Why Do People Procrastinate - And Can We Change?

Posted: Feb 20 2017, 11:12am CST | by , in News | Also on the Geek Mind

 

Why Do People Procrastinate - And Can We Change?
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We all do it and have been doing it since we were young. Maybe you did it when you had to do homework in high school or you had to do your chores. Now you do it when you have to mow the lawn or renew your driver's license. Procrastination in the age of smartphones and Netflix is easier than ever, but it also means that people aren't finishing what we need to finish. Maybe the reason Hemingway could write like he did was because he didn't have an episode of Shameless waiting at his fingertips. Or maybe Michelangelo was able to paint because Candy Crush wasn't invented yet. Will the greatest minds of today go unused because they decided to take Snaps using cute filters instead of getting better at their crafts?

When you think about it that way, it is actually scary how much procrastination can do - so we have to get to the bottom of why we procrastinate. There are many rumors and myths out there that people who procrastinate are actually smarter than those who don't, but that's just not true. There are also myths that your brain is working while you are procrastinating, which also isn't really all that true. Those are just the things we tell ourselves so that we feel better about not doing our work.

So why do we procrastinate? Let's take a look:

You're Lazy

Let's get the most obvious reason out of the way: if you like to procrastinate, you might just be a little lazy. This is totally normal and nothing to really worry about if it isn't getting in the way of your success. We all have moments where we let the dishes sit another night so that we can sit on the couch and watch SNL. However, if it starts getting in the way of your productivity and success, then it's a problem to conquer.

According to Lifehack, this is the number one reason why people procrastinate, so you aren't in bad company.

You Don't Know How to Start

We are more likely to procrastinate things we don't know how to do or we are afraid to do. If you're bad at something, it isn't always a fun thing to do, so you look for ways to turn it around. You have to break whatever it is down into sizeable chunks so that you can then tackle it on a step by step basis instead of all at once. This will make it seem easier and allow you to take breaks when you need to do that.

Your Parents Procrastinated

Okay, it isn't great form to blame your parents for everything, but they could be a reason why you procrastinate as you do. You see, according to Psychology Today, we aren't born to be procrastinators. Instead, it is something that we learn. We watch the world around us and see that our parents did some of the same things we are doing today - they decided to clean the bathroom instead of filing taxes, they decided to go to the store instead of pulling weeds. 

Interestingly enough, procrastinators befriend other procrastinators. This means that we reinforce each other's procrastination and make it worse - which is probably why you didn't get a whole lot done in college.

We Lie to Ourselves

"I don't need to do this now."

"If I'm pressured, it will be better."

"I have plenty of time to finish this."

"I can just do this before class tomorrow."

Lying to yourself about why you are procrastinating isn't going to make the problem better, according to The Greatist. Instead, it will make you work even less and you will fall even deeper into the hole.

To get around this, make a list of all the lies you use and then destroy them with the truth.

Something Doesn't Feel Important to You

Whether it is the task at hand, your job, or schoolwork, you procrastinate because something just doesn't feel right to you, according to Forbes

This is something you typically find with people who are working - they are fine with their day to day work but a new batch of paperwork feels stupid or useless to them. You will also find it with college students, they will do the work for their major classes but push back that paper on the History of the English Language because it doesn't fit into their major.

If you find that this is the reason why you procrastinate, start by doing the small jobs that don't feel important to you. This will be your motivation to actually getting your work done.

You Have Too Many Distractions

Of course, the biggest problem facing us today is that we just have far too many distractions when we actually try to get work done. We check our phones, we go on Netflix, we talk to people, and we just don't do what we need to do. The 24/7/365 news cycle doesn't help either. The Washington Post has a great description of what it means to have a "monkey" on your back when you are trying to accomplish something.

If you find that you can't put your phone down when you are supposed to be studying or you turn to the TV, the solution is simple: put yourself in an environment where you can be away from distractions. Turn off your phone, download an app that blocks you from using it for a certain amount of time, and just being away will make a huge difference.

Do you have any good tips or tricks for avoiding procrastination? Let us know.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.

 

 

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