Procrastination: 7 Causes, 7 Cures

Procrastination: 7 Causes, 7 Cures

Does procrastination ever stop you from doing what you really want to do with your life?

Maybe you want to get in better shape, go back to school, start your business or start investing money for the future. 

You can always do it tomorrow, right? 

But then tomorrow comes, and you don’t feel like doing it again and so goes the sad saga of procrastination. 

When does it end? 

If you’ve been wondering about this, here are seven causes of procrastination and seven cures that will help you put an end to procrastination today. 

Cause #1: No Written Plan

You’ve probably already heard that old adage: failing to plan is planning to fail. 

If you don’t have a written plan to guide you through something step by step, uncertainty will paralyse you. 

The writer Mark Twain once said: “The best way to do something great is to start now, and the best way to start now is to make a written plan, break it into small steps and start on the first step now.” 

Not bad advice, and this is the first cure for the disease of procrastination: Follow Mark Twain’s advice. 

Cause #2: Buying Your Own Baloney

Every time you tell yourself you will do something that you don’t end up doing, you’re lying to yourself. 

But that’s not the main problem ... the problem is that most procrastinators really believe that they WILL take action, just not now. 

If they don’t take action now, there’s always tomorrow. 

The cure for this is to stop believing yourself when you say, “I’ll do it____,” and instead work on a plan for starting to fulfil your commitment right now. 

Cause #3: Approval Addiction

Many times, the problem with procrastination has nothing to do with not following through. 

Instead, the problem is with making a commitment that you don’t really want to fulfil just so you can please someone else. 

It might feel very good to tell someone yes and terrible to tell them no. But if you end up going back on your commitment later, you’ll eventually burn your bridges with that person. 

The cure for approval addiction is to exercise your “no” muscle. 

Practice saying no to things you know you won’t follow through with. 

Don’t say “I’ll think about it” or “I’ll get back to you,” because this is just verbal procrastination. 

Instead, get comfortable saying no ... and when you do, your “yes” will be much more valuable. 

Cause #4: Perfectionism 

This is without a doubt the leading cause of procrastination and the hardest one to overcome. 

Perfectionism causes you to delay taking action or to take forever to complete something because of constant revisions and excessive planning. 

I base this kind of procrastination on the fear that if something you do is not good enough; YOU aren’t good enough. 

The cure for this is to separate your identity and sense of self-confidence from your performance, even when you do something well. This will take the edge off of perfectionism and keep it from paralysing you. 

Cause #5: Too Many Options 

You might have heard this saying: “If you chase after two rabbits you lose them both.” 

If you’re someone who has diverse interests, you’ll struggle with procrastination until you learn to make and cultivate a certain degree of selective ignorance in your life. 

Too many options can cause you to get stuck in analysis paralysis and never get around to focusing on one thing only. 

The cure for this is to sit down and write out all the things that are most important to you, and to focus your attention only on the things which you have time and energy for.

Chances are, if you do this and get to work, you’ll have time to do the less important things later. 

If not, at least you’ll have done something instead of being paralyzed by too many options. 

Cause #6: Indecisiveness 

If you’re in the habit of saying “Let me think about it” or of seeking others’ opinions for hours and hours before coming to your own decision about something, you’ve fallen into the habit of indecisiveness. 

Get rid of that habit before it takes your dreams from you. 

One of the most common character traits of highly effective people is that they are decisive and not influenced by the opinions of others. 

The cure for this procrastination is to develop a set of criteria by which you can make all your decisions: decisions about your health, career, relationships and finances. 

Having a long-term vision will help you build decisiveness by asking yourself the question: “Which will be the best decision for helping me reach my long-term goal?” 

Cause #7: Sheer Habit 

Too many people buy into the myth that procrastination is a character trait that is “in your blood.” 

In reality, procrastination is nothing more than a habit. We can break and through consistent repetition of more preferable behaviours. 

If you’ve fallen into the habit of procrastination, it’s likely that there are patterns in your life with this habit. 

To Sum Up Then

Develop all the following habits: 

  • Always have a written plan for something you want to achieve 

  • Acknowledge that now is the only time you can ever live in 

  • Get rid of perfectionism and accept that failure is a natural part of the learning process 

  • Focus on a few key goals and trust in your own wisdom instead of being swayed by the opinions of others Now you know what you need to do. 

Don’t think about it - just get started. 

Get yourself rewired and back on the track to success today with “Thought Elevators”

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