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Why do we do it? How do we stop it?
If you are a self-confessed procrastinator, you’re in good company. Research indicates that those most likely to procrastinate are also the most intelligent, creative and sensitive people on the planet (you decide which groups apply to you!)
The term, from Latin meaning ‘belonging to tomorrow’ almost disappeared from use from 1850, but has again grown exponentially in recent times. What does that show? Possibly that procrastination isn’t a problem when our work is cranking widgets. Henry Ford said, “thinking is the hardest work there is, which is why so few of us engage in it.”
But why do we do procrastinate? If we understand the reasons, we might be able to handle the problem.
1) Tim Urban (TED Talk) - Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator
2) Dr. Neil Fiore - The Now Habit
3) Steven Pressfield - The War of Art
Of course, there are positive elements to procrastination; in fact not all delay is negative procrastination. Something may come along and you decide it needs further thinking, developing – not procrastinating but incubating!
I tend to link negative procrastination to one of three basic reasons:
- It feels too big
Solution: Try the latter part of the project and task exercise. Breaking our work down into smaller simple steps can make it manageable and reduce procrastination.
- It has to be perfect
Solution: Fear of failure and perfectionism are two ends of the same scale. This can be a deeper issue and harder to fix. Try one of the links in the accompanying ‘Pro Tip’.
- I don’t know why I’m doing it?
Solution: If a piece of work feels forced on you or you’re concerned it might be a waste of time then being clear on the outcome and success factor, can provide the needed motivation. To help try the earlier section of the project and task exercise.
And remember, if all else fails, keep a semi-useful list of stuff to do while you are procrastinating.
Why do you procrastinate? What are your tips? Comment below …