6 Surprising Causes Of Procrastination

Have you ever made (New Year’s) resolutions? I bet you have! I’ll also wager that most of those resolutions had something to do with your productivity at work. Mainly about how you can increase it, without actually having to work longer hours. Am I right? You want to beat procrastination. Well, that’s exactly what we’ll be telling you how to do in the next eight articles. One per week, so you can take your time with each one.

Reasons for procrastination

Part 1/8 – 6 Surprising Causes Of Procrastination

How many times have you begun your week full of good intentions, swearing you won’t let yourself be distracted and that you’ll get things done? Only to find that you’re spending time on Facebook again, or checking your emails and not ticking off things on your list.

How is that possible! You just want to get your work done and yet you keep on procrastinating. What little devils are at play here?

1. We want instant gratification. Having a nice nap in the couch may seem a lot more fun than going out running in the cold. Sipping on your coffee and staring out of the window is easier than working on that boring report. Checking your mail or Facebook gives you a quicker result than finishing the project that takes hours of work.

2. We’re afraid. Maybe you’re postponing your work because there’s a problem or question that hasn’t been solved yet. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll fail or look stupid. Sometimes it’s easier to do something easy and save the real work for later. That way, you don’t get confronted with possibly negative results.

3. We get paralysed by perfectionism. If you like things to be done really well it’s probably going to take a lot of work. Just thinking about the work your project will take, you could easily get slightly stressed. In fact, it can make you so stressed that you never get started. You’d rather dream about the result than have to face the possibility of not having a great result.

4. We’re not children anymore. When we were in school, there was a teacher breathing in our necks that chided us for not doing our work. In some work environments, the same applies. Under external pressure, however unpleasant, you do have the tendency to get work done. As an independent adult you’re supposed to be doing this by yourself, which sadly many of us don’t. You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you did.

5. We overestimate our future self. We often postpone things because we think we’ll get them done in some bright future where you’re more productive than ever and work is effortless. Sadly, reality tends to be a bit more grim. Sadly if you’re not working on it right now, in your bright future you’ll be the same procrastinator you are today. Why would anything have changed? Stupid future self…

6. We want to do too much. We all know the phenomenon: you get so sick of procrastinating that you swear it’s going to change this time. The first thing you do works, so you get hungry and try to fix everything at once. Soon, you’re so swamped in things to do for the sake of time management that you’re more stressed than before. Exhausted, you give up and fall back into the same old routine.

Our future self may not be as super as we imagine

Our future self may not be as super as we imagine

So how can you overcome procrastination?

Over the course of this series, we’ll take a look at different ways to overcome your internal procrastinator with concrete productivity tips and insights you can choose from (wisely) to become more efficient.

PS.: Now that you’re here, do leave a comment. Even if it’s a small one! A blog is so much more fun when people react to it…


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10 Responses to “6 Surprising Causes Of Procrastination”

  1. Gregory Ball says:

    Procrastination, postponing things, is a problem everyone can do something to remedy individually, on the personal and/or professional level. So this is definitely a topic worth following up. This summary of six causes is a good start and already provides plenty of food for thought. Right now it’s the season for ‘New Year’s resolutions’, but in fact you can start working on this problem at any time, and it’s always a case of ‘better late than never’.

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  3. admin says:

    Thanks for your comment Greg! Like you say, procrastination isn’t just material for New Year’s Resolutions :) knowing where it’s coming from is step one, so you can separate the real causes for postponing something from the excuses. Getting that handled is half of the solution!

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