Why Do We Put the Things Off All the Time?

Posted under Procrastination on Sunday 24 August 2008 at 9:36 pm

Putting the things off until later, next day, next Monday, next week-end or next month destroyed millions of interesting ideas, initiatives and innovations, ruined successful organizational strategies and ambitious careers, caused thousands of misunderstandings and crashed thousands of hopes.

As I have already stated before, knowing why we procrastinate is not the way to solve this problem. However, analyzing own addictive avoidance behavior and identifying possible reasons of your habit to escape from doing things is a must on the way to your total recovery from this disease. Certainly, our procrastination is closely linked to our inability to organize and plan our own activities in a rational way. However, the problem of procrastination always goes far beyond disorganization.

Let me list the most common reasons why we put off the tasks we have to do:

Various fears of ours. This is the leading reason that motivates people to put off their tasks and, possibly, spend their time in looking for the ways to avoid doing those things. The fears include, first of all, fear of failure, fear of unpleasant experience and fear of frustration. Some procrastinators experience fear of success, because they do not want to assume the responsibility for their success and afraid that someone will tend to use their skills and talent, causing more and more loads and things to do.

A tendency to perfectionism. This is a very important reason of our chronic procrastination. Many people tend to plan and think about making their work go smoothly or budgeting and doing everything possible for the projects to be done perfectly well. That usually causes huge delays in actual making the things done. Moreover, all the energy and creativity is usually spent for analyzing, therefore, sometimes there are no resources left for doing the task on time.

Lack of motivation. Sometimes people delay doing their work because they are actually not willing to spend the efforts and resources for doing it. Maybe the work is too hard or the reward is too small. Lack of motivation is a serious factor that makes people procrastinate and fail to achieve good results.

Inability to prioritize the tasks and structure the work that must be done. Many people procrastinate because they simply do not know where and how to start doing their tasks. They have no idea what must be done first and that’s why they always get lost. Or even worse: they misplace the priorities and start working on something really not important and usually very boring. The result is always the same: “I’ll finish doing this useless thing later on!”.

Looking for crises. I have a friend who is certain that doing things under pressure always mobilizes and stimulates a person for achieving great results. That is why she usually does everything in the last minute.

Failure to estimate own time and abilities. Some people underestimate the time necessary for their work that frequently causes putting this work off since it will not take much of time. Overestimating the time or other resources needed for a project also frequently leads to procrastination because of the feeling that the project will take too much of efforts or too much of time.

Distractibility and tendency to fantasize. There are people who have problems with being concentrated on doing something for long time. Such people get distracted very easily and usually do several things in the same time, or jump from one activity to another because “something else has come up”. Moreover, very often they fantasize on doing something great and considerable, but never actually come to doing this – never in their life!

Anger. Some procrastinators try to escape from doing their tasks because of their anger or feeling bad about the necessity to do those tasks. Undoubtedly, this does not lead to any positive results.

Waiting for inspiration. Some people procrastinate because they are sure that for doing the work well they need to be in a good or special mood. However, sometimes such mood does not come for days…

Laziness and seeking pleasure. Some people really do not care about the things that must be done.

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