1. Obligation. Humans hate to be told what to do. Resistance builds up when we are told we “have toâ do something. However, we are naturally energized when we “want toâ do something. The minute the mind hears “have to,â your procrastination routine begins. Strive instead to “want toâ finish the task and it will eliminate the feelings of obligation.
2. Itâs not that important. If it’s not a real priority for you, then that item will inevitably get pushed all the way to the back burner each time. We all commit to things that it would be nice to do, but the question should be “are you the person to do it?” Oftentimes, even though it would be nice to do something, it doesnât mean you are the person to do it. Even when a task is important, if there are no real consequences for not doing the task on time or reward for getting done in a timely fashion, again we tend to postpone or avoid the task altogether. Practise delegating and asking a colleague to help or simply learn to say no.
3. Perfectionism. Some people feel if you canât do it perfect the first time, donât even bother to attempt it. That need to be perfect paralyzes many people, as they strategize ways to get it right the first time. Errors will occur, as we are human; so keep that in mind the next time you invariably start postponing a project. Perfection is practically impossible; one should strive for excellence, not perfection. Start small; break a project down into smaller tasks with a time limit to reduce the overwhelming feelings.
4. Pain avoidance. Sometimes the stakes are high and there is a consequence for late completion or there is a reward for a timely completion, and even then our brain and body just doesnât seem to be in sync. In cases like these, we think itâs more painful to do the task and the delay tactics bring a certain level of comfort. It’s never really as painful as it seems. Again, come up with reasons why you “want toâ complete the task as opposed to why you “have to.â
Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.â For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to [email protected]
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