Why do we procrastinate?

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Procrastination is something that all of us do to some extent. When it comes to self-development, this behaviour is counterproductive and damaging. If we leave everything for last minute we get stressed and progress at the slowest pace possible; in some cases the impact of procrastination could be that we have to start all over again or even that our initial goal is no longer attainable since we may have missed the opportunity.

Procrastination is not about poor time management; not dedicating the right amount of time to achieve a goal, or starting too late. These are actually the consequences of procrastination that lie in between our intentions and actions. We may waste time just thinking about the things we have to do, or keep ourselves busy with less important tasks just to prolong dealing with what you know 

When we set to achieve a goal we often have to depart from our comfort zone and begin a transformation process. At the root of procrastination lies fear; fear of failure and fear of being judged by yourself and others. A study that demonstrates this was conducted by Tice and Ferrari. They told a group of students that they will be sitting a maths puzzle. One part of the group of students was instructed to treat the puzzle as a fun exercise, while the rest of the students were told that the puzzle would be a reliable measure of their cognitive abilities. Before starting the exercise, participants were given some time to prepare or do as they pleased. Chronic procrastinators delayed starting working on the puzzled in the cases that they were told that it would be a reliable evaluation of their cognitive abilities.

As a consequence of our fear we do not focus on our goals and procrastinate and postpone. . We seem to be aware of our procrastination but we often fall in the trap of just postponing what we really want to do for a tomorrow that never really comes as be perpetually procrastinate. Instead, we seek all types of distractions and sources of instant gratification and  focus our energy on low priority or mundane things.

Recognising fear as the cause of procrastination is the first step to reduce this habit. You have to take an honest look at your dreams and goals and make sure you set a mechanism to remind yourself on a daily basis of what is it that you want to achieve. Identify all steps and actions that will need to be taken to achieve your goals. Having an understanding of how your goals break down in to tasks will allow you to focus on one manageable step at a time.

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