I was digging around some old ideas for the blog and came across one from December 2005. It was titled "6 Reasons on Why are You Procrastinating". I thought, "Hey, cool! Here are six reasons why people procrastinate. I wonder why I never wrote about this article?" I may never know the answer to that question, but I bet it has a lot to do with procrastination.
Normal everyday people procrastinate all the time. The teenager who hasn't taken out the trash yet? Procrastination. That client who hasn't settled accounts yet? Procrastination. The Senator who failed to report bribes from lobbyists? Procrastination. Well, maybe there's another vice involved there. Still, everybody puts off what they don't want to do from time to time. Those who master their time, however, have learned how to avoid excessive procrastination. People with AD/HD may not be able to stop having AD/HD, but they can learn coping strategies to keep themselves focused and on track.
8 Reasons Why You are Procrastinating
- Complex projects can appear daunting and often cause people's eyes to glaze over.
Many projects truly are overwhelming at first. I find breaking them down into smaller steps is the best course of action if I find myself stalled or avoiding the task.
- Projects that are viewed as being unpleasant are often looked forward to as much as having a lobotomy or open heart surgery without anesthesia
Working with this theory, if I dip my projects in chocolate syrup they may become more palatable for me. For some projects, however, like filing taxes, making web pages browser compliant, or cleaning out the storage unit, copious amounts of chocolate dolloped all over the place may not be practical. Instead, the trick is to find a new motivation to help you tackle the project. Set a reward for yourself, or involve a significant other to dangle a carrot for you.
- An inability to prioritize will have you working on next week's project when this week's is due today
There could be a lot of reasons why one might put off for tomorrow what should be done today. However, if you are having difficulty prioritizing which project is more important than the others, you may find yourself doing the easy stuff first while leaving the more time sensitive and complicated projects for the night just before the deadline. I wouldn't know anything about that, however.
- The inability to make decisions can be detrimental to decision making, I think, but I'm not sure
It seems that points one, three, and four go hand in hand. Like dominos, they can set in motion some beautiful disasters. In my experience, the best way to handle this type of situation is to first, break the project down into smaller steps. Next, figure out which are the three most important steps, then force yourself to pick one to start with. You may not be very good at this at first, but the process does become easier with practice, and soon you will find confidence.
- Fear of failure will keep you curled up in a fetal position under your desk
I wish I couldn't relate to this one, but my sketchbook is a lonely, dusty place because I can't draw as well as I used to. By not drawing I'll never draw as well as I used to. When we put off difficult tasks because of fear, we are procrastinating. The same can be said of not asking for that raise, not applying for that position, not working on that novel, etc.
- Distractions are a fun way to avoid your ToDo list
You mean I wasn't supposed to be working on this other, completely unrelated project? With a mind that loses focus with the shifting breeze, staying on target can be quite difficult when I keep picking new targets to chase after. Sometimes I can expend a lot of energy on a sidetrack before realizing I was distracted. Having lists and taskmasters with whips really helps prevent this one from happening. When the distractions are relaxations, having a timer to keep me on track is indispensable.
That was a good list and certainly I could relate to it, but the list failed to include two of my favorite ADHD caused reasons for procrastination.
- What was I supposed to be doing again?
No, really. Do you know? Because I'm completely lost. This is related to point six but more insidious because you know you're supposed to be doing something but can't remember what it is for the life of you. People will think you are procrastinating when actually you're fishing around desperately.
- This project is so boring I'd rather pound a spike up my nose than spend another Oh, look! The Drudge Report has updated!
Unlike point two where a project is avoided because it is unpleasant, like scrubbing stalls at a clinic for diarrhetic elephants, this procrastination is not an act of volition. Some might argue that these last two points aren't truly procrastination because you aren't willfully putting off your responsibilities, but I disagree. Nobody I ever worked for made a distinction between when I purposefully procrastinated and when I became bored and wandered off.
Identifying why you procrastinate is the first step towards finding ways to prevent yourself from doing it. With determination you will be able to change your bad habits, unless you put that bit off until next week.
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