The Three Most Common Reasons Why We Procrastinate
We’ve all heard the old adage, “The hardest part of any journey is taking the first step.” But what makes that first step so tough? Sometimes we downright fear or otherwise resist whatever we know we must do. Ironically, what we fear, resist or simply delay is rarely as challenging as it seemed. However, the thought of it, growing bigger every day, can create challenges for us in terms of embracing change and accomplishing vital goals. Research shows that 1 out of 5 people procrastinate so badly that it may be jeopardizing their job, credit, relationships, and even their health. If you’ve struggled with this common challenge, learn to recognize and get control over it, taking action against procrastination one step at a time. Above all, when you’re not quite sure what to do, just do something to move toward your goal, keeping in mind that a small step is often all that’s needed to invite what’s new, pursue fresh directions, and conquer what you’re apt to avoid.
In our experiences working with MAP clients, we’ve found people often struggle with procrastination in the following three scenarios.
1. Having a difficult conversation.
Whether it’s talking to your boss or, if you’re the boss, talking to a direct report, simply knowing that you need to have a tough, possibly emotional talk can get you shaking in your shoes. To tackle the fear, remove the emotional aspect of it as best you can, planning what you say, identifying key conversation goals, and thinking ahead of how you can confidently respond to anything that might trigger you to over-react or prevent you from reaching your goals. In terms of planning for the conversation, also consider when and where you have the talk, making sure you do it at the right time, in the right place.
2. Lack of experience.
There are going to be times when you’re challenged to do something totally unfamiliar, outside your comfort zone. Putting it off—when you know you shouldn’t—is a fast way to stall professional development and limit you and (by default) your organization’s potential for growth. So learn to recognize and lean into the discomfort, particularly when it comes to vital activities, tasks, or duties that will empower you to grow and get your job done. This may include learning new software, trying different motivational techniques, or delegating more to others. Whatever it is, just take the first step. Without a doubt, it will set you up for becoming a more effective, capable person and demonstrate to others zero tolerance for procrastination.
3. Efforts at self-improvement.
Whether it’s a fresh commitment to exercise more often or manage staff meetings better, first identify what practices or habits you need to quit and then the healthy, productive ones you’ll adopt to replace them. With whatever you undertake, be okay with starting out slow, taking small but sustainable steps to implement the transition. Efforts at self-improvement don’t have to be dramatic or comprise a number of sweeping changes. They do have to be maintained, however, something that requires self-discipline and willpower on your part. Boost your odds for success, changing bit by bit and even confiding in someone about your change. This doable pace, backed by a little accountability, will help you to more effectively adhere to whatever self-improvement efforts you’ve chosen to make.
How are you doing on the goals you set to achieve this year?