Procrastination may be causing you more harm than you actually know. Procrastination eats away at you, it always sits in the back of your brain, lurking, waiting to pounce when you least need it to.
So why do we procrastinate? I recently read a suggestion that there are three reasons for procrastination;
1. Ruminators - We can't make a decision so delay it.
2. Avoiders - Because of a fear of failure we don’t want to start the task.
3. Perfectionists - Those who aren't happy unless they can give something 100% effort and now is not that time.
For me, none of these resonate. I procrastinate because I think that what I am about to undertake is either too hard or it is not urgent enough yet. Looking at each;
1. Too hard - I put things off if I think it is too hard in the hope that an idea will come to me eventually. And often it does but always in the last minute which leads me to the next reason.
2. Not urgent enough - I have a false sense that if something is left until the very last minute I will be under pressure and because of that I feel that I work better under pressure. And we do to a point.
The problem with both of these excuses is that I haven't resolved to get onto what it is that I have to do and it plays on my mind. So what do I now do to overcome this?
I start something and then leave it until I need to finish it. I have found this is a great way of alleviating the worry that comes from not doing something but allows me to work under pressure at the last minute and finish the task to the 100% self-requirement.
Doing part of a task has many advantages;
1. I have started the task so I know it is underway therefore I am less worried about it.
2. Starting something puts the idea into me head and my subconscious continues with the task in my head, giving me ideas for when I get back to it.
3. When I do complete the task I am armed with the latest information therefore the task is relevant and up-to-date.
When doing nothing is not an option, and you don't think it is right to finish it immediately, just do half. This will relax your brain knowing that you have at least started it and ideas will start to flow.
And by the way, do get onto the small stuff, don’t ignore it. Small stuff will build and become big stuff if you procrastinate. Just choose your small stuff wisely.