Why Do We Procrastinate?

What is procrastination? Dictionary.com calls it the putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention. What leads us to put off some actions, tasks or projects? 

  • Fear of failure
  • Difficulty of task
  • Lack of interest
  • Prior experience that reminds us it is unpleasant
  • Overwhelming aspect of the task
  • Just not motivated
  • Don’t see the value

The bi-product of procrastination is an added stress that can lead to panic when pressed up against a deadline. Then when we respond to a task in panic mode we are more likely to make mistakes or miss something important.

Why would we set ourselves up for this experience and how can we avoid it?

Brian Tracy wrote a book called Eat That Frog – 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Geat that froget More Done in Less Time.  He offers some great advice for being more productive and resisting the urge to procrastinate. The first step – start your day with the biggest, ugliest frog (task) that is on your list. Once that is done – the rest is a piece of cake.


Multi-Tasking Is The Enemy

Women have a tendancy to use their ability to multi-task as a strategy for getting things done; however, when we try to do multiple things at once we either fail to complete one or all of the tasks or we make mistakes. Just because we are able to do something doesn’t mean we should.

Brian Tracy suggests that we start the task by removing all distractions. Physically get everything off your task that isn’t necessary for the task at hand. 

Then gather the items you WILL need to complete the task. For example, if you are going to write a blog post – gather the research material you will reference, your log in information including your password and any notes you have written. 

Once you are properly prepared – turn of your phone, close your email and social media accounts so there aren’t any dinging bells distracting you from the task. 

Get started.

Reward Your Success

I have talked about the value in delegating what you don’t know how to do or if it is a task that you don’t want to do or doesn’t provide value to your desired end-game; however, there will come a time when there is a task you must do that you can’t delegate. 

Tax time is the perfect example. Gathering receipts, logging purchases and expenses, sales or invoices from the year is time consuming and can definitely be a task on which you’ll procrastinate. So determine a small reward for completing a particularly distasteful task:

  • Mani/pedi
  • Matinee
  • Lunch with a friend
  • Bubble bath
  • Nap
  • Drinks with a friend

Make sure you follow through with your reward!

Make this the year that you reduce stressful circumstances by facing your tasks head on – as Brian Tracy says “Eat that frog!”