Why we procrastinate and how to stop

Simply put, procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing what you need to do and replacing it with a more irrelevant and pleasant activity. For example, if you need to finish a project, but you end up spending time on trivial activities like TV, social media, online shopping, etc … 

Everybody postpones things from time to time. It sure happened to you, right? The problem arises when you’re constantly putting off what you need to do, either because you delay a work project, avoid housework, or postpone other errands. The continuous procrastination can have a huge impact on work, personal or academic life.  

Leaving chores for another time can produce some relief at first, but as time passes, it ends up generating an opposite effect on your well-being by not having faced what was unpleasant or boring. And the reality is that whatever was left undone at that time, continues to be pending and can cause more anxiety, frustration or irritation.



Why we procrastinate

* Generally because we believe that we don’t enjoy doing those tasks and if we do them we will not be happy. 

* When we find them too complex to do.  

* When the objectives are abstract or not clearly defined. 

* When we are distracted or tired.  

* Because we are afraid of doing it wrong and we doubt our abilities. This is due to low self-confidence (for example, “I am not capable enough to carry out this project”). 

* Because we want to avoid the frustration or anxiety that the task can induce. 

* When we are optimistic and consider that we can carry out that task in the future.


Tips to stop procrastinating 

While they’re easier said than done, here are some measures to get started:

1) It is essential that you can identify the reason why you postpone a task. Questions such as: What emotion does it generate in me? How do I feel? Am I afraid of doing it wrong? Do I not like it? They will help you to have a more conscious reason of why you procrastinate.

2) Make sure you eliminate the distractions around you.

3) Prioritize tasks according to their importance. Triaging is key.

4) Break down large and overwhelming tasks into small, actionable parts.

5) Create daily goals. This is one the simplest, yet underestimated tool for better productivity

6) Earmark time for rest and relaxation.

7) Reward and celebrate goals that you successfully accomplish.


Constant procrastination can affect emotions and physical well-being and can also lead to a decrease in daily performance.  

If you find yourself at a point where you cannot carry out tasks or activities normally, seek professional help to overcome procrastination. 


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Constanza Canónica
Constanza Canónica

Nuna's psychologist. If you need advice to find a therapist, I can help you choose the most suitable one for you!

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