Estimated reading time: 6 min
Do you procrastinate?
Obviously. I can hear you say. What kind of a question is that? Everyone procrastinates. Procrastinating is human. And don’t you proudly announce it to anyone who cares to ask. “I do everything at the last minute”, “I am a specialist at doing things at the last second.” “The last minute brings the best out of me.”
But despite all apparent pride when you call yourself procrastinators, you have hated that feeling of rush, or having inadequate time to finish that important project, or that feeling that you could have done it better if you had more time.
You have always thought about it. Resolved never to procrastinate. Made grand plans. “I am never going to be late ever again. “, or “I am going to finish that project by Sunday morning, and then relax the whole day before I submit it on Monday” but you still go back to the familiar feeling of struggling to finish it on Monday morning.
Then how do you stop procrastinating?
The first step to stop procrastinating is to understand that procrastinating is only the symptom. It’s not the disease. It’s the outward sign that something is wrong inside. Fear, insecurity, indecisiveness etc. So, the right way to stop procrastinating is not to deal just with procrastination, but to look under it, find the real reason, and tackle it.
So, here are the top 10 reasons why you procrastinate, and what you can do about them.
1. You wait for motivation: This is by a distance, the biggest reason why you normally procrastinate. You keep waiting for motivation to hit you, and put you in the right frame of mind. In reality, however, it does not happen till there is way little time left to do the task, and panic takes over instead of motivation.
So, what you do?
The next time you realize that you are waiting for inspiration, look at the task. Look at the smallest component of the task. Start with that. For eg: If you are making a presentation. Start with making a bullet list of ideas that you want to include. Even if it is an incomplete list, it will get the motivation flowing, and it will set the mood.
2. You are not sure where to start: I have already spoken about the art of the start in article 1. Not knowing where to start is a big productivity killer. So, what do you do? Super simple. Start anywhere. Remember that almost any project has different components. You can finish them in any order and organize them later.
3. You wait for the perfect moment: I will start at 10:00 a.m., or I will start on Monday, or even better, I will start on the 1st of January. This does more damage than you think. The perfect moments come and go, and you still don’t get things done. The next time you catch yourself doing this, remember that there is no better moment than this moment.
4. You are afraid of failure: When I wanted to write this blog, I was shit scared. I kept thinking. “ What if I am so bad at writing?” “What if I fail miserably?” Can you imagine how long I procrastinated because of this? 4 years. I know that I am not alone. All of you out there have at least a couple of projects you have procrastinated on indefinitely because you are afraid of failure.
So, what do you do?
Do a worst case scenario check. This worked brilliantly for me when I started my first company. I wasn’t in a great financial state. I had a big debt already, and many advised me that it was not the right time to start a company. But I thought about the worst case scenario, and realized that if I fail, all I will have to do was to look for a job. I had a degree and I believed that I was good at what I do, and I was sure of finding a job if I fail at entrepreneurship. That was a situation I could handle.
So, what is your worst case scenario? Can you handle it? Then, you don’t have to worry about failure.
5. You are overwhelmed by the complexity of the task: It happens quite often that you look at a task and are overwhelmed by how complex it is. You delay it forever so that you do not have to do it.
To overcome this, you just have to realize that every task, even the construction of the large hadron collider, can be broken down into simpler manageable tasks. Also, remember that the more time you lose being overwhelmed, the more complex it becomes.
This is part 1 of the article.Here’s part 2 with the next 5 reasons.