5 causes of procrastination [& How To Tackle Them]

Want to start something, but keep putting it off? Are you waiting for the perfect moment, the right moment, or do you just find your phone more interesting? This is pretty much how my life goes!

Procrastination? Been there, done that!

Often we put off doing the work we want to do, and the problem is we don’t realize it!

This morning I was doing it again. I got up at 6am as usual. After getting up, I meditated, I made my affirmations to attract wealth and abundanceand I wanted start writing a blog.

Except I didn’t. I simply scrolled through Twitter, went to Pinterest, went to Whatsapp and repeated the cycle over and over again.

I didn’t even notice that I was procrastinating because I was “doing something for the blog”, right?

Well no, I was just delaying writing my articles.

I started thinking, why didn’t I start? What was holding me back?

I realized there were different reasons at different times why I couldn’t get started.

You might recognize this. Sometimes delaying things. Don’t start at all because you’re doing other, more interesting things. Being too busy. Being overwhelmed.

There are usually five roots causes of procrastination. Let’s dive straight into them and how to solve them!

Why do I procrastinate and how can I fix it?

You have big goals and big dreams, and scrolling through Pinterest or Twitter isn’t one of them. This creates feelings of frustration and stress later because you have less time to do the things you actually want to do.

I think procrastination is a form of self-sabotage that we all experience sometimes.

There are many different roots causes of procrastinationbut there are five main ones that we will look at here.

1. Outdated avoidance

This morning I was just overwhelmed.

Everyone is sometimes.

You don’t know where to start, so your mind concluded: Okay, let’s open Twitter then. The number one reason for procrastination!

It’s too much for your brain to process a complex task, so the complex task was replaced with a simple task. How incredible our brain is!

Result: loss of motivation and start of procrastination.

It’s easier for your brain to seek out a more enjoyable task.

Although it may be better for you in the short term, in the long term you still want to complete your task. This can cause stress and even more procrastination when you inevitably have to complete the task.

How to solve this problem ?

Writing a blog was totally overwhelming for me today, but I wouldn’t be that way every day. So if you are facing more complex tasks, I would also tell you this:

Break what you need to do into smaller subtasks and focus on each one individually. This way it doesn’t seem like a daunting task like at first.

If we take the blog example, it would be a good idea to first think about what you want to write about.

If you’ve figured this out, write a brief outline of your post or just start writing and see where it takes you. When you’ve already cleared the biggest bump, it’s easier to regain momentum and keep going.

Pro tip: start in the morning so that you still have a fresh mind and motivation!

2. No prioritization

This morning, I lacked priorities. I always have too many things in mind that I want to do.

When you lack priorities, you procrastinate and do unimportant, enjoyable tasks first.

(Yeeezz all those difficult words, I think I already mistyped procrastination at least 10 times)

Avoid jumping from one task to another without spending too much time deciding what you want to do.

My result: do nothing.

Don’t be like me and prioritize as if your life depended on it!

How to solve this problem ?

Choose an important task that is urgent or not yet urgent. Don’t spend your time on tasks that aren’t important. You have surely seen the table of urgency and importance:

The point is, you only want to do urgent/important or non-urgent/important things. Other tasks you want to delegate or eliminate.

When you are at work, you don’t want to respond to emails from your colleagues that they consider “urgent” but which have absolutely no added value for your work.

Instead, you want to work on tasks that will best influence your current projects, tasks that are important.

This will help you prioritize and set a goal throughout your day.

3. Shiny things syndrome

When you’re trying to get things done, you need to actively avoid getting distracted.

Don’t open your phone, social media, banking/investing/news app, whatever!

Our brains simply aren’t wired to focus on something for a long time.

He begins to look for something else that triggers more than focused work. He begins to look for distractions.

How to solve this problem ?

Be aware of the space you are working in. Try to eliminate potential distractions; schedule time to chat with your colleagues, put on your headphones, turn off your phone and get to work.

What I also incorporate in this moment, yes, I practice what I preach, is the Pomodoro technique.

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a concept where you do 25 minutes of focused work and then take a 5 minute break. After 2 repetitions, you get a 10 minute break. I used this timer to do this.

4. Lack of action by the dreamer

You will sometimes find yourself daydreaming. About all the things you could do, all the Businesses You Could Startor whatever ideas are floating around in your head.

You have so many brilliant ideas, but you find it difficult to put them into practice.

For me, it’s mostly because of a lack of structure.

No specific action is linked to this idea, no objectives attached to it. It’s aimless, floating around in my head, with no signs of decision-making or significant delays.

How to solve this problem ?

Write down your goals, what you want to achieve and set a timetable for them.

Smiling young woman holding cell phone on kneesSmiling young woman holding cell phone on kneesImage credit: GaudiLab via DepositPhotos

Personally, I set my goals every month on the blog. For example, here in my monthly report I evaluate my monthly goals and I am responsible for putting them into practice.

5. Perfectionism

Perfection is something I’ve struggled with before, but I’m continually working towards it.

The unconscious fear of failure.

You put off a task because you imagine you will get negative results. There is no real evidence that you will fail, but you tell yourself that.

This fear can sabotage your desire to move forward. Stop that!

If you don’t try, you’re sure you’ll fail.. If you try, it can be a lesson or a success. It’s never a failure. Remember this !

So what I’m basically saying is:

Be afraid and do it anyway!

How to solve this problem ?

What really helps is to first think about where that fear comes from.

Is it rooted in something you’ve experienced before, or is it really coming from things your mind is telling you that are completely not based in truth?

What you do then is try to think about completing the task. in a positive way. Think about how people will like it, how it will move you forward, and how accomplished you will feel afterward.

For example, you are giving a presentation that you are afraid to give and don’t want to prepare for. Consider standing at the front of the room, looking everyone in the eye with confidence, and watching them follow your story as you present. Imagine your boss telling you what a good job you did and imagine feeling accomplished afterwards.

Hold that feeling and get started!

If I can do it, so can you!

If you have identified one of the roots causes of procrastination I mentioned above, I received a message for you.

I was there too. I thought about everything I wanted to do, but never took the first step.

Overwhelmed by all that could be done, without ever getting a single thing done.

I was distracted, had no priorities, and set no goals.

I want you to understand that it is important to focus on the why. Why do you procrastinate? What are the root causes of your procrastination?

When you discover the root causes of procrastination, you can implement the different strategies described above to Stop procrastinating.

To be more positive and productive in the future. To experience less stress. This will allow you to become more efficient.

It’s simple, but no one said it was easy!

What do you think are the root causes of procrastination? What is your best way to solve it?

Radical FIRE Financial Independence Retires Early - Photo of Ecuador with a Labrador DogRadical FIRE Financial Independence Retires Early - Photo of Ecuador with a Labrador Dog

Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist

Expertise: Personal Finance and Travel Content Education: Bachelor’s in Economics at Radboud University, Master’s in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University. More than 200 articles, essays and news published on the Web.

Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a background in finance and economics with a master’s degree in Finance. She quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their trips. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications including MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News Syndicate, and more.

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