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Procrastination is like mold growing in a beautiful house. Not because it’s dangerous necessarily, but because it spreads. It seeps into our mindset and inhibits our path to success. While enormously different, they share these unlikeable common traits. And if we’re not careful, procrastination can overshadow so much of our lives that ridding it from our routine becomes immensely difficult.
When idling in the depths of stalling mode, completing the simplest of tasks can feel overwhelming and we get a little too comfortable in stagnant surroundings. So, we watch another TV show, leave the dishes until the next day and do the laundry the following month. And suddenly, we find just about any excuse to delay important work, healthy exercise regimes and all the things we need to do in order to advance or enhance ourselves. And so, this pattern repeats.
Naturally, we’re all built differently. Some are inherently go-getters; others are born couch potatoes. While rest and relaxation can be equally important, too much of anything, especially inactivity, can block you and halt essential progress.
So, if you find yourself stuck in the ‘couch potato’ category lately, it’s time to examine why you feel this way so often. Why you hit the pause or postpone button repeatedly and ultimately limit your potential. It’s not always laziness that’s perpetuating it either, but rather a struggling sense of self, a lack of purpose or other physiological barriers.
Here are nine possible reasons that you’re procrastinating and how you can change your behaviour:
When we build up tasks in our minds, we tend to feel overwhelmed and burdened by them. If you’re viewing the work that you need to do as time-consuming or stressful, you paint a picture in your brain that tells you they’re hard to achieve. That picture affects your outcome.
How to fix it: stop focusing on the size or duration of work and trial purposeful positivity. Do a little at a time or set out a specific gap to complete certain tasks.
Attaining perfection is so important to some people that unless everything is done 100% it’s not worth it. When you put that kind of pressure on everything, it will always be intimidating. Yes, you can still try your best, but this isn’t a perfect world, and no one is entirely perfect either.
How to fix it: do inner work or work with a professional to alter your mindset from the outcome must be perfect to the outcome will be a reflection of my best effort.
A shortage of organization in your work or personal life can lead to messiness, both figuratively and literally. It can lead to being overwhelmed because we have no idea where to access things or what we need to do in our day. This inevitably leads to procrastination because we become too exhausted to even begin.
How to fix it: sort out what parts of your life are chaotic and organize them accordingly. Is it your calendar? Your schedule? Your inbox? A routine for weekly chores? Whatever it is, try putting it into order and rid of the clutter. The dreadfulness is sure to dissipate if it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.
Failure is unavoidable. There will always be moments in time we encounter it. Delaying tasks so often coincides with our internal fear of failure that we stop ourselves from trying in the first place.
How to fix it: work on your confidence and approach to daily tasks. When you feel self-assured, you know that whatever happens, failure or not, you will get through it, and you will be proud of yourself for even giving it a go. Give yourself consent to fail.
Anxiety affects nearly everyone in some respect, but for specific people, it has a peculiar hold. Not only can it cause panic attacks, nausea, and a slew of physical symptoms, it too can prohibit us from moving ahead, because it enforces distress and keeps us sluggish.
How to fix it: speak to someone. Exercise often. Eat healthy foods. Speak kindly to yourself. Limit coffee and alcohol binges. Keep forging ahead, because while anxiety can greatly affect your life, you shouldn’t let it overcome you or stop you from excelling. So, work with a professional or attempt natural methods and do what you can to manage it.
When you expect too much of yourself, disappointment will likely flourish. Everybody makes mistakes or encounters mishaps, they’re a part of growth. Giving yourself a hard time when these things happen will only make you hesitant to try again later.
How to fix it: go easy on yourself and be conscious of this behaviour. Give yourself breaks or time to do the fun stuff and avoid unnecessary strictness. Don’t play the blame game, instead, think productively. What can you do better next time?
If you lack challenge or excitement from your day job, it impacts your energy. We become complacent. When too much of your day-to-day work becomes tedious, procrastination thrives, because we simply don’t want to do the work anymore and we know intuitively it’s time to move on to greener pastures.
How to fix it: speak to your manager about it and see if a new role or project is possible. If not, start looking at other opportunities and see if any drive excitement. If they do, freshen up that resume and send in applications. If it feels like it’s time to do something different, trust yourself and walk a different path.
Flying by the seat of your pants can be exhilarating, but it can also be cumbersome. Most people require some form of structure to their day to achieve balance. Structure doesn’t just put life into neat little boxes, it gives you a sense of purpose.
How to fix it: give yourself that structure. Go for a walk every lunch, visit with a friend or family member every Thursday evening or do your expenses the same day every month. Build a schedule that is both fluid and doable.
Sometimes the people around us directly influence our energy and our conduct. If you find yourself surrounded by overbearing, lazy, or negative individuals, know that their presence can alter your productivity and surge disinterest.
How to fix it: surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you. Or limit the time you spend with people who don’t. At the very least, be aware of the ways these kinds of people affect you and look inside for solutions. Make sure you don’t unconsciously mimic them.
Even the most productive people on the planet experience bouts of procrastination. It happens. And it’s not anything to blame yourself for or feel guilty about, because that thought pattern will only worsen it. Instead, believe in your capabilities. Start evaluating the facets of your life that prolong its presence and make the appropriate alterations.
Think of yourself as a house with a beautiful structure, it’s got the potential to be great but may need a little work here and there to shine. Then ask yourself, like you would when purchasing an old house, how can I preserve my greatest assets and what changes do I need to make so I can prosper?