Most of us think procrastination is an act of avoidance and ultimately failure. Most of us have found ourselves suddenly reorganizing a closet because a project just feels too heavy. Here are three reasons you may be procrastinating that have nothing to do with failure; plus a few strategies for breaking through and getting things done.
Reason #1: You have an energy management problem
A lot of procrastination, turns out, is just exhaustion. It could be that your procrastination stems not from being unmotivated, but from being depleted. Take an honest look at what’s on your plate right now. Do you need a break? Do you need better boundaries? Do you need to work on your energy levels, for example, your habits with sleep, food, and movement? Have you optimized your down time, up time, and in-between time to align with your needs in the current season of your life and career? Consider the energy you reasonably have available and try investing it more intentionally.
Reason #2: You have a task problem
You might be procrastinating because the work feels too difficult and overwhelming, or too boring and tedious. One of the conditions for achieving a state of flow is to work on tasks over which we have some level of mastery, yet they remain engaging. If your tasks fall outside of those conditions, consider breaking them down, getting support where you feel overly challenged, and / or connecting simple tasks to a greater goal. If you can remind yourself why doing your taxes is so important to your dream of self-employment, maybe you won’t avoid doing them quite so much.
Reason #3: You have a mindset problem
There’s a good chance your procrastination is a mindset problem, rooted in fear, dread, or a simple lack of inspiration. Your mindset is a habit. So, what do you repeatedly think when it comes to the work that is not getting done due to (supposed) procrastination? You might be thinking when I complete this, I have no idea what comes next, or, once I hand this in, my abilities will be assessed, or my work is meaningless so what’s the point anyway. This next part is simple but rarely easy: try choosing new thoughts. Choose thoughts that are more productive, more positive and that support you getting into action rather than running away from it.
Here’s to you stepping into greater, more meaningful action.