Let me guess, there’s something you’re supposed to be working on or doing right now but instead of doing the thing, you’re online looking for answers, scrolling on social media, or just trying to pass some time. Yeah, I’ve been there too and pretty frequently.
I’m pretty sure I’m a card-carrying member of the Procrastinators Club. Over the past few weeks though, I’ve learned that there are fixable reasons for why you’re procrastinating.
You see, I set out on a journey in May 2019 because I realized I had a HUGE problem with procrastination and it was only getting worse. At first, I thought it was just a time issue. I didn’t have the time to do all the things I needed to get done.
Then I did a time audit and I was SHOCKED at how much free time I actually had. There was no acceptable excuse for why I wasn’t getting things done.
I thought there was something wrong with me so I dove into the world of personal development. It’s been a huge-living changing experience over the past 8 months, but I was still having issues with procrastination.
In fact, some weeks it was just crazy how lazy I felt. What the heck was wrong with me? I’d done so much amazing work and broke through so many limiting beliefs and things that were holding me back. Yet I couldn’t get myself to work on my business, to work out, to clean the house, or even leave the house some days.
Then I realized it wasn’t with me personally but things in my life. Since I’ve discovered these reasons and started fighting against them, my productivity has started to vastly improve.
I know it’ll only get better with time. Even when I really want to procrastinate I’ve found little tricks to boost my productivity. But anyways, here are the big reasons for procrastination.
The Biggest Reason for Procrastination: You’re stressed
I first heard this from Mel Robbins on YouTube. She has a book on 5-second decisions, but the key takeaway is that procrastination is mostly caused by stress. Not necessarily from what you’re trying to avoid but something else in your life.
Let me tell you, this piece of knowledge hit me like a truck. WAM.
This was the first time anyone had said this, and although I think that I knew this somewhere deep down (I often crash on the weekends due to my mentally exhausting day job) I didn’t realize that it was affecting my productivity that much.
The more I thought about it, the more I knew this was 100% true. My procrastination and productivity are tied in with my stress levels. On days and weeks that my day job is just too much, I don’t get anything done.
Even going to the park which I love to do, seems draining and hard. The days and weeks where I glide through happily, I get so much done. I’m even getting things done while super tired if I’m at least happy.
So what area of your life is stressing you out right now?
You may not even be fully aware that you’re that stressed.
Grab a journal (I recommend a reusable one like this) and start to write out what’s going on in your life. You may be surprised or surprised that you actually knew all along.
Once you know why you’re stressed, you can figure out ways around it. After you’ve destressed a bit I know your productivity is only going to improve.
Say “goodbye” to always procrastinating. No, it probably won’t go away forever because we are human and get stressed, but if you have ways to defeat the stress then you’re on your way to a better life.
But what if you’re not stressed? Don’t worry, there are still four other big reasons why you’re procrastinating.
You’re Not Taking Time For Yourself
One of the reasons you may be more stressed out and procrastinating is because you don’t take time for yourself or do self care.
Already do plenty of self care? Then check out the other three big causes of procrastination. However, if you’re not taking time for yourself or enough time, then keep reading.
If you don’t know what self care is then check out this post here but if you do know what it is, then you need to be taking more time for yourself by doing the things you enjoy and that gives you energy.
My personal development coach recommends 8-12 hours a week. I know that for a lot of people that seems like an insane amount. Even if you can only do a half hour or so a day or a few hours on the weekends, you’re stress levels and procrastination will decrease. Additionally, your happiness and productivity will increase.
I know that I can feel a difference when I start skimping out on taking time for myself. Sometimes I feel selfish doing it but it actually benefits everyone in your life if you’re happy and taking care of yourself.
Write a list of things that you enjoy doing and start doing a few of those every week. I know you’ll see a huge difference.
You’re Procrasting Because You’re Uninspired
Let’s say you’re not stressed and you do take time for yourself. You may just not be inspired. This doesn’t necessarily mean creatively unless that’s part of your job or hobbies, but it could be inspired by anything.
Your house could be a complete disaster but if you’re not inspired by where you live, your furniture, etc then it will be harder to want to clean it all up. Girl, same.
Aside from the stressed based procrastination, lack of home inspiration has been preventing me from charging headfirst into making our condo the best it could be.
Our walls are bare, we have no yard, we have minimal furniture, the walls are old, etc. It’s just not inspiring and I don’t have the desire to clean all the time because it won’t matter much anyway. We don’t even have guests come over much because we have the smallest place of all our friends.
But this is a negative way to look at it. Instead, I should start looking at Pinterest, home magazines, or other people’s homes for inspiration.
What can I do to get inspired and make my home more comforting and exciting to live in?
You can do the same for any area of your life that you’re not feeling inspired.
Now, I know this may not resonate with running errands, so maybe a different reason we’ve yet to discuss is the cause of your procrastination, but maybe you can get yourself inspired to run those errands.
I hate grocery shopping but we make the same meals over and over. My husband and I recently decided we need to try new menus, so now it may be fun to go grocery shopping and look through the aisles for new ingredients and fun things we can make.
Unfocused or Indecisive Equals Unproductive
Another fixable reason why you’re procrastinating is that your unfocused or indecisive. If you have too much going on and can’t decide what to do first or get distracted easily, then you’re not going to be productive. This leads to a lot of wasted time and procrastination.
I’m very guilty of this myself. If I can’t concentrate on a task then I end up daydreaming, playing around online, or overplanning. “Well, I could do this first, but maybe I should do that other thing first”. It’s a cycle of procrastination.
I get this way a lot when I’m deciding between cleaning the house, running errands, or working on my side business. Then somehow it’s hours later and I’ve accomplished nothing. Yet, this is also true if I do decide to focus on one thing but I can’t concentrate.
Have you ever started cleaning the house and found something you forgot you had? You get distracted by it and then nothing gets done. It could be old pictures, a childhood toy, or a book you forgot to finish reading. There are so many distracting things.
One way I fix this problem is to give myself deadlines. For example, if it’s 2:15 pm and I need to clean the house, I say I can play around until 2:30 pm and then I have to work on my bedroom for 1 hour. That time limit helps me to stay focused and concentrate on the task.
When I’ve said I need to clean my room on a certain day and given myself no time limit, it can end up taking the whole day because I get distracted. But when I give myself a set deadline I’ve gotten the whole room done without distraction. I couldn’t believe it the first time but now it works (nearly) all the time.
Another way that’s helped is setting timers. This is similar to the deadlines, but I use timers with my goal setting and planning.
I give myself maybe 15 minutes or so to brain dump all the things I need to get done, then prioritize that list. Once the timer is up I need to have my plan of action in place and get to work.
The timers have also helped with my decision making. If I’m unfocused and procrastinating then I set a 5-minute timer. Once it goes off I need to make a decision and stick to it.
When I put these small tricks into practice, my productivity is much higher. I become more focused and more decisive which leads to less procrastination.
You’re Avoiding a Negative Feeling
This is a big, but fixable procrastination reason. This one happens to me on occasion. It happens the most at work or sometimes when I’m starting a new exercise routine.
You are trying to avoid a negative feeling or experience. Maybe you’re worried about embarrassing yourself, uncovering something hidden about yourself or something else, or, for working out, you’re avoiding muscle soreness.
There can be many reasons involving a fear or worry, but you need to push past this. I’ve been procrastinating on launching this second blog. I have no true reason other then fear it won’t help anyone or that I’ve wasted my time.
I procrastinate because I worry about a variety of unknown outcomes but I need to push past it.
Look deep into yourself to figure out what you’re really worried about in whatever you’re procrastinating on. Meditation and journaling can help you uncover this.
Maybe you’ve got some bills you haven’t paid because you’re afraid to see how much credit card debt you added to already mounting pile.
You could avoid running errands because you’ve been in a car accident and you’re worried about getting into another (yes, this has happened to me too).
There are so many reasons but you won’t be able to fix your procrastination until you look deep within yourself to find the underlying cause. Sometimes it’s easy to figure it out and sometimes it will take more time.
In the end, it’s worth it to do some digging into your own thoughts and feelings.
Your Energy or Mood is Too Low
The last big but fixable reason you’re procrastinating is that your energy is just too low. You’re tired, exhausted, or maybe even suffering from sadness or depression.
My energy tanks in the wintertime and I get seasonal depression, but this year as I’m writing this I’ve been able to mostly defeat the winter blues and my productivity has gone up.
No matter if it’s a certain time of the year, a certain time of the month for us ladies, or just general exhaustion, being really tired can affect how much we procrastinate.
Face it, if you’re barely getting out of bed are you really going to want to run those errands, deep clean your house, or work on the various other projects and tasks on your to-do list? I didn’t think so.
I actually just wrote a post on getting things done when you’re tired because I know how hard it can be.
The short version is to find ways to get energized. When you’re pumped up and energized you’re naturally able to get more things done unless you’re also suffering from one of the other procrastination reasons in this post.
Listening to energetic music is one of the things I like to do to get myself into a higher emotional frequency. Sometimes I even dance around the room. Luckily my husband hasn’t caught me doing that yet.
If you’re suffering from low energy or a low mood, write a list of things that you can do to pull yourself out of it. Do some of those things on that list.
If it’s really bad, give yourself a few days off, take some time for yourself, and regroup. Come back from your break ready to take on the world and your to-do list.
Final Thoughts For Why You Procrastinate
I hope these six fixable reasons for procrastionation have been eye-opening to you. Some you may have even known about deep down but maybe didn’t want to admit to.
This was the case for me about the stress. Knowing that my procrastination and productivity is tied to my stress levels has been a game-changer. Now I know that I need to get myself more relaxed so I can get things done.
There isn’t anything actually wrong with me as a person, which is something I was starting to think. Seeing so many people accomplish all their goals while I was on the productivity struggle bus. But now I know the things I need to fix to get myself on track.
I hope you now know what you need to fix to get yourself to where you want and need to be.
Take time for yourself, destress, increase your energy and mood, work on your focus and decisiveness, and find inspiration every day.
You’ve got this.