Health Mental Health/Wellness

9 Ways Procrastination Beats Us and 9 Ways to Beat Procrastination

According to reports in 2012, it costs businesses roughly $10,396 per year, per employee that is a chronic procrastinator. An additional study in 2012 found that 26% of the population were chronic procrastinators. Clearly procrastination is a big problem for a business’s bottom line. What is the financial, emotional and social impact of procrastination in the home?

Many clients voice their frustrations with their struggle to complete tasks they at one time had no problem completing. Many mental health factors can influence one’s ability to carry out tasks. Below is a list nine reasons some individuals procrastinate and nine ways to stop, developed by Dr Pamela D Garcy Ph.D.

1. You toss self-compassion to the wind. Researchers reported that individuals who demonstrated less self-compassion tended to feel more stressed during tasks, increasing the likelihood of procrastination.

Try: Talking to yourself with kindness. Accept that you’re human, and be an optimistic coach rather than a negative critic.

2. You’ve learned to procrastinate from role models. Your parents, siblings, or other important role models may have demonstrated a “put it off” attitude which you’ve now adopted as your own.

Try: Talk to yourself about negative consequences these role models faced when they procrastinate. Find new role models to mimic.

3.You don’t think you’ll be effective at the task. You might think “I don’t even know how to do this!”

Try: If you need a skill upgrade get one. Ask for help. Adopt a no failure mindset.

4. You have a bias against a particular type of task. Maybe you think you are bad at a task or that the task is beneath you.

Try: Challenge yourself to open you mind and prove your bias wrong.

5. Your time estimates are a little off. You tend to vastly underestimate how long it will take you to complete the task at hand, and you also underestimate how quickly you’ll get it done.

Try: Make a habit of starting earlier than you think you’ll need to work on completing your task early. This might compensate for any deficiencies in time estimation. Then, give yourself a reward for completing the task early or on time.

6. You focus less on the gains of the future and more on the gains of the present. This focus leads to low frustration tolerance and you’re less likely to persevere when the going gets tough.

Try: Remind yourself about the gains of the future, and de-emphasize the frustration of the present.

7. Your perfectionism gets in the way. You think “it has to be perfect” and this overly demanding standard keeps you from getting started.

Try: Diminish the importance of doing things perfectly and emphasize the importance of completing tasks in a timely fashion.

8. Depression or anxiety (or other conditions) cause you to delay taking action. You might know or suspect you suffer from a mental illness that impacts your motivation, concentration or perseverance.

Try: Proper treatment such as individual therapy with a licensed therapist.

9. Discomfort intolerance leads you to disengage from the task. Procrastination often comes from the belief that discomfort should be avoided.

Try: Challenge your beliefs about tolerating discomfort and revise what you say to encourage yourself to engage in a task, even for a little while. Focus on long term goals.

About the author

Jordan Plummer Allen

Jordan Allen, a Grand Island native, earned her bachelor’s degree from Doane College and a master’s in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She has mental health therapy experience with community agencies, private practice and community volunteer projects. Jordan has been trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and enjoys using her knowledge in this area to facilitate healing with her clients. Jordan finds joy in the process of connecting with those she works with as they work to set and achieve goals.

Jordan serves on the Grand Island Crisis Center, Inc. Board of Directors, is a member of the American Counseling Association, and a Leadership Tomorrow alumna. She was recently honored by the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce as a Top 35 Under 35. She resides in Grand Island with her husband and daughter. In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling.