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Stop Procrastination From Holding You Back.

Mar 28, 2022

Procrastination is the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline. Some researchers define procrastination as a "form of self-regulation failure characterised by the irrational delay of tasks despite potentially negative consequences."

 

We all procrastinate from time to time and it looks very different for everyone.

Doing the dishes, delaying course work, prepping meals, putting off that assignment and many more.

For me, procrastination can sometimes be a much more acceptable label for what is a deeper underlying issue.

For some, it's not being good enough, for others it's lacking self-belief or maybe just a lack of clarity.

Below is a list of reasons why I believe most people procrastinate and I will also add some tips on how to overcome it.

 

So why do people procrastinate?

 

Not feeling good enough

Straight out of the gate with this one like an uninvited neighbour wanting to chat about their work struggles just as your dinner is ready. It's uncomfortable, distressing and challenging to admit that sometimes we just simply don't feel good enough and that labelling it as something as generic as procrastination is much more acceptable in today's society. Sayings like "I'm just a perfectionist" is the perfect force field to surround your insecurity with not feeling like you're good enough.

 

You don't even know what you want

Images of Ryan Gosling screaming at you like a scene out of the notebook probably go through your mind as you sit down to start your next big goal. (No? Just me?) Gaining clarity and laser like focus on exactly what you want is absolutely crucial to overcoming the first procrastination hurdle. If you don't know what you want, how will gain clarity? Be specific and deliberate too. Not just, "I want an ice cream". Say "I want double chocolate ice cream with bits of fudge in it from Ben and Jerry's with a flake and chocolate sauce with a waffle cone." You need to get specific with your desired end outcome.

 

You have poor standards

I know, I know. This can't be the reason and surely I can just blame my parents, the government, the weather, the traffic or my next door neighbours cat for my lack of success? Unfortunately not and the longer you blame others for your circumstances, the longer you will be in pain. Maybe you hit snooze button like a whack-a-mole, maybe your boundaries haven't been communicated well enough, maybe you watch too much Netflix? Nothing in your life will change unless you do so ask yourself, am I really doing enough.

 

You set your habits and tasks to an unattainable level

Have goals that scare you but habits that don't. Give yourself daily tasks that you can work through and build momentum. Ticking off a task sets off our pleasure neurotransmitter known as dopamine. Building on that each day as oppose to frustration, overwhelm and inevitable procrastination seems like a no brainer to me. The irony being I procrastinated whether to include this point or not 😂.

 

You don't really want to do it, but you know it needs doing

This one might sound obvious but it's true. We often go to what is easy as we seek to avoid pain, not gain pleasure. It's what known in Neuro Linguistic Programming as "Parts integration". It's taking something you currently love doing and attaching it to something you don't. For example, you might love going to the gym but hate cleaning the house. Imagine mirroring your behaviour in the gym to that of housework. Cue benching your hoover and doing bicep curls with polish tins.... Might sound daft and there is a direct technique used for this but you get the gist.

 

You just actually don't want to do it-

There is so much conflicting information in the self help world and if you look up to someone they may suggest something for a morning routine for example. You might hate the sound of it but you stick with it anyway because Joe Bloggs said so. For example, cold water swimming. I couldn't think of anything worse than jumping into an ice cold stream surrounded by god knows what at 6am in November. I fully understand the health benefits and why so many people love it but it's simply not for me. By saying you're going to do it and not following through however will create cognitive dissonance (tension in the brain) about your current behaviour and your "desired" behaviour.

 

So how do you overcome it?

  • Use the information above and apply the necessary points that are relevant to you.
  • Use Mel Robbins' 5-second rule. Watch This Youtube Video as she will explain better than I can. Essentially it's used in just about any scenario by simply counting down from 5 when you're doing the undesirable behaviour i.e. watching too much tele, gawping at your to do list or putting off doing the dishes, count down from 5 and just take action.
  • Just do it- No this isn't a lame endorsement of Nike it's another great video by Art Williams. A successful Billionaire that simply explains how much time we waste talking about what we're going to do rather than just getting on with it.

 

Why do you feel you procrastinate? What's holding you back? Which points resonated with you?

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