Why do people procrastinate? Maybe you do it because you don’t enjoy a task. Or you might find that something is to difficult to organize. Maybe you don’t know how to get things done. Whatever the case may be, people procrastinate for many reasons. Many of those reasons, however, boil down to 5 excuses. Let’s take a look at the most common excuses for procrastination and how to overcome them.
The truth behind why you are prone to procrastination
I’m not sure about you, but for me? I procrastinate because I get overwhelmed. Yup. It really is that simple.
Here’s how it starts:
- Break down a project into tasks
- Break down those tasks into smaller tasks
- List out all the tasks
- Get overwhelmed with all the tasks
Or, if I’m planning out in a yearly-quarterly-monthly..
- Plan out yearly goals
- Break yearly goals into quarterly goals
- Break quarterly goals into weekly goals
You see? Even when I try to plan for things to be less overwhelming, they end up being more overwhelming because I get caught in the analysis paralysis trap. Or, what I like to call: the perfectionism procrastination trap.
I get so bogged down in the details that I just can’t move ahead. It’s one reason why I had to ditch calendar systems that planned things by the hour. I would get so focused and committed to those hourly measurements that the deadlines were just stressful.
So why else do people procrastinate?
5 Common Excuses for Procrastination
I dislike doing the task
Well this one makes sense, doesn’t it? Why would we want to do something we dislike?
Your solution for this:
- Look for ways to increase the appeal (your spoonful of sugar to help that medicine go down)
- Make it into a game (Mary Poppins was on to something!)
- Listen to upbeat music
- Reward yourself (oh yes, reward charts and incentives work for adults too- don’t tell me you aren’t motivated by gold stars)
I am overwhelmed
As I mentioned above, this one gets to me a lot. I am a procrastiplanner (I plan so I don’t have to do) and for me:
- Breaking things down (but not too much)
- Check off each task (to reward that sense of accomplishment)
I can’t get going
Oh yes, finding that initial motivation is also tough! Sometimes we may have a deadline looming or, sometimes we know that we just have a shorter window to work with.
- Make it a reactive task
- Work on the task with others
- Establish a deadline (even if it’s just a time block)
I’m not organized enough
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this excuse.. and then stayed stuck in this excuse.
- Think it through – but don’t overthink.
- Talk through the steps
- Break the task down
- Create a timeline
This is too difficult
Don’t self-sabotage yourself before you start. If you get stuck in this mindset trap, then you have even more to overcome. Not only are you up against time but you’re also up against a limiting mindset.
Ask yourself why this feels so difficult and then take the steps necessary to overcome it.