I used to have the habit of procrastinating, especially on weekends when I felt I was exhausted from the previous workweek. I had a list of things I wanted to do on both Saturday and Sunday, but usually never got around to doing them until later in the day or sometimes I never got around to doing them at all.
On another example, a friend of mine had been procrastinating for over a decade before he started working on his side business, although it had been his life dream to have a business of his own.
We all probably have individual, unique reasons on why we procrastinate, but here are a few things I learned from my experience.
Fear of Success
Fear of success is probably one of the reasons why we do so many things that are detrimental to our success. In my family, only certain types of success were encouraged, such as getting a good education, getting married and having children. However anything outside of that, such as becoming super wealthy through having a business, was not celebrated and clearly dismissed. This upbringing brought upon a fear of disapproval from my family.
Another source of disapproval can come from your friends or acquaintances, who you have a feeling will envy you and the relationship will change, should you become successful.
People seem to also associate all kinds of horror stories with success, such as being seen as a “bad” guy or an evil business man who took advantage of innocent people.
Or you may just have a general feeling that something terrible is going to happen to you should you become successful.
Overcoming the fear of success, realizing that nothing bad is going to happen, and a person’s character is not dependent on their success or failure or social status, allowed me to move past this fear and start taking action.
Do Something Fun While You Do What You Need
This is a trick that has been working wonders for me. I don’t like cooking very much and I hate cleaning. I also don’t like doing mundane tasks at work that don’t require any thinking. But I love listening to music! This may be no revelation to some people, but after I realized this, my chores just got a lot more fun, and I even look forward to having to do mindless work (as long as it is not all the time!).
What other fun things can you do while you do the stuff you need to get done? If you have a favorite coffee shop, you can go there to get a lot of things done, while you nibble on your favorite cookie. You can organize things around your house while you talk on the phone with your family or friends.
If you need to think things through, you can do that while taking a nice bath. The possibilities are numerous.
Go To A Place Where You Can Concentrate
Temptations do NOT help when you are already on the fence about doing something. All of a sudden, you want to have an hour-long conversation with your spouse or you really want to watch that movie you didn’t finish last night. Or all of a sudden you are really sleepy. Been there.
You need to remove the temptations or remove yourself from a tempting atmosphere. The place where you can concentrate is probably different for everyone, or even different depending on the day. For me, it is my favorite coffee shop, the kitchen in the early morning before the family wakes up, or my cube at work. Yes I do sometimes stay at work later than I need to get my personal or business things done – and it works.
What are your strategies to avoid procrastination?