5 Reasons People Procrastinate & How to Stop

You may be working for yourself or already running an online business of your own. Whatever the case, something we all struggle with is the desire to get more done in less time. The main obstacle preventing us all from being as productive as we want to be is procrastination.

This often happens, for example, when we’re about to start working on a new project but instead move on to finishing an easier and less important task. We still keep ourselves busy, but we’re not getting ahead.

Procrastination can play tricky games with our minds. Some people do stuff all day, every day, and yet they never accomplish much and wonder why life is unfair to them. The truth is, however, that they never tried to deal with the habit of procrastinating and never overcame its causes.

When facing an issue and wanting to do something about it, it’s smarter to get to the core of the problem. So what makes us procrastinate? And how can we handle it?
Here are the main reasons we procrastinate and how to overcome them:

1. You overthink.

Thinking too much about a task or a whole project before taking action is rarely good. It lets us see the big picture, and we become overwhelmed by all the time and effort this whole thing will take.

We even consider what others will say about it once it’s done, and we imagine different scenarios—often negative—that prevent us from having a clear mind that is ready to get to work.

Instead, don’t give your brain time to overthink; just start by making a plan on what to do first and give yourself a deadline to finish the very first thing.

2. You fear failure.

Fear of failure can be scary. It can paralyze us, block our creative juices, and make us anything but productive.

How do we deal with it? By understanding a few crucial things:

  • The only real failure is giving up; until then, you’re only trying different things to see what works best;

  • You can never know until you give a project a try.

  • Everything you do is experience and knowledge, and these pay off in the long-term.

  • Even if this fails, you’ll be better prepared and stronger next time.

  • All successful people fail countless times, but what separates them from the masses is that they keep going.

Once you understand these simple laws of success, failure won’t be an issue anymore.

3. You don’t know where to start.

Another reason for procrastinating is not knowing where to begin and deciding not to begin at all.

A project can look huge if you don’t take the time to break it down into smaller steps. But, in reality, it’s just a series of actions, each of which takes no time.

So make a list and write down anything you need to do to get this done. Now, take each item and turn it into even tinier actions.

In the end, you’ll have quick and easy tasks waiting for you, and each will take you closer to your final goal. Take the first 1-3 steps today; that’s where you should start.

4. You’re not motivated enough.

If you don’t know why you do what you do, there’s no real reason to give it your best or do it at all. So find your why.

Before you get to work every day, look at your to-do list and think of how getting all of these items done will help you succeed, how good you’ll feel after that, how each is related to your big vision for life and where you want to be in the near future.

That will be your driving force.

What’s more, no piece of work will feel like an obligation anymore, because you’ll have personal reasons to do it and will be full of enthusiasm and energy.

5. You aren’t confident you can perform well.

Lack of self-esteem in one’s abilities can also kill productivity.

But a focused mind needs to be confident so that it can let go of doubts and insecurities and concentrate on the job with its whole attention.

So how do we become more confident and thus more productive? By reminding ourselves of our good qualities, by remembering how far we’ve gotten and how far we can go, by accepting that all of this is a journey and that we are learning and getting better all the time.

If that doesn’t help, give yourself a confidence boost right before you start doing your most important work for the day. Say some positive affirmations out loud, read something inspirational, look at your reflection in the mirror and confidently say you can do it and that today is going to be a productive and successful day.

Doing these prior to going out works wonders.

Now that you’re aware of these 5 things that make us procrastinate, you’re in control of your productivity levels. Don’t let overthinking, fear of failure, or any of the other ridiculous factors get to you, and keep working on what you believe in.


Originally published 04/04/17.