Procrastination again?

READER’S VIEWS - Richard Baker - The Freeman

Almost everyone sometimes puts off the things they need to do.

For some it happens a lot --a bad habit. For others, it only is when we’re tired, unmotivated, or sick. Some people don't do the right things because of an addiction, too much stress, or depression.

Here are a few reasons you might be procrastinating.

1.) Are you a perfectionist? It’s one of the most common causes. You want something done perfectly? And you are frozen to start? Why are you putting it off until the last second?

Are you over-nervous to start? You say to yourself, "What if it doesn’t turn out correctly? What if I make a mistake? What if I try my best and others will see I did it poorly?"

Being a perfectionist doesn’t necessarily mean that you do everything perfectly. It just means that you have a “perfect” plan. If you want something to go perfectly, it might stop you from even starting.

There are a couple things which might help. Whatever the project is, remember that the first try does not have to be perfect. First write down everything you can think of. You can brainstorm all the ideas, maybe with a friend or two.

Maybe the project is intimidating? It can be helpful to allow imperfection. Trying is better than not trying. Anything worth doing is worth the effort at doing it poorly while you learn.

2.) No motivation? The problem is that motivation is not there all the time. Having motivation is great. It can be energy --like four cups of coffee. But it, unfortunately, comes and goes.

For most of us, our motivation will run out, especially if what you are supposed to do doesn’t lead to a paycheck every week.

Discipline is what keeps us going. But this skill or mind-set doesn’t come easily. We have to work to develop self-discipline.

Are you doing something because of a reward? Is it because of the skills you’ll gain? Or, are you doing it for something or someone?

Tell yourself to keep going, even when you don’t feel like it. Don’t come to a stop just because you don’t feel like moving forward right now.

3.) You’ve heard of immediate and delayed rewards or gratification. When a reward is delayed, our minds tend to think of it as less. Getting money next month is nice, but not nearly as nice as getting that money right now. Sometimes we might choose ?1,000 now over ?2,000 later.

Some people are impulsive and impatient. Some of us are good at long-term goals. Patience takes time to improve.

Give yourself little rewards throughout a project. Sometimes you have to set smaller goals with rewards along the way. Allow yourself to slow down.

4.) The three-minute trick. The hardest part is getting started. Just work on something for three minutes. If you find yourself wanting to work longer, then keep going.

But you only have to work on it for three minutes. Once the time is up, you can go back to whatever you were doing before. Some progress is better than no progress!

5.) Lack of control? Most of the universe, most of everything, is out of our control. We have to accept what we cannot change in order to discover the things we can. There is always something you can control, even if it’s small.

Are you unsure where to start? If the steps aren’t clear, how do you know your hard work will achieve anything?

So what can you do? Well, you could always be humble and ask for help. If it is for school, ask your teacher or parent for help. If it’s a difficult book, read the "Cliff notes" or other book summaries. If it’s about your personal development, the internet and library are full of self-help ideas, articles, and books. Counseling is also available.

There are always things to learn. Find something you have control over. Don't worry if it's not going exactly as you wished. It might turn out fine. If not, try again!

More ideas:

Admit that you're procrastinating.

Pick a good place to work or study.

Eliminate distractions. Set goals you can reach.

Reward yourself.

Take a break.

Don't blame others.

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