In this article you’ll find some of the reasons people procrastinate, accompanied by a few “procrastination busters”, which are questions that can help you find a way to overcome your procrastination.
Before you dive in, however, there are a few things to note:
- This list is far from exhaustive – it is intended to get you thinking rather than solve every problem
- Nothing on this list will work for everyone – what matters is that you find what works for you
- Sometimes it is best try more than one strategy at a time – just don’t over-do it
So, now that’s out of the way, let’s go.
Reason: I Don’t Like Doing It
Consider: Why Not?
By understanding the reasons you don’t like the task you may be better positioned to either face or avoid the task.
Can You Find an Alternative?
- Can you find a more pleasant way to achieve the same result?
- Can you swap the unpleasant job with someone who enjoys it more?
Can You Just Get It Over With?
There is an old saying that suggests that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning will allow you to face the rest of the day knowing the worst has passed! Not very pleasant, but the idea can be a powerful one.
Is the Thought of Doing It Worse than Just Doing It?
If you have to swallow a frog, don’t stare at it too long.Mark Twain
Sometimes, making a start will help you see that the job you’ve been putting off really isn’t that bad after all.
Can You Make it More Palatable?
A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down.Mary Poppins
- Can you improve the environment where you’re doing the task?
- Can you reward yourself for doing the job?
- Have you thought how much better you’ll feel when its done?
- Can you turn it into a game?
Some I met recently puts on her favourite TV show whilst ironing because it helps her get through a task she dislikes.
Reason: The Task is Too Hard
Does the Task Just Appear to be Too Hard?
- Have you tried it yet?
If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.Olin Miller
Will It Get Worse the Longer You Leave It?
Some types of task are hard to begin with, but they get worse with time. For example:
- relationship problems may fester
- sickness may get worse if untreated
- maintenance tasks take more effort if they are left
- debts grow if unpaid
So, the question is:
- Will it get harder if I leave it?
- Am I better off just biting the bullet and getting on with it anyway?
Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.George Claude Lorimer
Are You Able to Enlist Help?
- Is there anyone who can help with this task?
- Is there anyone who can take on another of your tasks so you can focus on this one?
- Will explaining it or talking it through with someone else help?
Is It Possible to Break the Task into Smaller Pieces?
There is an old saying that goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”.
- Is it better to do some than none?
- Can you do it bit by bit?
- Can you identify the part that is most important?
- If so, can you start with that bit?
Is It Really Beyond You?
Of course, there are times when, as a last resort, you just have to admit defeat. If nobody can tell you what they want, why they want it nor how to do it, there really isn’t much you can do for them.
- Is there something else you could be doing instead?
- Something that is just as valuable, but much clearer?
If so, politely explain yourself and go do that instead.
Reason: I’m Exhausted
- Is getting the task done quickly really more important than your health?
- Can someone else do it, or at least help you?
- Can you do part of it now, and some later?
- Is there a way to do the task that will actually boost your energy levels?
- Would you be better able to complete the task after a little R & R?
Sometimes it is best to make like a sleeping dog and let yourself lie.
In an upcoming article we’ll look at a selection of other reasons for procrastination, including:
I Don’t Know What Is Expected Of Me
I Don’t Know How to Do It
So, I’ll see you then.
- Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.