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Why We Procrastinate and What You Can About It

  • November 4, 2021
  • Written by Community Futures Meridian

“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” ― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

We all procrastinate—some of us more than others.

Although there may be many reasons for procrastinating, it seems that there are a few that are more common. Acknowledging them is the first step to overcoming “dragging your feet” or avoiding accomplishing a task. Most of the reasons involve emotions, not time management.

  • Perfectionism is a common reason for procrastination and hesitancy; this can be getting down to a task or signing off on it as complete. The fear of failure or doing a job poorly can be enough to cause people to avoid even starting. In this case, ask yourself, what will happen if I don’t finish this project?
  • When the goals or expectations of the task are unclear, people will often hesitate to proceed. If you are responsible for a project, accept responsibility for discovering the goals and objectives rather than avoiding starting work. Ask yourself. Who do I speak with to clarify things?
  • When people see a project or job as being difficult, it can lead to frustration and hesitation. However, delaying the start because it is seen as hard accomplishes nothing. In fact, it hinders moving forward in a timely fashion.
  • When people can’t see an immediate reward or benefit for getting started immediately, they will wait until the deadline looms, leading to a rushed job, poorly executed. In this instance, reward yourself at significant milestones in the project. In this way, you are more likely to give the project the effort it deserves.

“A year from now, you may wish you had started today.” ― Karen Lamb

Realizing what is causing or triggering you to procrastinate allows you to reduce the time wasted by your stalling. Once you accept that you are procrastinating and delaying the start, you might ask yourself: What is the first thing I can do to start this project? Often that first, simple step leads you out of procrastination and onto completion.

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone” ― Pablo Picasso

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching

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