Deal with the causes of procrastination and you tackle the roots of your resistance to tasks and projects.
Once you earn the major causes, the solution for each one becomes so much clearer.
Here are some major progess preventers...
1. You feel overwhelmed. Some things seem so complex you don’t know where to begin. Others may need a mountain of work to be done before you feel on top of things.
Solution: All projects that overwhelm you can be broken down into manageable chunks. You can probably delegate some of the work, too. Also, ask someone who you think could help.
2. You feel way behind. Things have stacked up, to the point where the situation paralyses you. The risk here is that you’ll end up even futher behind.
Solution: Sit down and plan it. Separate a typical day’s work from the backlog. Chip away at the backlog each day. You can see an example of this relating to your email messages.
3. The task seems boring. Yes, it may be important, but it’s just seems so dull. You don’t feel you can summon up the drive to do it.
Solution: Firstly, ask yourself ‘Is the outcome worth it?’ If so, overcome your resistance by lowering it.
4. Plenty of time to the deadline. The issue here is not enough urgency to make it ‘hurt’. It’s so easy to do it later. The result? Too little, too late. Stress and burnout are usually the price to pay. Quality is often compromised, too.
Solution: Being a ‘Last Minute Larry’ is a habit that becomes re-inforced with repetition, but you can unlearn it. How? Replace it with a habit that serves you. In this case, when the work comes in, do a little daily.
5. Not enough clarity of purpose. When you can’t see the point of it, your motivation dips.
Solution: Consider the outcome you want. You may need to do some marketing to yourself. A simple way to do this is to write down what you want to achieve, then put it somewhere you’ll see it several times a day.
6. The task is too easy. A perceived lack of challenge is one of the most common causes of procrastination. It catches you out -- there are more important things to do today. The consequence are similar to the long deadline example above.
Solution: Get easy tasks out of the way as soon as possible. They can actually give you a motivation boost if you’re a list lover. Tick them off, then move on.
7. The conditions aren’t quite right. You can’t, or more likely, won’t start because you feel you need more time or resources before you can take on the task.
Solution: You’ve heard of Ready-Aim-Fire? Well, you need to Ready-Fire-Aim. Just start -- it's the most effective thing you can do. You can always refine it later. Have a look at the diagram of the 80-20 rule for a visual explanation.
8. The unknown. Maybe you don’t know even know the causes of procrastination -- you’re just not doing it!
Solution: You need clarity. Identifying the causes of procrastination is the first step to dealing with it. Give it one minute of pure thought. Ask yourself why. Writing down your responses may help if an answer doesn't come to mind.