Why We Procrastinate and How to Stop

Why do we procrastinate? Let’s talk about it next week. Just kidding! It’s time to get down to it.

Stop procrastinating

Whether it’s for a work assignment, chores around the house, or writing and sending out a stack of holiday cards, we have all had the thought, “I’ll do it later.” Here are four reasons why we put things off, and tips on how to break the habit.

1. You feel overwhelmed by the task.

If the amount of work seems daunting or time consuming to you, chances are you will keep avoiding it. Try breaking down the task into three to five smaller tasks and write those on your to-do list. This way, when you finish one smaller task and mark it off as done, you will feel accomplished and motivated to keep going.

2. Your attention is like a fruit fly’s.

You checked Instagram like 10 times, but are also watching YouTube videos, and you can’t seem to decide what to order for dinner. Try to limit your distractions by tucking away your phone and decluttering your desktop. Instead of thinking that you should give up on the task as soon as your mind wanders, take a concrete break to reset. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and step away from the work, call to order your dinner, or step outside for some fresh air.

3. You struggle with delayed gratification.

You want what you want, and you want it now. The thought of the work process you have to get through to feel like you have completed something may seem painstakingly long, but it doesn’t make it impossible. The truth is, yes, it takes time to finish something, and yes, Netflix and the couch sounds much better, but remind yourself why you are doing this.

Pro Tip: Write down your goal and hang it up somewhere visible, this way you won’t forget to go after what you want.

4. You have issues prioritizing.

Do you have a hard time deciding what is a must-do and keep putting important tasks under the do-it-later category? The best way to get better at prioritizing is by listing all of your tasks so you can see everything that is on your plate. Keep the urgent tasks at the top of the list, and tackle what is most important first. It’s also helpful to keep roughly how long tasks take to complete, or any deadlines in mind. From there, you can chip away at your neatly organized list top to bottom.