Why Do We Procrastinate?
Procrastination is entirely natural and we all do it to some degree or other, but it’s important to see the distinction between this and laziness. Procrastination is actually nothing like laziness and is brought about by stress or by negative self-belief.
Of course, there are different theories as to why we procrastinate but it’s possible that it could have something to do with the anxiety we experience about completing tasks. We put something off because it’s giving us anxiety but the problem with this is that it just perpetuates this anxiety so it manifests for longer.
It may also be something to do with activation energy. This is defined as the minimum amount of energy that’s required to get a task done. If we have low activation energy, just the thought of starting a job can give us anxiety, so we put it off to keep these feelings at bay.
To help counteract this, you could perhaps consider breaking your tasks up into smaller more achievable chunks, staging the work bit by bit so that the idea of getting started isn’t quite so overwhelming.
There are other ways you can help navigate your way around a procrastination tendency. Psychology Today has some very useful insights, such as trying structured procrastination to see how that could help.
This is a term coined by philosopher John Perry, with the idea being to tackle another less anxiety-inducing task but one that’s still useful. Start by ranking your worthwhile tasks in order of importance and cross the ones at the bottom off the list when you feel an urge to delay on something higher up.
This can help you feel more energised and better able to tackle your top priorities more effectively than you might be able to do otherwise.
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