Procrastinate: to put off intentionally and habitually.
Does This Sound Familiar?
Something needs to get done. Maybe even something important. Yet you find yourself saying “I have lots of time, I can do that later” OR “I just need to do these other things first”. If this is you, you are not alone. We all suffer from procrastination from time to time. If this occurs occasionally while dealing with menial day to day tasks it probably isn’t much of an issue. However big problems may arise when it becomes a daily habit that gets in the way of our productivity. When procrastination prevents us from moving forward with either our personal or professional goals we need to pay attention and course correct. Even call in reinforcements if you have to.
Procrastination is a killer of success.
Why do we cause ourselves so much unneeded worry, stress, frustration, when we could just get it done already? If you would like a detailed scientific explanation I found this article by James Clear. For the sake of this post I’m going to keep it simple and stick with my personal struggles.
Here are 4 reasons I have identified as causes of my procrastination and what I have done to overcome them.
#1 Bad Habits
I am what you could call a chronic procrastinator. It is a habit I developed so many years ago I can’t even tell you when it may of started. Most likely grade school, with homework assignments, and chores.
I can put off doing pretty much anything.
The laundry, the dishes, weeding the garden, washing my car. This is just a list of todays tasks.
Then there is, writing my posts and building my online business, paying my taxes, doing my charting. These are much more serious, and can have a huge negative impact on what I am aiming to achieve both personally and professionally if they do not get done. I know this, yet I still find myself making excuses or offering reasons why it’s ok to do it later.
“I can do charting later, I have all my notes so I don’t miss anything, besides it won’t take long if I do it tomorrow.”
“I will pay my taxes next time I log into my banking.” OR “When I find the statement so I know exactly how much I owe.” (don’t ask me where the statement went, that is a whole other post)
“I still have 4 whole days to finish my blog post. That’s more than enough time. Besides it doesn’t take that long.”
After so many years I don’t even realize that I am procrastinating. “I will do it later” or “as soon as I am done…” has become the normal response when faced with most tasks. I think I have allowed this to become a deeply ingrained habit because this strategy has never failed me before so why change it? I mean I always get done what I need to get done even when leaving tasks to the eleventh hour. Just with the extra stress of having to race the clock.
Either do the tasks as they arise OR delegate them.
My kids have a list of chores they need to do everyday.
My husband has learned how to do laundry, and clothes now get folded and put away the same day they are washed and dried.
I set aside time everyday to do charting and to work on my blog. This way it doesn’t pile up and take hours at a time.
I am basically replacing the habit of putting things off with the habit of getting it done now. Just keep in mind, like with any habit this doesn’t happen over night.
This mostly applies to the menial day to day tasks.
Why do I put off the laundry, dishes, weeding etc.?
I just don’t like doing it. It’s boring. Plus no matter how much laundry you do, dishes you wash, weeds you pull, there is always more laundry, dishes to wash and weeds to pull. (I actually like weeding my garden except for carrots, that is what I have been putting off, weeding carrots, if you have ever had a garden you know exactly what I am talking about!) It is boring, never ending work so I can basically come up with 1001 things I would rather do than household chores. In my mind those 1001 things are much more productive, fun, fulfilling and keeps me from doing housework. Even if it’s watching paint dry, it’s better than doing housework.
The bigger, more important tasks, well that’s a bit more complicated.
Sometimes it’s because I just don’t want to do it.
I mean I write roughly 25 charts a week = 100/month = 1100/year. It’s a bit redundant, it gets boring sometimes. So sometimes I put it off. I went through a bit of a phase where I would do all my charting for the week on Friday night after supper. I definitely don’t recommend doing that. Doing a weeks worth of charting takes forever.
Just like I am starting to realize leaving your blog post writing until the day before you publish is also not a good idea. It generally takes longer than I anticipate and it is certainly not boring, so why am I procrastinating about writing?
Again delegate, or just suck it up. Set aside time everyday to just get it done. Not everything is exciting and some things just have to get done.
#3 Lack Of Confidence
One big reason I procrastinate with certain tasks, currently this is writing my blog posts, is lack of confidence. Here I am trying something new, I feel sometimes that I have no idea what I am doing, so it’s easier to do nothing. I haven’t written anything since high school which was some time ago, and my English teacher would of told you my writing was horrendous. Yet here I am writing blog posts that I want other people to read, to find value in, and hopefully eventually generate an income. That is too many unknowns, without the experience the confidence can be lacking.
Will people even read my posts?
Will I ever generate traffic to my blog?
Will I ever be able to make money doing this?
Will I….Will I….. Will I…..?
What if I can’t think of anything to write about?
What if people think my posts are ridiculous?
What if….What if…..What if…..?
When you lack confidence and experience you may find it hard to move forward. You procrastinate taking the necessary steps that will push you beyond that mindset.
It is absolutely critical that you do not let procrastination stop you in this type of situation. If you fail to move forward you will not get better, you will not gain the experience you need and desire and therefore you will continue to lack the confidence to push on.
Just keep moving forward, one step at a time. Small steps, big steps, even sideways steps, it doesn’t matter.
It can be a real challenge. Hang in there.
#4 Not Knowing The Next Step
There is so much information out there about starting online businesses, blogging, marketing, the list is endless. For someone just starting out it can be very overwhelming. I found myself in this situation recently. I had this blog set up, affiliate marketing funnel, all these pieces that I was suppose to put together but I was clueless on how to do it. So I didn’t do anything for a while. I kept saying to myself, you have to do something, anything, but it almost got to the point I was doing housework instead. When that happened I knew I had to figure things out fast.
When I say fast I mean it still took a good 2 weeks to go ahead with my decision.
I called in reinforcements. I found a mentor who I felt to help me move forward on the path I wanted to go. It has been a blessing. Now I am not focusing on what I don’t know because I have someone on hand who has the answers, or at least a much better idea of how to figure it out than I do.
Not having to worry about what I don’t know, and being able to just focus on what I need to do to move forward makes actually moving forward so much easier.
Now that I have identified the main reasons that cause me to procrastinate, moving forward doesn’t seem so difficult. When I find myself saying “I’ll do it later” I can stop and figure out why I am putting that task off.
Is it boring?-to bad do it anyway.
Am I unsure about my ability? (confidence)-I won’t get better if I don’t do it. Just do it.
Am I unsure about what I should be doing?-get help. Then do it.
So set aside time everyday to get tasks done, seek the help of a mentor or a friend that can keep you on track, and keep doing the work that will gain you experience and build your confidence. Keep moving forward.
Before you know it that bad habit of procrastinating will be a distant memory and you will ask yourself “why didn’t I do this sooner”.
Are you a chronic procrastinator, or have you also had to overcome this habit? I would love to hear any tips that have helped you. Please, leave a comment, and have a fantastic week.