficult to do something that we want so badly? Because it is not always easy.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it!”- Patrick King
4- Fear: If there are important tasks you are not doing, it is probably because of some negative feelings attached to it: fear that you will not succeed, fear of the unknown. Change your perception to a more positive emotion: think about what you will gain by doing it rather than what you will lose.
Fear of failure is the greatest fear of all, and the only thing that defeats it is faith! You need to learn to acknowledge your fears and to make a clear distinction between what is true and what is not real.
5- Difficulty managing time: If you are always leaving things for later, it is time to change that bad habit. You wouldn’t put off taking a shower for later in the week. Some other things may not be so evident on the outside but have similar negative consequences.
Time management and procrastination are cousins. The right use of your time gives you confidence and increases your happiness and productivity in every area of your life.
6- The never finish anything syndrome: When you put off the start or finish of tasks by substituting a more attractive or satisfying activity in its place.
Are you used to starting things and leaving them half done? The problem with that is the time you waste if you don’t finish something; besides, there may be people depending on you to finish it. Imagine God leaving the fruit trees and vegetables halfway done during creation! We would never have a healthy smoothie.
7- Perfectionism: If you are one of these people that never starts anything till the conditions are ideal, you will procrastinate most of the time. It is also a sign of fear of failure that it won’t be “perfect” - so you delay.
You’ve got to start somewhere. Do not compare yourself with others. Remind yourself that you are a work in progress, celebrate your mistakes, and keep going.
8- Doing the easy things first: It is better to tackle the hardest jobs first so that you challenge yourself. If you have a task and give yourself a week to do it, you will probably do it in a week. If you give yourself three days, with the same job, you will finish it in three days. Try doing it in three hours instead and see amazing things happening. We are extraordinary in what we can do when we are determined.
Set deadlines, they can be your lifelines! We work better under pressure. But whatever you do, get it done.
Have you heard about the Pomodoro technique?
9- You have excuses: When you procrastinate in something at work or home, you probably have a good excuse. An excuse can be defined as: “Seeking to lessen the blame, trying to justify.” But that doesn’t change the fact that you should have done it, and you did not!
I forgot! It is not that important! Let me finish this first! The time is not right! I am not ready! Tomorrow! It is difficult! I did not know! It is not that important! I am tired! Let me think about it! I don’t have the resources!
10- Indecisions: Hard decisions are easy to procrastinate. But remember that leaders make decisions quickly and change them slowly. Taking action and taking risks are part of the success process. Get your facts and your act together.
Making decisions is not as easy as you will be held responsible for the choices you make. Uncertainty is present in every decision we make, and our old brain is built for survival, so it’s always seeking what can go wrong, but you have to do it anyway, go with your gut.
11- Avoidance: This is a behavior that distracts you from things you would prefer not to deal with. All avoidance behaviors have a common outcome: they result in procrastination- which means that we procrastinate to avoid a situation.
If the situation is unavoidable, it is better to get it done. If you find out you have a tumor, you won’t postpone it until it is big and dangerous, would you? In the short term, avoiding something may work, but if that something has to be dealt with, you better do or it will come back to haunt you.
12- Not taking control of your life: Lifestyle changes are the hardest to do and the easiest to procrastinate. Losing weight or improving yourself in some area of your life. This is why you must learn to raise your standards and change your “I should” for “I must!”
Think about the benefits you gain by doing it. You must identify what is holding you back, face reality, be honest with yourself, and do something about it. Reframe and change your thinking, take control of your life.
13- Your state of Mind: Pessimism and negative thinking can be the cause of your procrastination. You need to learn to live in a beautiful state of mind: Loving, grateful, happy, curious, and positive. When you have the right mental attitude and are full of faith and energy, it is hard to procrastinate.
Reward yourself on the small signs of progress you make daily.
14- Anxiety and depression: Your emotions are linked to this mental state issue. We are creatures of emotion, and they inspire us. Positive emotions motivate us to action just as negative emotions make us lethargic and let us give up on people and situations.
Procrastination has adverse effects on our mental health. It is linked to low self-esteem, low energy, and low self-confidence. You must know yourself and your tendencies- and find ways to change the negative ones.
15- Your relations: Do not procrastinate in your marriage. Keep it alive, loving, and an excellent example for your kids. Good societies start at home. Your happiness and the happiness of your spouse and children are of vital importance.
Close the gap between intention and action. Life is to be lived to the fullest. At the end of our life, one of our greatest regrets is the relationships we failed at. Do not sabotage your relations by refusing to give yourself 100% to them.
16- Afraid of facing problems head-on: Do not procrastinate or avoid things that frustrate you or give you problems. If there is a problem, there is also an answer. The sooner you solve the issues, the happier you will be. Action creates momentum.
One of the best ways to face significant challenges is to cut them in small size bites and take them on one bit at a time. Smaller tasks are easier to get done. Human beings have incredible potential, but what we do can be disappointing! Your power is your ability to act!
17- You only want to have fun: You’d rather do anything except what you know you must do: watch TV, check social media, computer games, watch Netflix, write emails, Google things, eat a snack, read about celebrities, make another to-do list, take a nap…the list goes on.
An excellent book to read, to put you on the road to action is:
Written by Patrick King, it is chock-full of tips and methods to turn your dreams into realities and create the action needed in your life!
And If this post resonated with you, please share it with your friends via social media. Or subscribe at www.habitsofsuccess.org