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WellSorted Professional Organising, Getting Things Done, To Do Lists
Virginia Wells

Virginia Wells

Reasons Why You Procrastinate And How To Avoid It

Why do you procrastinate? You’ve got something on your To-Do List to get done but you’ve successfully avoided it all week… or month… or year… Why do you avoid it? And how do you overcome procrastination? Here are a few different ways.

Why You Procrastinate

Emotions bubbling away

Sometimes you’re avoiding something because there’s a bunch of emotions buried under the surface. It might be a fear of failure (or success). It might be overwhelm or stress. Regardless, the remedy is the same.

Dig deep. Observe your feelings. Release them. That might require a bit of journaling, a chat with a friend, or booking in to see a counsellor or coach. It’s time to uncover the emotions that are blocking your progress.

Alternatively, maybe the tasks on your list aren’t getting done because you just don’t ‘feel it’ any more. This is commonly felt in jobs you no longer like. If you were to reflect, you discover deep down, you know it’s time to move on to a new career, hobby or task. Those tasks won’t get done (or will get done poorly) because you’ve fallen out of love with it. Stepping away from these things can be a painful process. It can come with a sense of grief and loss. Allow those feelings in, and know, you can always welcome it back into your life if it turns out to be a mistake. So, be true to yourself and take steps to move away from that which is no longer your passion. This might require some journaling, career counselling or quiet reflections.

If you’re mid-way through a task or project that you’re letting go, tidy it up, put it away or bin it.

Training, conversations or research

Typically we get told to break tasks into smaller chunks. Totally, do that but have you done that and you’re still not getting the job done? What we don’t acknowledge is that we’re not getting it done because we actually need some help on how to do it. Or, at the very least, a conversation with someone who’s done it before. Why? Because it’s jumbled in our head and that conversation or training helps us to feel confident in moving forward.

Another simple thing to try is doing some research. Essentially, sometimes we haven’t really figured out what that first step is when we write down a task. Often it ends up being, in fact, that we need to gather more information. For example, you need to fix a toy. It’s been on the list for a year and it still isn’t done. If you listen to your thoughts, the reason you haven’t fixed it is that you don’t know how. With some Googling and YouTube video tutorials, you now are ready to fix it or know that you need to enlist some help (or bin it).

You don’t need to do it

Sometimes we procrastinate because it no longer really needs to be done. This can often be an issue if you are a perfectionist. You have to finish it because it’s on the list. When you sit back and think about it, the need for it to be done has passed. Its importance is no longer relevant. Our mind tells us ‘oh but I should still do it’ or ‘but it would be nice if I finished it’. Let these tasks go. Make room for more important stuff or better still, some fun!

You hate it, so outsource it

What about the stuff that you just loath doing? Easy. Outsource it. It doesn’t have to cost money. Think of a friend or colleague who enjoys it. Swap the task with them for something you like to do. If you have the cash, pay someone else to do it. I often organise people’s tax documents because they hate it.

Clear your head

Maybe you’re procrastinating because you push yourself too hard and you need a break. It can be common to do something ‘important’ rather than give to ourselves. This means we might burn out and then nothing gets done. If this is the case, it’s time to schedule some time to unwind. You will emerge feeling energised to face whatever you’ve been avoiding.

Now you have a few more ideas about why you procrastinate. Why not review your to-do list and see if any of the above are the culprits? I’d love to hear how you tackle them. Come and share in the WellSorted Facebook Group.

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