What is procrastination?
Procrastination isn’t something related to today’s world only. Romans used the word: Akrasia to describe it. Since it’s something that has always existed then it is more connected to internal factors rather to external ones.
Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. Whether you call it procrastination or akrasia, it is the force that blocks you from getting your tasks done on time.
To a certain degree, procrastination can be considered as normal if it happens consciously to prioritize between tasks but excessive procrastination can become a serious problem and can cause stress, anxiety, sense of guilt… Studies have shown that people have a tendency to regret more the things they haven’t done than the things they have done. These feelings of regret and guilt resulting from missed opportunities stay with people for the rest of their lives.
Why do people procrastinate?
People often assume that procrastination is simply a matter of willpower, but in reality, the situation is far more complex than that.
If you’re wondering why YOU procrastinate, look through this list, and try to figure out which of these causes of procrastination apply to you.
1- Lack of motivation
Different people have different levels of motivation. Some people are more driven than others to pursue their goals in life:
– some are highly self-motivated by default. Procrastination word for them does not exist.
– some are motivated depending on the reward. If they feel that the reward is enough then they get motivated and get their tasks done. If they feel that the reward is not enough then they don’t think it’s worth the time and the effort.
– some are motivated depending on the mood: motivated when happy and excited and demotivated when upset or facing problems or challenges.
– some are not motivated no matter what. They don’t do anything but complain a lot.
2- Lack of goal setting
Whatever we do in our lives we do it for a reason. Success, fulfillment, excitement, happiness, achievement, efficiency,…those are the feelings we look for by accomplishing big tasks such us graduation, marathon, business launch, competition…
To be able to accomplish big tasks, small tasks are required. Those are generally the most important ones and if done consistantly, we will definitely achieve our goals.
Here are some scenarios:
– The goal is set in advance and the individual knows what he wants to accomplish. He doesn’t care about how much time and effort he needs to put in to reach his goal. His main focus is the goal and the feeling that comes with it.
– The goal is not set because the individual is not clear about it, which means that the small tasks/steps that lead to the goal are also not clear. This is a very common cause of procrastination. In this case, asking for support is the way to go. It can be a coach, a mentor or a friend who is very good with goal setting…
– The goal is set but the individual is not used to commit to his goals or can be easily distracted and will start procrastinating. In this case of lack of self-discipline, an accountability partner is the key. It can be a friend, a member of the family, a group chat, a facebook group etc…
3- Poor time management:
Many people resist to having a schedule, they want to do tasks on their own time and according to their mood. Those are the ones who suffer the most from procrastination because they have no track of their daily productivity, they ended up wasting lots of time.
4- Decision Paralysis syndrome
This is typically related to this modern world. With more freedom to make our own decisions and to perform our actions, we have become easily confused about what is a priority and what is not, and therefore we have become highly demotivated.
However, there are also various demotivating factors that we can experience that they make us more likely to procrastinate. For example anxiety, fear of failure, fear of success, limiting believes, exhaustion, boredom…
Overall, you procrastinate for two reasons:
– you lack skills such as time management and goal setting and those are skills that can be easily developed if you are aware about them and you are willing to develop them.
– You have limiting believes about yourself such as low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence… or negative emotions such as anxiety, fear of failure, …Once you are aware about the negative emotion , you need to start working on it. Daily positive affirmations, meditation and exercise are three things to start with and have to be done on a daily basis. Get support from a coach or a counselor if needed.