Why Do I Procrastinate Everything
Don’t you just hate it? You’ve gone and done it again haven’t you? That project you got at work 2 months ago is now “suddenly” due. And I mean the word “suddenly” very sarcastically. Truth be told you’ve had more than ample time to do it, you just didn’t. Now you’ve got 2 days to pull together something passable that you should’ve been working on a month ago. You’re hoping that the boss is distracted the day you present it to him because it’s not gonna be your best work, and that’s being generous. Why didn’t you start it before? Why do I procrastinate everything?
Wouldn’t you know it, Memorial Day weekend is just a week away. After you rolled yourself out of bed on January 1st you swore this was the year you were going to get in shape. Now pool season is staring you in the face and your body looks the same as it did 4 months ago. You promised yourself this was the year, what happened? Well, Jimmy had all those basketball practices and games. Then little Susie had dance twice a week. Now you’ve got end of school events every other night this month. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Tick tick tick.
You know what really happened, you procrastinated. Again. And once again you are asking yourself, why do I procrastinate everything.
Reasons Why You Procrastinate
There’s lots of reasons why people procrastinate. Some are fairly obvious but perhaps there are some you hadn’t really thought of. Here’s some of the reasons why people procrastinate, see if any of them seem familiar to you.
I’ll do it later
Oh yes, this is one most of us can wrap our heads around easily. Life is always busy and there’s always a million things to do. Hey I get it, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When your head is spinning from too much to do, it’s easy to say I’ll do it later when I have a little more time. The problem here is you never really have more time. That’s something that’s easy to tell yourself and makes it a good excuse to procrastinate. One way to combat this is to ensure your prioritize what’s the most important and do those things first. When you have 50 things to do at work, you aren’t getting them all done. Focus on the most important ones and get to the less important ones if and when you have the time.
I’ll do the easy stuff first
Now with this one I know you know what I’m talking about. We are all guilty of this one. We all want to feel that sense of accomplishment. Couple that with the fact that we like instant gratification and you’ve got a perfect combination. To procrastinate on the bigger tasks that is. When we are looking at our long list of things we have to get done knocking out some easy stuff first makes us feel good. The issue here is we tend to get stuck in the little tasks and never get to the things that take longer. The best way to not get caught in this trap of procrastination is to break big tasks into smaller chunks. Say you’re going to work on a big project for one hour. That way you are working towards completing it a little at a time. You’ll feel better about it.
I don’t know how to start
When faced with something new it’s easy to procrastinate when you don’t know how to get it rolling. This is why so many new ventures never get off the ground. It’s why people never start working out when they swear this is the year they get in shape. They don’t know what step 1 is. Or step 2 or 3 and so on.
There are several ways to approach this. First of all there’s this thing called the internet that has all kinds of information on it, check it out. When I was going to over seed my yard for the first time and I’d never done it guess what I did? I looked at video’s on YouTube. Second you can always enlist the help of someone who knows what they are doing, like a personal trainer. Finally just take the first step. Make a general plan and just start with something. Most times it will start moving itself along once you take step 1.
I want it to be perfect
A lot of us never get things started because we want it to be perfect. For many people getting hung up on perfectionism is a big cause of procrastination. Here’s an area where my wife and I often butt heads. We laugh about it (sometimes) when I say “quality is job 3”. I’m making my own version of what used to be Ford Motor Company’s slogan “Quality is job 1”. For me, quality is not the primary driver. I can get a ton of s**t done, most of it isn’t going to be perfect. That’s how I roll. My wife is the other way, she focuses on one things until it’s done to her complete satisfaction. We are just wired different.
The reality is perfectionism is a myth, it can’t be attained. When you strive for perfectionism you are setting yourself up for disappointment and almost always procrastination. Do yourself a favor and lose the need for being perfect.
I’m afraid of the unknown
Aren’t we all? This is a big reason of procrastination. Think about if something feels wrong with your body. You’re arm tingles a little bit one day and that’s no big deal. Then next week it tingles a few days and well, okay. After a while it’s tingling off and on many days and you start to get worried. But you procrastinate going to the doctor. The reason why is because you are afraid of what you’ll find out. Unfortunately most of the time the longer we wait on something like this, the worse it is.
The best way to handle this is telling yourself that the quicker you take care of something, normally the better off you are. It’s like when you have a cold that turns into the flu that turns into…..something else. Then never goes away until finally you go to the doctor and get antibiotics. The earlier you take care of something, the faster you are going to benefit from it.
I always get distracted
Boy this is just a way of life now, am I right?! Hey! Someone just texted me!! When I look at my daughters phone it’s no wonder she rarely peels her eyes from it. I get frustrated that she can spend 3 hours IN A ROW on her phone but I know why. She’s got every single notification possible on there. Not a minute goes by without 5 + notifications popping up. And that’s how life is in general right now. Phone notifications, emails, kids bugging you with questions, the list goes on and on. We live in a highly distracted world. I’m sure you’ve heard that the average human attention span is something like 9 seconds which is similar to a goldfish. I don’t know if that’s true but it seems like it.
You can work on this one by…….you guessed it, limiting your distractions. Honestly just not taking your phone with into every room including the bathroom is a good start. Put it in the glove box when you drive. Don’t jump on your email every time you hear the famous “ping”. When someone interrupts you politely tell them to wait, you are in the middle of something. Don’t read every piece of media flotsam that floats across your radar. Take the necessary steps to limit your distractions to focus on things.
I don’t Wanna
There is also the good old reason you just don’t want to do it. I don’t like weed whacking the yard. I’m fine with mowing but I seriously dislike using the trimmer for all the edgework in the yard. So guess what? I either procrastinate doing it or I simply don’t do it. The reason being is I don’t want to do it. And this is a very common reason for procrastinating. When you don’t want to do something it’s super easy to find a bunch of reasons not to do it.
To be honest there aren’t a lot of encouraging words to do something you don’t want to. In another article I wrote recently it addresses how to do the things we hate. Sometimes we simply have to power through them, especially if it’s something that helps us in our own quest for self improvement. However if it’s something that is simply a task that has to be done, sometimes it’s more fun to see if someone else can do it instead. Like when I get my wife to do all the edgework in the yard and I’ll do the mowing. See, that wasn’t so hard was it.
There’s many more reasons than the 6 I listed here why people procrastinate. I’ll bet with enough research it wouldn’t be hard to come up with 50 or more reasons why people procrastinate. I’ve attempted to address some of the more common reasons plus some tips to move past these forms of procrastination.
Bottom line is procrastination is something we are all guilty of from time to time. Some more than others. Take a look at yourself and see what makes you ask yourself, why do I procrastinate everything? The biggest question to ask yourself is do you procrastinate things that will make your life better or make you a happier person. If yes, then do something to address that. If it’s just stupid tasks you procrastinate, don’t sweat it. Or better yet, get someone else to do it.
What are you waiting for? Stop procrastinating!
All my best,