Many people claim to experience the difficulty of procrastination when deciding to start a new business, hobby, or project – despite being determined to do it. Studies have shown that about 20% of adults suffer from chronic procrastination, while 1 in 4 adults see procrastination as “a defining personality trait for them.”
By unnecessarily putting off decisions or actions, your to-do list will continue to grow and your goals will be difficult to achieve. It’s important to understand the root cause of your personal experience with procrastinating to break these habits.
Let’s look at two common causes of procrastination to look out for.
Overestimating your availability.
Have you ever confidently told yourself “I’ll start that tomorrow” and then neglected to follow through? Or maybe you delayed starting a task because you thought “The deadline is weeks away – I have plenty of time”, but then something unexpected popped up and caused you to miss it?
Instead of pushing off an overwhelming project until it becomes an urgent matter, start by breaking it down into smaller tasks and working on them for at least 15 minutes a day. That way if something does throw you off your schedule, at least you’ve made some progress. In short: get ahead while you can.
Having too many options, having options that are too similar, or having goals that are too abstract can all make the decision-making process overwhelming. (These are usually caused by a fear of commitment, or a fear of losing out on other choices.)
Avoid the “paradox of choice” by making S.M.A.R.T goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Display these goals in a place where you’ll see them every day to remind you of your commitment – and inspire you to take action. Once your goals are established, try narrowing down your options so that they’re aligned. This will make the process of eliminating choices much easier.
Now that you are more aware of the root of your problem, you’re one step closer to achieving your goals. Procrastinating doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your aspirations – start working on those hindering habits today.