There is a saying that #procrastination is the thief of time and I know we are all guilty of it in one way or another; be it in our personal or professional lives. Why did I wait until now to complete this task? Why did I wait so long to start exercising? Why did I wait until now to start saving? Why, Why, Why, Why?
According to David Finkel, in his article "The Root Cause of Procrastination," for Inc. Magazine, he cited three (3) reasons why we procrastinate - Fear, Old Habits, and Perfectionism. But, before we get into that, let's first define procrastination, then take a look at these 3 reasons.
According to the Oxford dictionary, procrastination (/prə(ʊ)ˌkrastɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n/) is the action of delaying or postponing something.
Why Then Do We Procrastinate?
𝗙𝗲𝗮𝗿. Fear is one of our biggest "life-staller" as I call it. It feeds stagnation, creates doubt, and captures us in our own "self-made prison." We ask ourselves repeated "what-if" questions, which further prevents us from achieving our goals or going after that dream we have. Fear stops us from living our best lives and taking advantage of opportunities. But, what if we were to start thinking about fear in a different way? According to David Finkel, "once you start thinking about fear differently, it becomes a learning opportunity." My new thinking is this, if I allow fear to constantly rule my life I am going to be left with more what-if questions than before, and, at the end of the day, I'm going to blame myself for having not tried. So, the very least I can do for myself is to try, go after those dreams I have. And, do all of it while still feeling the fear but knowing that even if I fail, I would have learned something.
𝗢𝗹𝗱 𝗛𝗮𝗯𝗶𝘁𝘀. There are two sayings that come to mind when I hear "old habits." One is, "old habits die hard" and the other is, "but that's how we've always done it." Coupled with fear and the notion of change, old habits can be a bit difficult to change. It requires us to be truly open and honest with ourselves; something that scares many of us because the truth can sometimes hurt.
𝗣𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗺. Next to fear, I believe this one rings true for me. A lot of times I want it to be "perfect" before I put it out there; fearful that if it's not perfect it may be a sign of failure. But the one thing we need to wrap our minds around is this - nothing in this life is perfect! And, if we keep using this as an excuse we will NEVER do anything because it will never be perfect enough. PROGRESS TRUMPS PERFECTION.
In addition to the three (3) reasons cited above, there are many more reasons why we procrastinate including medical conditions such as ADHD, Depression, and OCD. There're also other reasons such as low self-esteem, financial or emotional challenges, time inconsistency, and fatigue.
Why Do YOU Procrastinate?
Proactively seek to find out why then take steps to correct it.
Ways to Stop/Limit Procrastinating
In his article, "Procrastination: A Scientific Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating," James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, highlights four (4) ways in which we can stop/limit procrastinating.
Make the Rewards of Taking Action More Immediate. James Clear alludes to a basic format, "only do [THING YOU LOVE] while doing [THING YOU PROCRASTINATE ON]." For example, listen to that bombshell playlist (that always gets you grooving) while exercising.
Make the Consequences of Procrastination More Immediate. In other words, if you don't do it now, the consequences may be something you don't like. Set a consequence that counts...lol...that way you'll be more inclined to DO than procrastinate.
Design Your Future Actions. James refers to these as "commitment devices" - they help reduce procrastination. Say you want to save for a car, but you keep telling yourself you don't have enough disposable income to do so, you can set up a commitment device, like a standing order, to have that money transferred into a savings account each month. My understanding of commitment devices is that they absolve us from having to think too much about doing the thing we fear or dislike.
Make the Task More Achievable. Start small - it's that simple. We tend to want immediate gratification, as a result, we delay starting. Start small, the momentum will kick in soon after. Be consistent. And, if you miss a day or two, don't be too hard on yourself - extend yourself some Grace.
Other ways you can limit procrastination are: (1) include visual cues, (2) create routines, and (3) start before you are ready.
Don't let procrastination steal your happiness, dreams, or goals today. Recognize that you are procrastinating and why you may be procrastinating. Then, do one tiny thing to break the cycle of procrastination and keep chipping away at it daily. Whether you win or lose, know that there is always a lesson. Take that lesson and make your next attempt or your next chapter even better.
As LeAura Alderson, Cofounder-iCreateDaily.com, said, "Procrastination is a dream slayer, slave-maker, and life taker that shadows your mind and obscures your goals. Action is a super-power. Take it."
Thanks for reading.
Blessings, Love & Light
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