Have you ever been given an important assignment, whether at school or work, and postponed doing it to the very last minute? If so, you probably suffer from procrastination, and you’re not alone. The reasons for procrastination can be simple - either you don’t want to do the task at hand, or you are constantly distracted from doing it - but sometimes the reason can be more complex. Maybe you’re afraid of failure or feel blocked, maybe you don’t know what is holding you back and what is causing you to delay the performance of your tasks. For this purpose, we’ve collected the five main and most common reasons for procrastination, so that you can identify your cause and learn how to deal with it making sure that tomorrow you wake up and get things done!
One of the reasons we tend to push things off is because our perception of time isn’t right, and our perception of time directly influences our productivity in performing our tasks. If the deadline for doing something at work is far away, it is likely that we will push the task off, but if the date is closer we’ll most likely invest our all in carrying it out - psychologists call this the "deadline phenomenon." Deadlines, which are the final dates for delivery and submission, set for the current year, for example, will appear much more urgent than those recorded for next year, even if there is a difference of a few months between the end of the current year and the deadline. Similarly, if you are given a task due in a month's time it will require more attention than a task due in another three. How do you solve this? The trick is to set smaller personal goals to accomplish - give yourself weekly or monthly tasks towards the ultimate goal, so that you can finish your work gradually. By doing this, you will create current tasks for yourself which will appear to you much more important than the deadline.
This feeling that you can’t think clearly because of a task load and can’t organize yourself properly to get all of them done is one of the reasons for the phenomenon of procrastination. Although the previous section suggested that defining weekly and small tasks is one of the ways to solve procrastination, there are people, usually, those that are creative, that feel this method creates a mental load and makes them feel that reaching their goal is impossible. By multitasking, you can’t manage your thoughts and as a result, you won’t solve them. Therefore, all you have to do is take advantage of your creative thinking to find special ways to solve those tasks, even if it means doing one task at a time. You’ll be surprised to discover that by virtue of your creative thinking you will perform the tasks at an even higher level than if you were to approach them stressed and blocked.
One of the most common reasons for procrastination is the fear of failure - most of us are afraid to fail, but for most of us, this fear can paralyze and wear us down. The natural urge is to blame ourselves, but if we can change this way of thinking, we will prove to ourselves that only through failure will we succeed in learning and improving in the future. The ability to acknowledge our chances of failure indicates that we are able to admit our shortcomings that might lead us there. In fact, not many people are able to do this, but this is the first way to solve the problem. In order to conquer your fear of failure, you must reform your perception of failures, that is, learn to understand that life goes on and that there is still time to improve despite, and even because of, your failures. Instead of feeling liked it’s the end of the world, start thinking about the first steps needed to be taken after each failure and get yourself back on your feet with these tips to help you turn every failure into a success.
Surprisingly and perhaps even paradoxically, the fear of success can be another factor of procrastination. Success means accepting additional responsibilities, higher expectations, and much more complex positions in the future - not all of us feel ready for such a level of responsibility, so we may delay the completion of tasks that are of high importance. Here, too, the solution is to change your way of thinking and how you look at things. While you’ll have more responsibilities and more will be expected of you, your image, resume, and experience will also improve and be significantly upgraded. You don’t have to be afraid of hard work, because only through it will you be able to feel great self-confidence that will help you function in the future much better if you succeed in your current tasks.
Another reason for procrastination is that we tend to be too hard on ourselves. Most of the time our task won’t be handed in by the deadline unless we’re 100% sure the work was done at an extremely high level. This is called perfectionism, which can be great when work is done at a good level, but it may also make it difficult for us to start it in the first place. The fear of making mistakes and not being able to achieve a perfect level of performance can be just as difficult as the fear of failure, therefore, we have to learn to be a bit more forgiving about ourselves and give ourselves room for mistakes and time for repairs. All you have to do to deal with perfectionism is to give yourself plenty of legroom before deadlines to look over your work and make the necessary corrections and changes - knowing that you have a scheduled time for repairs and a look over can help you get started on your various tasks.