Monday, September 1, 2008

What Causes Procrastination & How to Overcome It

In this article we will see what causes procrastination. What are the reasons behind this habit and why it is essential to know the causes of procrastination in order to overcome it.

First of all, relax and don't worry if you procrastinate. Every one of us does it every now and then - its really a common phenomena. The problem arises when this habit becomes a very major part of our life and we begin to frequently procrastinate and never seem to get the important work done, atleast not on time anyway.

Procrastination Can Also be Good:
Sometimes procrastination can be essential and even good. Suppose you have come home tired after a long day's work at office, and you want to think or plan for a major upcoming event or meeting.

In this case, it is better to postpone this for some other time as you are not in the best of shape and best frame of mind at the moment. Since you are tired and your mind is not fresh, is it really a good idea to plan out such an important thing at this moment?? No, if you can afford to postpone it.

So you see, sometimes postponing things can even be a good idea. You just have to know when to postpone things and when not to do so.

Constant and chronic procrastination is what you should strive to overcome as this can cause unnecessary delays in reaching your targets, as well as cause problems in the long term since you might be unable to do important tasks as and when required. Furthermore it can be a cause of frustration, dissapointment and a waste of time.

Why People Procrastinate - What Causes Procrastination?
Before proceeding further, it is important to know the reasons why we procrastinate. Many people might think that laziness is the major reason behind it, but you might be really surprised if you think in detail and analyze about situations or things in which you procrastinate.

There may be many reasons besides laziness as to why people procrastinate. Just to remind you, think of things that you enjoy doing like playing your favorite game, enjoying with friends etc. Do you procrastinate in any of these things?

Don't you have a lot of extra energy and enthusiasm while involved in things that you enjoy even though you might consider yourself lazy? So you see, laziness is not that big a factor in procrastination.

So exactly what causes procrastination then? There can be many reasons, and fear plays a major role in this.

Fears like fear of change, fear of uncertainty, fear of disappointment, criticism, fear of being ridiculed by others, being afraid that we might not be able to do a certain task or it would be too difficult for us, fear of making a mistake etc. can make us want to avoid doing certain things and hence this problem arises.

Other reasons apart from fear include, feeling overwhelmed - if we feel a task is too big, too difficult or will take too much time, we would want to avoid it.

If we find some task unpleasant and don't enjoy doing it, then also we might procrastinate. Lack of focus, already having too many commitments and work, lack of clear goals and deadlines are also common reasons for procrastination.

Sometimes we are not as confident and assured in some areas of our life as in others. These areas can cause us anxiety or stress. Doing work related to such areas can contribute to procrastinating as we would like to avoid such areas as much as possible.

What Causes Procrastination to You - Find Out Your Reasons, Then Deal With Them:
The above reasons are some of the common and major reasons. If you want to overcome procrastination, then first you might need to find out your reason of procrastinating.

The reasons can be different for different tasks. Pick any 1 task and think about the possible reasons for procrastination in this task by going through the above given list of reasons. If you can find out the exact reason, then you would have to work on that.

So from now on your task would not be something vague as overcoming procrastination in general, but it would be more specific like overcoming procrastination when you are afraid of failing or criticism, or when you are feeling overwhelmed or have lack of interest in that task. Narrowing down the category of procrastination, helps in more accurately pinpointing the problem.

Some General Procrastination Solutions and Tips:
I can mention some general tips for overcoming procrastination. Here they are:

1. If you are feeling overwhelmed with some task, break it down into smaller tasks. I intend to write a separate article on this topic alone. This is also a huge topic.

2. Start somewhere even though you might not feel like doing it. For this, you can use the 5 minute technique which can really help to get started with something.

The 5 minute technique works like this - if you don't feel like doing something, say to yourself that you will do it just for 5 minutes then after that you can stop if you wish or continue further if you don't feel any resistance. Then force yourself to do that thing for 5 minutes.

This technique can make get started on a task pretty quickly as doing it for 5 minutes shouldn't be that big a problem. Just getting started with something can reduce some tension of the work, and many times you might feel easier to continue from thereon without further problems.

3. At times when you are feeling energetic and fresh, then try to complete the difficult or unpleasant tasks first, then go for the easier ones.

And sometimes you might be feeling low on energy, at these times its better to go for the easier tasks first - complete them and get them out of the way.

Then either you can go for the difficult ones, the next day when you have more energy or you can continue with the difficult ones at the same time because once you have finished off the easy tasks, you might sometimes be surprised that you suddenly start feeling a little bit more energy and enthusiasm as certain part of the work is finished.

To completely overcome procrastination and get more in control of yourself and your habits, check out - Defeating Procrastination in 21 Days

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2. Stress Reduction Tips
3. Have a Peaceful Night Sleep

Hope you enjoyed the article. You can leave your comments and also rate my article.

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