Most people think that procrastination is just an annoying or funny habit. They might joke that they have a mile-long to-do list or a stack of books that they never get around to reading. Those examples would be a very mild form of procrastination – but it can get much more serious than that.
Procrastination can destroy your life if you let it. It can cause financial problems, relationship problems, health crises, and more.
The causes for procrastination are numerous, but here are three of the most common ones:
1. Believing a task will ‘take too long’, so you keep putting it off until you have more time.
2. Believing a task will be too difficult, so you keep putting it off until you feel ready to handle it.
3. Waiting for a ‘better time’ to tackle a task, such as waiting until you’re not so stressed, or your life circumstances have quieted down, or waiting until you have less demands on your time.
Have you ever procrastinated because of these reasons? Most people have. But the problem arises when:
1. You never have more time.
2. You never feel ready to handle it.
3. A better time never arrives.
What then? The task never gets accomplished, and conditions continue to get worse as time goes on.
There is one simple way to deal with all three of these procrastination habits: do a little each day!
One major theme runs through all three of those causes above, and that is that you don’t believe you have what it takes (time, ability or resources) to complete the whole job. And maybe you really don’t. But can you do SOME of it? Can you work on it for a few minutes at a time?
In most cases, the answer will be yes.
The greatest way I’ve ever found to overcome procrastination is to push myself to get moving on something – even for a few minutes. I’ll set an egg timer for 15 minutes or so, and promise myself that I can stop after that if I want to.
Once the 15 minutes are up, however, I no longer feel the need to procrastinate. I’m making progress and feeling good about it.
Try it yourself and see the difference!
And remember, procrastination cannot hold you back if you make it your mission to take action – even if only for a few minutes each day!