The number of guides out on the web about defeating procrastination can be overwhelming. If you’re a chronic procrastinator, they most likely haven’t helped you stop. Below are some of the reasons we can’t beat this habit called procrastination which I’m also a victim of.
1. “I work well under pressure”
We tell ourselves this to avoid doing the work and end up being mediocre in something that we would have been great at had we just started earlier. It’s crazy that we lie and even manage to lie to ourselves and at the end of the day end up just being lazy.
Even I do this. I tell myself I’m going to study “tomorrow” every day for a month and act surprised when an exam that I knew about since the beginning of the year ‘sneaks’up on me. The thing is being lazy is easy but we have to remind ourselves that even God doesn’t like lazy people. So if you can’t find the inspiration, do it for God.
“Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing” Proverbs 20:4
2. Relying on motivation to get the job done
Motivation is amazing. It makes you feel like you can take save the world if you simply start studying for that quiz. But as amazing as it is, relying on it would just be setting yourself up for failure.
As much as it worked for me and probably the reason I do everything that I do, at some point, it gets old if you overdo it. Watching videos every day and getting pumped up works but not every day so if you don’t have a certain drive that makes you take action then you’re in trouble.
Discipline is what we all need and mist if the time we don’t think it’s necessary. I believe more people want to be more motivated than to be more disciplined. Being disciplined is doing it when you don’t feel like it. I almost always don’t feel like studying so if I do it when I don’t feel like it, I’m going to be doing it more.
3. Scheduling it for ‘Tomorrow’
I do this so much that I’m actually embarrassed to even write about it. We do this to make ourselves feel better about procrastinating. We make ourselves believe that starting on a fresh day is best because we will be feeling energized and inspired. But it usually ends up with ‘tomorrow’ never coming because you keep telling yourself the same thing every day until the deadline is right in front of your face.
4. Feeling overwhelmed and under pressure
This goes hand in hand with the first point. Sometimes we don’t do the work because we just don’t know where to start. When there is too much to do you end up not doing anything because of the pressure. Mostly because the things you have to convince yourself to do most of the time are not easy.
For example, me with this blog. I’ve been blogging for years, but ever since I’ve decided that I want to stop doing it just for fun, it got harder. Suddenly the content I was creating was never good enough and therefore I never wrote anything because of the pressure I felt from reading other people’s material.
A few steps I took to actually be able to start again are the following
- Ask for help – I consulted a lot of South African bloggers asking how they blog full time and how I can do it and surprisingly, people are always willing to help. All you have to do is ask, especially if its something they are passionate about
- Divide your work – until you sit down and physically do this, the overwhelming feeling will never go away.
- Stop over scheduling – we most of the time overestimate our own abilities in 24 hours, at least I do. Don’t tell yourself you’ll write five thousand words in one day when you’ve never even written 500. You’re lying to yourself
5. You’re A Perfectionist
I used to think this was a good trait, that if everything that I do is “perfect” then no one could find fault in the things that I do. I soon realized that this makes me lazy because I’m always looking for the perfect conditions to do things.
At some point, I remember telling myself that I would start blogging when I got an iPhone because I would be able to take good pictures. When I got the iPhone I told myself I need a DSLR Camera because the creativity would be better for my blog. I also remember telling myself that unlimited wifi is all that I need but now I have it and yet my productivity is still in shambles. It was when I really thought about this when I realized that I was just making excuses that most of us fall for.
Overcoming procrastination is probably impossible, but we can do things that will minimize the effects. A good book to refer to is Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy(free PDF), after reading the first chapter you will regain your productivity. It’s a good motivation