3 Types of Procrastination and How to Beat Them

3 Types of Procrastination and How to Beat Them
From Recruiter - August 2, 2016

Article by Lain Ehmann

I sat at my desk, email message alert pinging with each new arrival to thedisorganized mosh pit of communication. I knew I needed to wade into the fray and start making sense of the mess, but instead I let one episode of Cutthroat Kitchen roll into the next on autoplay.

Next thing I knew, it was past midnight and my inbox didnt look any better than it did before dinner. In fact, it was worse.

It was then I knew that I was in deep. I had fallen into the bottomless pit of procrastination.

Before I started studying productivityand goal setting, I thought all procrastination was created equalthat it was simply what you did when you were avoiding something else. But as I picked apart my own procrastination techniques and spoke with dozens of my clients about what was getting them off track, I realized that all procrastination is not created equal. And before you can eradicate or circumvent your delaying tactics, you must understand where theyre coming from.

Lets look at how you can identify the three main causes ofprocrastination, as well as some simple ways to overcomeyour procrastination:

1. Overwhelm

You stare into the abyss that is your financial records from the past year and think, Theres just no way Im getting this done by April 15! I think Ill go golfing instead.

Sound familiar? Then youre well acquainted with overwhelm procrastination, which is the urge to avoid projects that are just too big or that youre not sure how to tackle. You cant find a way into the project or task, so you just put it off. Many a Ph.D. thesis has been abandoned due to overwhelm.

What to do: One of the biggest mistakes people make with regard to goal setting is trying to tackle projects without breaking them down into small, concrete steps theycan take immediately. I counsel my coaching clients to break any large project or activity into actions that can be finished in 15 minutes or less.

For example, if youre applying for a line of credit for your business, your first step might be to make a list of five banks youll approach. Your next step might be to call and get the name of a commercial lending officer. If you need a tool, a piece of information or something else before you start, then that becomes your first step.

2. Fear

Sometimes we avoid taking action for the simple reason that taking the next step requires us to push ourselves into the unknown. Asking for a raise, calling on a new customer, submitting a book proposal to an agent or publisherwe put these things off because we dont know what might happen, so we assume the worst.

While this strategy might have helped keep our cave-dwelling ancestors alive, its not doing much for our own states of mind or achievements.

What to do: We have to learn to fool ourselves into thinking all is well and theres nothing to worry about. Again, taking tiny steps can be the solution.


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