top of page
  • , PCC, BCC

The Why's and How's of Procrastination: Unraveling the Web and Breaking Free

Most of us have been there. It's a Tuesday night, and we have a report of paper due in two days. Instead of getting it done, we find ourselves knee-deep in TikTok videos, home organization hacks, or binge-watching a TV show. This is the well-known maze of procrastination, a habit most of us struggle with, even though we are aware of its adverse impacts.

Procrastination is a common phenomenon that many people grapple with, and it is often misunderstood as mere laziness or a lack of discipline. As an executive coach, I have engaged in numerous conversations with clients grappling with procrastination, with their justifications spanning from the dread of failure or even triumph to the quest for flawlessness or the battle with self-confidence. Moreover, tasks perceived as overwhelming, boring, or lacking intrinsic value can also lead to procrastination. Here are some of the top reasons why people procrastinate:

Fear of Failure. One of the most common reasons for procrastination is the fear of failure. This fear often stems from a desire for perfection. Individuals delay or avoid tasks because they fear they won't complete them perfectly.

Lack of Motivation. If a task doesn't feel rewarding or meaningful, it's often pushed to the back burner.

Decisional Procrastination. Sometimes, people procrastinate because they're unable to make a decision. They delay starting a task because they have not decided on the best approach or method.

Task Aversion. If a task feels tedious, boring, or unpleasant, people will avoid it. The mere thought of doing the task creates feelings of discomfort or unease.

Impaired Impulse Control. This involves the inability to resist short-term temptations in favor of long-term gains. For instance, watching a video may offer immediate pleasure, while working on a report provides a more distant reward.

Breaking the Procrastination Cycle: Recommendation to Stop

The 5-Minute Rule. Commit to working on a task for just five minutes. Often, once you start, it's easier to continue beyond that initial time frame.

Break Tasks into Smaller Steps. Instead of writing 'complete report' on your to-do list, break it down: 'research topic,' 'write introduction,' 'draft body,' etc. This makes the task feel more manageable.

Visualize the End Result. Focusing on the positive feelings and benefits of completing a task can provide the necessary motivation.

Accountability Partners. Share your goals with a friend or colleague. Knowing that someone else is aware of your tasks can be a great motivator.

Set Clear Deadlines. Even if one doesn't exist, create one. This provides a sense of urgency.

Reframe Your Mindset. Shift from a fixed mindset ("I'm not good at this") to a growth mindset ("I can learn and improve"). Understand that mistakes are a part of growth, and perfection is not always attainable.

Reward Yourself. Set up a reward system for when you complete tasks. It could be something like a treat, a short break, or a fun activity.

Understand Your Peak Times. Some people are more productive in the mornings, while others work best in the afternoon or evening. Understand your body clock and schedule tasks accordingly.

Self-compassion. Remember, it's human to procrastinate. Instead of being hard on yourself, practice self-compassion. Understand the reasons behind your delay, address them, and move forward.

Understanding the reasons behind procrastination can provide valuable insights into how to tackle it. By integrating the abovementioned recommendations, you can harness productivity, minimize delays, and optimize your work and personal life. Remember, every journey beings with a single step!

1 view0 comments


bottom of page