Imagine how much you’d get done if you never procrastinated. It’s pretty incredible, isn’t it? Procrastination is the greatest barrier to achieving goals and getting things accomplished. Time is a valuable resource, and procrastination is the greatest enemy of time.
Those who procrastinate the most are also the least effective. Does your most successful friend procrastinate a lot? How about your least successful friend?
Waiting until the last possible moment to complete a task eliminates the possibility of finding the most elegant solution. You’re doomed to experience mediocre results, assuming you’re able to complete the task on time at all.
There are several possible reasons you procrastinate:
1. Fear of failure. This is perhaps the most common cause of procrastination. After all, you can’t fail if you don’t try. Unfortunately, you can’t accomplish anything without taking action. If you find your life has been stuck in the same place for a long time, you’re most likely afraid of failing.
- Reframe the idea of failure and realize that it’s one of many possible results. You can choose to learn from that result and apply it to your next attempt. Repeating this process ensures success.
- Expect to fail. The more often you fail, the more quickly you’ll reach your goals. Avoid allowing an irrational fear to become an obstacle to getting things done.
2. The need for perfection. Noting in life is perfect. The desire for perfection results in procrastination. Decide how good it really needs to be. There will never be a perfect moment or opportunity. Your results will never be perfect. Nothing needs to be perfect, so just get busy.
3. Habits that don’t support getting started. Getting started is the hardest part. Some of us have effective habits for getting started on new projects or unappetizing tasks. Others have great habits for putting off these same activities.
- Develop the habit of taking immediate action on any unpleasant tasks. It can be small and simple, but get started! You’ll often find that a small amount of momentum is enough to do more work than you initially intended.
4. A lack of self-discipline. Self-discipline is a valuable commodity, especially for the creation of new habits. Use your self-discipline wisely. It’s always in short supply. Use it to develop the habits that will overcome procrastination.
5. Fear of success. You might think a fear of success is ridiculous, but it’s very common. Success carries several burdens. You become more visible and have more responsibility when you’re successful. You are the victim of higher expectations in the future.
- Tell yourself that you can overcome the pitfalls of success. Avoid letting a fear of success lead to procrastination.
6. The inability to deal effectively with discomfort. At the most basic level, procrastination results when the thought of taking action results in more discomfort than you’re capable of dealing with at that moment. It’s only when the pain of not taking action becomes greater than the pain of avoidance that things get done.
- Some of us are more influenced by that discomfort than others. With practice, you can learn to take action even in the face of great discomfort.
- Start small and tackle those tasks that are only mildly unpleasant. You’ll find your resistance to those uncomfortable feelings will increase.
Eliminating procrastination from your life results in getting more things done. And those things will be done at a much higher level. If you procrastinate excessively, your entire life suffers. Procrastination results in stress and poor results. Take control of your emotions and rid yourself of the tendency to procrastinate. Your results will be worth the effort!