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The Psychology Behind Procrastination and How To Prevent It


Procrastination is, by far, the biggest enemy of productivity in the modern world. It doesn't matter whether the individual in question is a student, a professional working in the industry, or a stay-at-home mom of two; we all are guilty of procrastination and have always struggled to get rid of it. Research has suggested that there is no one reason as to why people procrastinate. Everyone has different reasoning that makes us behave the way we do. So, what can you do? How can you get rid of this productivity killer? Let's take a look at some of the most common reasons people procrastinate and how you can get rid of them.

You Don't Think You Can Do It

The first reason why people procrastinate is that they don't think they have what it takes to do a certain task. The classic "I don't know how to do this" affects everyone, and when forced to do that certain task, people just keep putting it off to the next day. The easy way to get rid of this behavior is to ask someone for help. If there is someone in your social circle which is good at that task, you can get some help from them and go for the "I can learn as I do it" approach.

You Think Its Too Easy

Another reason why people keep putting off a fairly simple task is that they think it's menial to do urgently. As a result, mornings become afternoon, afternoons become midnight, and midnights become tomorrow. When you're already doing your work, take some time out to quickly boost through that easy task. Once you get done with that, you'll have slightly more energy because you just successfully finished a task.

The Goal Isn't Defined

Every morning we wake up with certain goals and objectives in mind. These objectives are a group of tasks that we have to get done in the day. But, when we collectively think of them as chores or errands, we end up procrastinating because we do not know the end goal. For example, if you put "exercise" on your to-do list, that's extremely vague, and you'll probably just put it off for a later date. The key to getting rid of this behavior is to properly define your goals. Replace 'exercise' with something like "I want to shred 10 kgs of weight this month". It'll help you stay loyal to that goal.

The Rewards Are Too Far

When the results of whatever you're struggling off are too far away in the future, people often end up losing motivation mid-way. Writers often face this feeling of demotivation where they just can't seem to want to write and start procrastinating during the writing phase. The only way to get rid of this behavior is to keep your goal in your mind and hit the refresh button constantly. Read about other folks that have walked the same path as you and see where they are now. This motivation should get you back up and running pretty quickly.

The Tasks Are Overwhelming

This is something that's most common in students. Whenever a student is buried 5 feet deep in assignments, they can't find the strength to do any of them. The thought of completing all the assignments successfully is so far-fetched that they just don't even want to start a single one. One way to push through this kind of procrastination is to start with the easiest assignment and work your way up from there. The moment you complete one assignment, you'll get this sudden motivation boost that will practically force you to get the rest of them done as well.

Closing Thoughts

Procrastination is something that affects all of us. If you're trying to do something but keep putting it off for the next day, you're not the only one. If you really want to get rid of procrastination and complete your tasks productively, you have to dig deep down and understand why you're procrastinating. Without getting down to the root cause, you'll never be able to improve your workflow.


Originally published May 8, 2021 08:03:52 PM UTC. Updated May 8, 2021 08:07:19 PM UTC.