Do you often find yourself putting things off until the last minute? Do deadlines overshadow inspiration as your driving force for productivity? If so, you're not alone.
According to research from Dr. Joseph Ferrari, 20% of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators, and let's face it, procrastination is a tough habit to kick!
While everyone's different, there are some tried-and-true methods that can help us fight procrastination. Yes, even you!
Before we break those down, let's first explore the types and causes of procrastination in more detail
Four types of procrastination?
The perfectionist - avoids starting or finishing tasks
The overloaded - have too much on their plate and end up failing tasks
The lucky optimist - believes things will simply work out (and they often do!)
The pleasure-seeking avoider - wants to live in the moment
Ring any bells? If any of the above four descriptions sounds like you, don't worry. We've got some ideas to help you out!
What is the most common cause of procrastination?
Studies have uncovered time and time again that distraction and overwhelm are the most common causes of procrastination.
We’ve all been there, phone notifications pinging, meetings interrupting your flow, and with the new hybrid working models… even the laundry can suddenly seem appealing when procrastination strikes!!
But here's the good news: once you understand why you're procrastinating, it's easier to find a solution.
What are some other causes?
Alongside getting distracted and feeling overwhelmed, there are many other reasons for procrastination. A research article by Balkis and Duru highlights a few potential causes:
- Poor time management
- General lack of motivation
- Inability to concentrate on tasks
- Feelings of anxiety
- Unrealistic expectations
If you're anything like me, you might find yourself nodding along to several of the points above. And that's just fine! At times, we are all susceptible to procrastination. The key is to find methods that work for you to fight it.
How to combat procrastination?
Set a timer for one hour and work on a task until the timer goes off. Once the timer goes off, take a five-minute break. Repeat this process until the task is done.
Procrastination Power Playlist
Create a playlist of songs that get you pumped up and motivated. When you're feeling tempted to procrastinate, put on your power playlist and get to work.
Set Smaller Goals
If a task seems too daunting, break it down into smaller goals. Once you accomplish a smaller goal, you'll feel more motivated to keep going.
When you're trying to focus on a task, remove anything that might distract you. This could mean turning off your phone, closing the door to your office, or perhaps investing in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.
Start With an Easy Task
Sometimes the hardest part of an activity is getting started. To overcome this, start with an easy task related to the one you're avoiding. For example, if you're procrastinating over writing a cover letter, start by highlighting core areas of the job spec for inspiration.
Beating yourself up will only make you feel worse and is more likely to lead to further procrastination. Research has found that forgiving yourself for past procrastination can help you move on and avoid it in the future.
Implementing some of the tips above will help you take control of your time and most importantly, get things done.
Just remember, be patient with yourself and take it one step at a time.