We’ve all found ourselves there before. We know the deadlines are approaching, we know the work is due, we even know how important it is. Yet we wait. We put it off. We find excuses. We let the anxiety and tension mount, slowly driving ourselves to the breaking point. We procrastinate. We all do, sometimes. But, there are ways to avoid it!
Why do we Procrastinate?
Do you ever find yourself filling time with unimportant—or less important—tasks, when you should be focusing on something specific? Avoiding the lingering project, decision, or conversation that you know is necessary… We’ve all found ourselves doing it. But what is the source of this procrastination?
There are many reasons why we procrastinate. Sometimes it’s because of uncertainty. We don’t know how to start the next task, so we focus on things that are simpler, easier. We convince ourselves that we’re just clearing up the loose ends before we focus on the bigger project. Alas, those little loose ends seem to just keep cropping up, though.
Fear of Change
Other times we avoid making decisions or ‘taking the next step’ with our careers, because we’re scared of those decisions! That’s completely normal. It’s normal to be apprehensive about making the wrong decision. It’s even normal to worry about making a right decision, and what the implications of that might be. So we hide from these decisions hoping they will go away.
What do I mean by being afraid of a right decision? Perhaps the next step in your career signifies a big change in your day-to-day life. With more advancement and more power comes greater responsibility. This can be anxiety-inducing. The fear that you may not live up to the promises you’ve made to yourself and others. Even if you know it’s the right decision for you, it can be frightening to think of what might change. How other people might perceive your choices, your motivations. These are all normal worries to have.
The Power of a Deadline
Sometimes, we work well with a deadline looming over us. Some people thrive on the motivation provided by being behind the eight-ball, and fighting to catch up. It can be a thrill to power through your work at the last minute and still submit a high quality project. But it can also lead to disastrous results, and negative effects on your career performance and even your health.
Facing the Fear
When you drill down to the core of the matter, procrastination usually stems from some sort of fear. In order to address this issue, you need to ask yourself the right questions.
What is it that you are afraid of?
Is it a component of your upcoming task?
Is it the potential result of that task?
The outcome of your decision?
Is it a component of your upcoming task? Is it the potential result of that task?
If you can pinpoint the uncertainty or fear leading to your procrastination, you can eliminate that negative feeling at the source. The trick is to find the help you need. Be open, and unafraid to ask for help.
Once you acknowledge your apprehensions, you can eliminate them by finding the right resources, the right mentors, the right information to overcome your uncertainty. Become an expert in whatever is holding you back, and you’ll not only knock out an excuse for procrastinating, you’ll also have a new skill set to market. Knowledge, as always, is power.
Still searching for your inner drive? Get in touch today to discuss what your next step is.