Vincy Workplace
May 20, 2005


After doing everything the time-management experts and books say, do you still procrastinate? Some days procrastination seems to be the easiest and best way out. Whether you are avoiding a long report, a phone call, or a promise you have to fulfill, sometimes it feels impossible to get motivated to do the task. Why do we procrastinate when it often causes us feelings of stress, frustration, and mental pain?{{more}}

1. Obligation: Humans hate to be told what to do. Resistance builds up when we are told we must do something. However, we are naturally energized when we want to do something. The minute the mind hears “have to” a procrastination routine begins. Strive to want to finish the task to eliminate the feeling of obligation.

2. The task is not that important: If it’s not a real priority for you the item will inevitably get pushed to the back burner each time. We all commit to things that it would be nice to do, but the question should be: Are you the person to do it? You may not necessarily be the person for the job. Even when a task is important, if there are no real consequences for not doing it on time and no rewards for getting it done on time, we tend to postpone or avoid the task altogether. Practice delegating and asking a colleague to help you or simply learn to say no.

3. Perfectionism: Some people feel if you can’t do a task perfectly the first time you shouldn’t even attempt it. That need to be perfect paralyzes many people as they strategize ways to get it right the first time. We are human, so we make mistakes. Keep that in mind the next time you start postponing a project. Perfection is practically impossible; one should strive for excellence, not perfection. To reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed, start small and break a project down into smaller tasks with a time limit for each one.

4. Pain avoidance: Sometimes the stakes are high, there is a consequence for late completion or a reward for a timely completion, and even then our brain and body just don’t seem to be in sync. In cases like these, we think it’s more painful to do the task than to put it off, and the delay tactics bring a certain level of comfort. But the task is never really as painful as it seems. Again, come up with reasons why you want to complete the task as opposed to why you have to.