Procrastination can be defined as choosing to do something else other than the task you are supposed to be doing and it can be a real barrier to productivity.
Procrastination is often a product of fear. This could be a fear of failure, making mistakes or even a fear of success. Whatever the root of the fear, the consequences are millions of workers wasting valuable time and accomplishing less. However, there are solutions that can help us to fight our fears. Below, we look at the different fear factors that can lead to procrastination and how to eliminate them:
Fear of Failure
This can affect many of us, whether we’re in the workplace or working towards our qualifications at School/College/University. Often to tackle this, we need to change our mindset. Instead of thinking that the task is so important that you would rather not do it than fail at it, try to see that attempting the work is far better than inaction. If the task seems too big we will worry more about failing at it. Break it down into smaller pieces or steps will help to prevent procrastination by making the task feel more manageable. It will not feel like everything depends on one action, rather a series of actions to get to the conclusion. Also, once we get over that initial obstacle of starting, we might find that our standard of work is better than we had envisaged.
Fear of Success
If we are faced with a task that could have a big impact on our future career. For example a Dissertation or big project, we can sometimes procrastinate because we don’t believe that we deserve to succeed. Sometimes it’s because we are worried that success will lead to more work and responsibility. This can be exacerbated when we are under a great deal of stress or pressure. In this instance it can help to overcome procrastination if we engage someone else to hold us accountable. This could be anyone who can help us to set intermediate targets and help us to believe that we are worthy of success and thus help us to get started and to keep going.
Fear of Making Mistakes
This fear can be linked to poor decision making. As we might worry that we will make the wrong decisions, which will lead to us doing the wrong thing, so we will procrastinate about starting the task. Here it can help to just get started. As the longer we have to think about a task, the more we will doubt our decision making. Therefore, we need to commit to the task by focussing on doing instead of avoiding. Some people like to refer to it as “eating your frog for breakfast” – getting your most important/difficult task out of the way first. Once this is completed, everything else will seem easy.
I hope this has helped you to recognise what is making you procrastinate and how you can face your fears and make real progress towards greater productivity and less time wasting.
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Till Next time
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor