It’s understood that out of the 7 billion people on this earth, 100% will experience procrastination of some kind…
That’s you, me and everyone else you know!
A startling statistic when you think about it, and goes to show that hiding from procrastination is like hiding from daylight… A near impossible mission but hey, if vampires can do it there’s hope for us too.
By the end of this article you’ll know how to determine if you are a procrastinator or not and walk away with some actionable strategies and ideas to help you get more done.
If we embrace the inevitable and begin to understand some common cures and causes of procrastination, we can be better prepared for when the procrastination monkey hits!
Now, I’m not sure if the procrastination curse is a diagnosed condition, but there’s no doubting it hits unwittingly in vast magnitudes and all capacities.
Funny story actually, which happened to me not long ago…
I was up early with the birds, pumped up and eager to start my next writing project. Plunked myself down, notepad and laptop out ready to go…
Next minute, half an hour later found myself watching YouTube, drinking a coffee, in fact… I wasn’t even the same room thinking how in the bejebas did I get here?
Have you been in a similar situation?
How do you know if your a procrastinator? The first step toward change is awareness.
You’re a student who’s last 5 assignments have been completed in the last week before being due – Continue reading and learn how to break the habit.
You might be a target based consultant and generate 80% of your monthly target in the last week of the month – Let’s get you on the path to hitting monthly targets by week two.
You have an out of control to-do list piling up faster than it’s reducing. You’re adding to-do tasks faster than completing at a rate of 5 to 1, causing a huge amount of stress and anxiety – Let’s switch the ratio and get you back in control. It’s possible!
Your new years resolution was to lose weight by this time next year but it’s August and your still the exact same weight – Let’s get your first kilo and first step to progress is coming off next month!
You get the picture… There are tons of examples and its estimated 1 in 5 people are chronic procrastinators.
I actually used to be quite terrible, however have put a lot of work, effort and focus into fixing this habit.
In an effort to help understand and interpret what is the psychology behind procrastination, I’ve developed a procrastination check list… On one side we have “What is the cause of procrastination” and on the other “What is the cure to procrastination.”
This has helped me tremendously and via sharing hope it can help you too.
In addition to the checklist I recommend one of my favorite talks on the topic…
Have you heard of the procrastination monkey?
This video is epic! 22 million views don’t lie.
Watch Tims video “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator” – Tim Urban is a leading educator on the topic. Tims ted talk is hilarious and will open your eyes to a greater understanding of the mind of a procrastinator.
How to beat the procrastination curse.
In an attempt to beat the procrastination curse and get more done in my day to day life. I developed procrastination cures and causes checklist explaining some simple tips and actionable strategies you can try for immediate results. I’ve started with the cures in case you don’t read to the end you come away with some helpful tips.
If you read to the end you will discover some of the most common causes of procrastination. Far less exciting however still vitally important… Just be sure to focus on the top list not the bottom or you’ll be in a life of stagnant progress.
What is the cure to procrastination? Top strategies to get more done!
- Practice do it now mentality – what’s one thing you can do right now?
- 2 Minute tasks – Are there any 2 minute tasks.
- Block out time – 15 minute blocks, 30 minutes blocks, 1 hour blocks, Block out time to work and complete a specific task.
- Understand the size – Understand some projects, responsibilities and assignments you can’t do all at once.
- Use the pain of failure to motivate you.
- Take advantage of times when you’re on – momentum and motivation spurts.
- Put yourself in a position to start – Put your gym shoes on, open the book, open the word document, pick up the phone, attend the seminar, take the first step. Simply put yourself in a position to allow progress.
- Begin with the end in mind – Have you visioned what your life will be like once the task is complete? The relief, the sense of accomplishment, personal achievement or the good it will do for others.
- Apply the 1 3 5 List Strategy – This is a cool little strategy for the out of control to-do list. Each task, project or mission; Obligate 1 big task, 3 medium and 5 small tasks. The trick is don’t add to the list.
- Have solid deadlines and stick to them.
- Write a done Journal – A done journal is something you can look back on for motivation and to see how far you’ve come. List everything you complete or achieve. I did this when I started to research and learn strategies on how on make money on the internet. Looking back there were things that had me stumped for days yet now I can complete with ease. Its easy to brush aside past accomplishments. There is an amazing power in being able to track back and view a progress guide to truly see how far you’ve come.
- Stop adding tasks to the to-do list.
- Build Momentum – Momentum solves 80% of your problems. There is an awesome book I would recommend By Darren Hardy called the compound effect can really help you jump start towards success.
- Reward yourself after completing tasks and projects – When you accomplish something it’s important to embrace that feeling as at the end of the day that’s the main thing.
- Stop being perfect.
- Commit to Daily progress – This is the mantra I began practicing around a year ago. Absolutely the easiest way to beat procrastination. Every day I am bodily able, regardless of the size or complexity of task I do something that will place me one step closer to completing the project I am working on. If your keen to explore the power of Daily Progress On Steroids please have a gander at the One funnel away Challenge, a 6 week immersion EXPERIENCE that’s unlike anything else on the market today.
- Rewrite your goals/ your why.
- Ask for help.
- Eliminate distractions – Easier said than done… Put your phone in another room, close the door, turn of the radio, TV, leave the house. HINT: Let your family know so you are on the same page not just being rude. If it’s important to you they will understand.
- Focus zone – This is a strategy I have been working on recently. It is in relation to laser focus on the task at hand. This means clearing EVERYTHING not required to complete the task. Totally clear the desk, remove all non-essentials – extra pens, paper, books, calculator, notebook, keys, phones. You want to develop the focus zone. It’s the next step up from Eliminate distractions – Your working with a blank canvas now (Only have in front of you the specific tools required to complete the task at hand).
- Just do it – The famous Nike slogan just do it, Just start!
Procrastination causes checklist.
I’ve put this down the bottom of the article as it’s the sad truth and may deflate you a little.
However, as I said in the intro if we can understand the causes and psychology behind procrastination we can be far better prepared for when it hits!
What is the cause of procrastination? Facing the devil head on!
- A Weak Why – You lack intention, significant goals or reason to complete the task at hand. I’ve talked before about a “powerful why” and how vital it is to success.
- There’s no consequence – The pain or consequence of non-completion isn’t great enough to trigger action.
- Complacency – You’re satisfied or content where you are and hold the belief that the task at hand is optional or won’t make a justifiable difference in your life.
- Fear and anxiety – In a broad sense fear plays a significant role in the psychology of procrastination. Fear of failure, fear of letting people down, putting yourself out there, looking like a fool and even fear of success. Yes for some people even the fear of success can be a driving factor of procrastination.
- Perfectionism – Not to be confused with having high standards for your work. You can develop and produce high quality content without being perfect! If procrastination perfectionism stops you from ever launching that campaign, writing that book, submitting that application. In your mission for perfectionism, missed opportunities may cause more harm than good. Hint: You can always relaunch/ edit and improve pre-released content.
- Inability, lack of skills or education – Not knowing the first step, having the right tools and recourse s available.
- Low confidence or not believing your good enough.
- Laziness or lack of drive – Your drive stems from your why, but laziness comes from within. Sure, there’s times when laziness is okay… I mean who doesn’t like a sleep in or a movie night on the couch. It’s when the laziness is prioritised the issue starts to rise.
- The task is too big – Long term projects, high responsibility assignments, ad campaigns, product launches, business plans, 10,000 word essays, thesis or analysis reports, corporate events, sales presentation, public speaking presentation, renovation or marketing campaigns. Regardless of the task, if it’s big enough, can be overwhelming and tough to start.
- I’ll do it tomorrow attitude – The tomorrows list spiral attitude I know from experience. I once had a to-do tomorrow list 6 pages long! There was a stage the lost got so big and overwhelming I scrapped the whole thing throwing away countless ideas and opportunities.
- Poor experience with a certain task – Have you done something in the past and it always turns out bad? Or you place so much pain towards it – For me it used to be writing emails to my list – I still hate it but get it done using some of the cures strategies above.
- You’ve built a habit – A simple google search brings up multiple examples of how quickly one can develop a habit with the general consensus of 21 – 66 days. Wow! Well I was 24 before I even consciously started looking into procrastination behavior and the psychology of procrastination… Fair to say I had a pretty a well-entrenched procrastination habit.
- Lack of focus
- You’re easily distracted – Like my story earlier, I sat down to work on a project and ended up in a different room, drinking a coffee, watching YouTube… No doubt a very common theme for the easily distracted procrastinator.
- Time management/ Can’t calculate time – We all know someone like this, they say they’ll will be there in 15 minutes and show up 2 hrs later. Or you set aside 25 minutes to do something and it requires at least 4 hrs of solid work. Placing impossible deadlines on yourself is a surefire way to end up in the loony house.
So there you have it, my best effort in explaining the psychology behind procrastination.
I hope you enjoyed the video and found some value from the checklists.
Tims talk is one of my absolute favorites on the topic and found it absolutely hilarious.
You’re lucky now… Next time you feel the procrastination monkey creeping in, jump back over here to review the cures to procrastination checklist.
How do you stack up? Let me know your you favorite tactic in the comments and share this checklist with the biggest procrastinator you know.
The Introverted Affiliate
P.S. I’m curious… Whats your strategy for beating procrastination? Please share in the comments 🙂