We all have a tendency to procrastinate, which is the chronic habit of putting things off. But why do we do this? And how do we combat procrastination? Find our tips…
Procrastination: what is it and why do we do it?
We all, at one time or another, feel like postponing today’s unpleasant tasks until tomorrow. This is when we procrastinate. This is a psychological term. It is not a matter of preferring to do nothing, which would be more like laziness than procrastination; rather, it is a matter of doing secondary, less important and less urgent tasks rather than primary tasks.
Some studies correlate procrastination with behavioural disorders such as anxiety, perfectionism or low self-esteem. This behaviour may therefore be caused by fear of failing, not doing well enough, or the belief that “what’s the point of doing it if I’m not going to make it? ». The consequences can be dramatic, in fact, in addition to the stress generated by a delay directly related to postponing these tasks, the subject may experience problems in his or her work if a mission is not completed on time, not to mention the constant feeling of guilt that goes along with procrastination. Because of course, this is not just “I don’t care”, so you are well aware that you keep putting off important tasks and you don’t live it well.
Fighting procrastination: our tips
Fortunately, there are several tips to help you fight procrastination. It takes 21 days for your brain to register new reflexes and therefore forget others. If you apply these tips regularly, not putting off urgent tasks until tomorrow will become a new habit and you will be able to regain good organisation and a certain serenity in your daily life. Be careful not to put off the implementation of these tips!
You certainly have people in your entourage who are never prone to procrastination, take inspiration from them. Whether at work or at home, see how these people organize their daily lives and learn from them. If it’s someone close to you, don’t hesitate to talk to them to find out what they do and what you don’t do, or the other way around. Maybe you will be able to get some valuable advice from them! It’s not a question of copying everything this person does, but of inspiring you by adapting his or her functioning to your personality.
Determine the cause of your procrastination
There are several possible causes for procrastination, find your own in order to solve it, here is a non-exhaustive list of various and varied causes:
- Perfectionism, fear of failure and of judging others;
- fear of difficult challenges;
- fear of being overwhelmed;
- provocation and the need for attention;
- the need for crisis, the addiction to adrenaline that comes from working in an emergency;
- mismanagement of your schedule;
- lack of interest in the tasks at hand…
Dig into your past
There are certainly times or periods in your life when you manage to accomplish the desired tasks in a given time. Then look at what was happening at that time in your life and in your head. Were they equivalent tasks? Were you in better shape? Happier? Then you can more easily put your finger on what makes you procrastinate all the time.
Sort it out
Choosing to put off cleaning your flat until tomorrow because you are receiving guests and prefer it to be clean at that time does not necessarily fall into the category of procrastination. It is simply a deliberate and reasoned choice on your part. So look for situations in which you are procrastinating when you should not. In your work, if you have no problem doing certain tasks, but you are always putting off the same things, perhaps you simply lack interest in that particular assignment, client or tasks. Perhaps you could discuss this with colleagues who would like to manage this client for you, or delegate if you have the opportunity.
Develop new habits
If the tasks you are putting off are always the same, try doing them in a more positive environment, with music for example, or at the beginning of the day or week. Often we are most motivated when we get up, so start the day with one or more strenuous tasks. You’ll be so happy to see this line crossed out in your early morning checklist that it will boost you for the rest of the day.
Stop putting pressure on yourself! Easy to say, that’s for sure. Procrastination is a complicated and self-inflicted concept. If it’s because you’re afraid of failing, just remember a time in your life when you felt the same way but you succeeded anyway. You can even make a list of accomplishments that you are proud of, whether personal or professional. This will encourage you to move forward, to be less afraid and more confident!