Procrastination can easily be seen as the enemy of productivity, and when you look at it for a little while longer, it’s easy to see why. Everyone procrastinates at some point in time, but for many people, this procrastination can usually result not only in diminished performance, but also in poorer mental and physical health, and in many cases, even stress.
Many studies even show that long-term procrastination can be a self-defeating behavior with short-term benefits, only to be overshadowed by long-term costs. But while there’s no one specific reason to procrastinating, there are ways to help you get yourself back on track in getting your tasks done:
Reason: you have a bias against the task
This can either be the case because you think you’re bad at the task or because the task itself is objectively hard because you’ve seen other people have a hard time completing it.
Try instead: Challenge yourself
Take on difficult tasks as an opportunity to prove your bias wrong and open your mind to new possibilities. Once you finish something, you’ll be more motivated to take on different tasks that are more difficult.
The reason: the task seems too huge
Another reason why you’re procrastinating might be because the task seems too difficult to complete, and for two reasons: either it can be objectively complex or it seems challenging because other people have said so.
Try instead: Break them down
Tasks can seem monolithic and difficult only if you don’t take the time to really look into them. By breaking them down into much smaller and more manageable steps, you’re able to make more progress towards finishing a task.
The reason: you’re bad at estimating time
Another reason why you could be procrastinating is because your “five minutes” is really thirty, and you feel like you’ve spent too much time focusing on one task when you’ve been at it only for five minutes before you decided to check your phone.
Try instead: Starting work earlier
If you think small tasks can be done quickly, do them early and right away. Alternatively, you can choose to do the most difficult task first, sorting priority tasks by difficulty.
The reason: you’re way too stressed
Many studies show that people who don’t take care of themselves emotionally, mentally, or physically tend to feel a lot more stressed and anxious when doing tasks, which can result in procrastination.
Try instead: be kinder to yourself
Accept that you’re human, and it’s okay to sometimes make mistakes or have difficulty in completing tasks. Taking five minutes to calm yourself down and de-stress will allow you to get back to the task with a new perspective.