What Are You Waiting For? Procrastination: Why We Do It and How to Overcome the Tendency

Debbie Rosemont
Procrastination True confession: I procrastinated on writing this article on procrastination. The irony is funny, right? Actually, it is proof positive that we all procrastinate now and then; some more often than we’d like to admit. As a Productivity Consultant, I love to share my “human” moments with clients and workshop participants to show that I understand what they go through and have learned lessons along the way that I practice and teach to be more organized and productive.

We can define procrastination as the undesirable time gap between intention and action. I intended to write this article weeks ago but didn’t get to it until last week because of competing priorities and, if I’m honest, because of my own perfectionist tendencies.

Ten Primary Causes to Perfectionism

1. Self Control – someone who procrastinates because of self-control issues may be impulsive or be unable to prioritize.

2.
Shiny Objects – email alerts, paper piles, interruptions, or other distractions can serve intentionally or unintentionally as avoidance factors, causing us to procrastinate on what we really ought to be doing.

3.
False Beliefs – erroneously thinking, “I work better under pressure” makes some people put off tasks until the last minute. They may even pull it off and get the task done by the deadline, but it is often not the highest quality of work than if the task had been given more time.

4.
Fear of Failure – If someone does not have the confidence that they can accomplish the task successfully, they may procrastinate, preferring to be seen as lacking in effort than in skills.

5.
Thrill Seeking – some people enjoy the adrenaline rush that accompanies the last minute push to get something done “under the gun”.

6.
Task Related Anxieties – avoiding the difficult, boring or undesired task. “I just don’t want to do it”.

7.
Unclear Expectations – vague priorities or direction might lead to procrastination if you don’t know how to start or what steps to take to get the task done.

8.
Depression – for someone who is experiencing clinical depression, it can be hard to get started on something new. It may feel overly difficult or pointless.

9.
Punitive Parenting – an individual who was raised with highly critical parents may have messages running through their mind that they aren’t good enough and/or they fear additional criticism. Procrastination can be seen as a form of rebellion for these folks too.

10.
Perfectionism – This is the #1 cause for procrastination. Perfectionism can be paralyzing to productivity. A perfectionist will put off starting something that they worry they can’t do perfectly and they will also put off finishing a task because it never seems “good enough”.

We hope you have a better understanding of the 10 causes of procrastination. And with that, tools to help you begin the journey of fighting procrastination using these strategies to address the reason or reasons you procrastinate.

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Debbie RosemontDebbie Rosemont is a Certified Professional Organizer, Productivity Consultant and Trainer, Owner of Simply Placed and author of the book Six-Word Lessons to Be More Productive. Simply Placed teaches organized systems and productive habits that allow busy professionals to maximize their time, focus on their priorities, reduce stress, improve their customer service and increase their bottom line. Though their virtual program, It’s About Time, hands-on organizing, individual consultations and group training, Simply Placed helps professionals work smarter, not harder to get results. A business owner, consultant and trainer, active volunteer, wife and mother of two, Debbie knows the value of organization and good time management and loves to help others achieve their potential in business and in life. Contact Debbie at 206-579-5743 or debbie@itssimplyplaced.com. itssimplyplaced.com