Why You Can’t Stop Procrastinating

Shola is just getting back from lectures. His lecturer gave them a term paper to be submitted by the end of the semester, that’s in three months. He figures three months seems far away, so there’s no need to start immediately. He’ll start next week, for now, she has can rest.

The next week comes, and somehow, Shola is unable to start. Lectures became tougher, and he was coming home tired.

Somehow a month managed to pass without her getting any work done, but Jennifer is an optimist, so she believes she still has time. She wakes up one morning, one week to submission, and starts the term paper

There are probably a billion and one reasons why we procrastinate.

It’s different for everyone, and sometimes even for every situation.

However, procrastination has been shown to increase stress, reduce performance, and linked with depression

These are the common reasons why we procrastinate:

Some Reasons For Procrastination

1. Perfectionism:

You know that character on TV who just wants everything to be perfect, or at least near perfect. Then, they get on everyone’s nerves. On TV, perfectionists are go-getters and workaholics who won’t stop until they get the job done.

While that’s not far from the truth, in reality, perfectionists are probably going to be the ones who submit that assignment or handle that business proposal late.

Don’t get it wrong, they want to submit early and they are not lazy. It’s just that they want it to be perfect. Consequently, this desire to bring nothing but the best will have them postponing their work and ignoring deadlines.

Sometimes they might be waiting for the perfect timing or something that seems as little like the perfect and complete instruments. While these things seem trivial and unnecessary, to a perfectionist it’s hard to start, or continue, without them.

The saying, “the perfect time to start is now,” doesn’t apply to them. The perfect time for a perfectionist is literally the perfect time.

To a perfectionist, they have a valid excuse for the procrastination.

However, this doesn’t happen to all perfectionists. Some are even likely to finish their work early.

2. Anxiety:

This might perhaps be the most common reason for postponing a task. People delay when they feel anxious about performing a task. For instance, David just finished his exams, and the results are out. He’s a little bit nervous about checking because he feels he didn’t do well. David keeps postponing until his father asks him to six weeks later.

For a lot of people, anxiety can be crippling. It can make them unable to start any tasks or finish them. The trick about performance anxiety is that most times the more they postpone, the more anxious they get. This is what is called the feedback loop.

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3. Distant Reward:

You’ll be more motivated to finish a task that’s due in two weeks than you’ll be for an activity that’s due in a month, even if the job that’s due in a month is more comfortable.

People often display what is known as the present bias. They would much instead perform tasks that give them rewards in the short term than tasks with more generous rewards in the long run.

A lot of people also lack what’s called delayed gratification

4. Fear of failure and lousy feedback/review:

You would think that the fear of failure would motivate people to work harder so they don’t fail. On the contrary, the fear of failure actually stops people from doing anything

Fear of failure is strongly related to perfectionism. Perfectionists might delay starting a task because they are scared they might fail it or receive a bad review. Fear of failure or a bad review doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of confidence in one’s abilities. A writer who has won numerous awards for their works and knows that they’re good might postpone doing a major book because they may fear they might fail this new task.

5. Feeling overwhelmed:

 This is very common amongst people who have a lot of things to do. It could affect people with low assertiveness, and a difficult time saying “No”

For instance, a news reporter who has a lot of deadlines to meet might end up postponing a few tasks.

Sometimes, it might be that just one task feels huge, thus, making an individual feel overwhelmed to start. They’re tired even before they start by simply thinking of it.

6. ADHD:

Perhaps the people most susceptible to procrastination are persons with ADHD. They naturally find focusing difficult.

Although not all ADHD behaviors have to do with procrastination, inattentive behaviors are more likely to lead one to postpone activities than impulsive behaviors.

ADHD minds easily get bored with tasks and might postpone longer tasks in favor of shorter tasks. In addition, tasks that give them the most excitement are considered first.

Understanding the possible reason why you procrastinate can help you effectively manage procrastination.

If you need help, do reach out to us.

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