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9 Conditions That Are Making You Procrastinate

Updated on October 15, 2018
Filip Stojkovski profile image

I'm a computer programmer and game developer who is also deeply curious about the arts, philosophy, health, and psychology.

Procrastinating is a common problem, especially for creative people, or people facing complex tasks. It’s natural for us to not feel motivated to start a task or a project right away if we find the task boring, uncomfortable or too challenging. But before we tackle the problem of procrastination we need to examine the different reasons people may be procrastinating, and it’s not always laziness and lack of motivation.


So why do we procrastinate?

There could be many reasons, let's look at some of the most common...

The Task Is Boring

Having a job or a business, or being a student means you will encounter countless tasks that are not pleasurable and fun to do. Even your own personal goals, no matter how fun and exciting, will eventually require at least some amount of work that is dull and not so fun to do. If you are in a home environment it’s much easier to procrastinate since you don’t have any supervision that you would have in a working environment. This means you will have to be extra careful and sharpen your own management skills and self-control to get things done.

The Task Could Be Inducing Uncomfortable Feelings

Sometimes we don’t realize we procrastinate because the task may feel uncomfortable for us or cause us anxiety or other negative emotions. For example if you suffer from social anxiety and you have an obligation that involves meeting and interacting with people, you may put the task off as much as you can because of the anxiety it gives you. It’s similar when you encounter a task that is too challenging and makes you feel incompetent when you try to complete it.

Perfectionism

Perfectionists often procrastinate because they believe that they need to complete the task or the project, or any work perfectly. That pressure they put upon themselves gives them anxiety and they don't ever feel confident and prepared to start the task.

Lack of Motivation

This is a very common reason behind procrastinating. When the reward for the work we do is not immediate it's more difficult for us to keep our motivation high. Tasks and projects more often than not, do not offer immediate rewards, besides maybe the feeling of accomplishment, but even that is not immediate because you need to get to the point where the work is finished successfully to feel accomplished.

Feeling like There Is a More Important Task That Needs to Be Finished First

We might not feel like starting a new task when a previous one is not completed yet for whatever reason. Even when we try to start the new task, the uncompleted one sometimes stays in the back of our mind and doesn't let us focus on the new one.

Fear of Failure

If we could avoid failure by not accomplishing a task, we may not feel the the drive to accomplish it. That often doesn't make sense because not even trying it is a sure failure, but we may feel like by not even trying we can always give ourselves the excuse that we didn't even try and sometimes that feels better than knowing that we tried and we failed.

Poor Estimation of Time Needed to Complete the Task

We often tend to underestimate the amount of time a certain task could take so we start too late as a result. It's even worse when you realize the task is easy but takes a lot of time, and the only reason you didn't finish it successfully is because you underestimated the duration of it.

Forgetfulness

We are human and we are all forgetful more or less. Remembering to do a task late may not be really procrastinating but it produces similar results. Having a reliable system of reminders is a very important part of building productive habits.

Having an Unmet Physical Need or Low Mood

Sometimes you don’t feel like getting work done because your mood is low and\or you may feel hot\cold\hungry\achy\irritable etc. The frustrating thing is, we often don't even realize that's the reason we might be procrastinating. If you are at a productivity low, and it seems you are making many mistakes or having many failures in a row, maybe you need some rest. After that, you can start with very small and trivial tasks to build up productivity momentum.

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