Who doesn’t struggle with procrastination?
Clarry Lay, psychology professor and prominent writer on procrastination says procrastination occurs when there is “a temporal gap between intended and enacted behavior.” In other words, procrastination occurs when you let a significant amount of time pass between when you intend to do something and when you actually do it. It may be that you find a task unpleasant, but procrastinating steals your time and lowers your productivity.
If you struggle with procrastination, you are more likely to beat it from the start by checking the reasons you give for putting off a task. Take some time to listen to your own inner monologue. What are you saying? Are you saying things like, “I can’t do this right now because I want it to be absolutely perfect.” Quit that! Instead, remind yourself exactly why finishing that task is important and why you need to do it now.
Fuschia Sirois, psychology professor at Bishop's University in Canada, concurs and offers this advice based on her own research on the subject: "You've got to dig a little deeper and find some personal meaning in that task," she says. At least that will give you a good why for not to procrastinate. Here are 10 common excuses for procrastinating you probably make but should stop today if you want to boost your productivity.
1. I am too tired.
If you catch yourself saying you are too tired too often, then this could be an excuse. If you were indeed too tired, you would be instinctively resting somewhere or sleeping—not convincing yourself how tired you are.
2. I am not gifted enough for this.
Many successful people in this world are not the most gifted at all. What makes them successful is their hard work and persistence. Take J.K. Rowling, for an example. As talented as she is, she is not exactly Jane Austen.
3. I am waiting for inspiration.
Moments of inspiration won’t always come. If you are waiting for inspiration, you might be waiting for a very long time and never get any work done. Just start and get what needs to be done DONE when it out to.
4. This is too much work. I’ll do it later.
If you have a large workload, break it up into smaller, more manageable tasks and start working on these. The Zeigarnik effect will kick in and your brain will automatically push you to keep at the task until it is done.
5. I am waiting for the right time to do this.
While your body is better equipped to handle certain things at certain times of the day, understand the best time to do something was yesterday. The next best time is now because the future is not guaranteed.
6. I can’t finish this on time so what’s the point?
You will never know for sure if you can finish something on time unless you actually start and see. Besides, you don’t need time to do something; you need to CREATE time to do it!
7. There is still time to do this.
The only time you are sure of is now. Tomorrow might not come. Work in the now and make the most of the present moment—it might be all you get.
8. I am waiting for help.
Do your part right away. Let the person coming in to help find you have done (or are doing) your part. That is one way to boost morale.
9. I don’t have the resources to do this.
The most important thing you need is a willing heart and the determination to do what needs to be done. All the resources and skills you need will come eventually. As the saying goes, “Where there is a will there is a way.”
10. It’s not that important. It can wait.
If it is not that important you wouldn’t be agonizing about it now, would you? You are only telling yourself that to make yourself feel better for procrastinating. Stop it and just start somewhere...anywhere.
Be nice to yourself. You might think that to overcome procrastination you need to be hard or strict with yourself, but that's not how it works. If you have already procrastinated, studies show you are more likely to start and move forward if you show yourself some compassion for previous slacking. Don't beat yourself up too much. Keep calm, be mindful and write now!