Top 10 reasons why you procrastinate, and what you can do about them – Part 2.

Estimated reading time: 6 min

In part 1 of the article , you read about the top 5 reasons why you procrastinate and what you can do about them. Here are the next 5.

6. You do not want to really do it: What if you really don’t want to do it? What if you are procrastinating because of that?What do you do then?

Two things. One. If it is delegateable, delegate it. You might find someone out there who is more interested in doing it. You could even delegate it to virtual assistants.

Two. Visualize the task as a gate. If you manage to open the gate, you will get to do things that you really love to do. For eg: I run a Spanish training institute. I love training. When I started the company, all I wanted to do was to train, and I hated the normal business chores like printing pamphlets, updating the website, and making cold calls. I did these chores nevertheless because I realized that I would only get enough clients if I kept doing these and that thought made it easier for me to do them.

Also, when the business grew, I had money and I hired assistants to do these tasks.

7. You can’t decide: Indecisiveness costs a lot of time, money and mental energy. A lot of times you are stuck in a rut because you can’t decide on which path to take. Should you choose the white background or the black for the PowerPoint slide, or should you present the data for this quarter or for the whole year? There will be compelling arguments for both the sides, but you can’t do both and ultimately you fall into what is called analysis paralysis.

choice 2

 There is a simple trick to free yourself from analysis paralysis. Set a deadline for the decision. “In the next ten minutes, I will decide on the color”, or the next 30 minutes, or 1 hour, or even a day. But stick to it. If needed, use a timer. This will save you precious time.

8. You are distracted: There is no limit to the number of distractions you have around. You love your distractions. Instead of doing that task you know you should be doing, you read endless articles (exactly what you are doing now 🙂 ), watch YouTube videos, play candy crush etc. This is because your brain prefers instant gratification. It wants that pleasure now. Not after one day when you finish the task you are supposed to.

There are two ways you can tackle this. One, set tiny goals. Those you can finish in 30 minutes or one hour. When you achieve them, you get a dopamine rush and fulfil the brain’s need for instant gratification.

Two, use the distractions as rewards. Finish 50 minutes of focussed work, and you get to watch 10 minutes of YouTube videos, or 10 minutes of candy crush. This also helps you relax.

9. You are planning too much: I used to be one of those guys who would start anything only once I planned it to the last detail. This is counterproductive. No plan is complete till you start implementing it. Plan the essentials of the project. Start implementing them, and the details will follow.

10. You are obsessed with perfection: One of the reasons why I delayed publishing this blog is that I kept thinking it should be perfect. I kept thinking I have to be an excellent writer before I start the blog. My articles had to be perfect.

The blog did not materialize until I realized one day that I won’t become that excellent writer I want to be if I don’t start somewhere. So, I started the blog, and decided that probably by the 100th article, I will be close to the excellence I am aspiring for. So, start off with what you have. Perfection is the continuous improvement of good.

There you have. The top 10.

So, the next time you realize that you are procrastinating, do not forget to ask why. Tackle the why. It will be far more effective.

So, what are you procrastinating on right now? At this moment. And why? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you have a friend who would find this useful, please share it. Hit one of the share buttons below.

NB: You can read a bit more about some of the things discussed here in article 1 (The art of the start). You might want to read it too.

Top 10 reasons why you procrastinate, and what you can do about them – Part 1.  

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.”time

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.