Today when I finished a project that I had been working on for more than a week and should have completed a few months ago, I felt like a burden was lifted from my shoulder. Finally I could cross it off from my mental to-do list.
The project was not difficult to do. It just required time, attention and detailed work. But I was not very motivated to do it.
“I’ll do it later.” I kept thinking. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. I would rather do something else than working on the project, knowing well that I had to do it sooner or later.
I finally did it after I was asked about it. “What’s the status of the project? When will it be done?”
I understand there are two main causes of procrastination – a lack of desire or a fear of something.
As I mentioned in a previous post on procrastination, I tend to procrastinate when I don’t feel like doing something, when I am not excited about what I need to do, such as filing tax return.
I know procrastination causes anxiety and burden. Whenever I put off something because I don’t feel like doing it but I know I have to do it, it feels like something is hanging over my head and it is constantly on my mind reminding me.
Understanding the drawbacks and the root causes of procrastination only solves half of the problem. The other half is to do something about it.
There are some ways to overcome procrastination – clarify and align yourself with your goals and values, prioritize, break big tasks into smaller tasks, delegate, have a buddy for accountability, etc.
In the end, the most practical advice is probably “Just Do It!”
I really need to move from “Know how” to “Do now.”
Here is a 6-part series on How to Overcome Procrastination by Celestine Chua.