“I Don’t Feel Like It” and Other Reasons You Procrastinate
We’ve heard all of your excuses and we know what they really are: procrastination incarnate. Learn how to create deadlines, play music, and even conjure incentives to get the job done.
Procrastination has many causes. Maybe you procrastinate because you don’t enjoy a task or you find a job too challenging to organize. Or you may not know how to get things done. I have listed the most common causes for procrastinating and ways to get organized and finish what you start.
1. Procrastination Cause: “I dislike doing the task”
- Look for ways to increase the task’s appeal.
- Make it into a game and keep score, or compete with others doing similar tasks.
- Listen to upbeat music while working.
- Give yourself a reward after you complete the task.
2. Procrastination Cause: “I am overwhelmed”
Use a “divide and conquer” approach:
- Break a large task into separate, short-term, easy-to-achieve segments.
- Check off each segment as you accomplish it.
3. Procrastination Cause: “I have difficulty starting a task”
- Create something to react to. Reactive tasks are easier to begin than those that you must initiate yourself.
- Work on the task with others. Answering their questions or responding to e-mails is a good way to get – and keep – you moving forward.
- Establish a deadline with your supervisor.
4. Procrastination Cause: “I’m not organized enough to start the task”
If you don’t know where to start, try the following:
- Think through the task.
- Talk through the steps with your supervisor.
- Break the task into do-able segments.
- Create a list of resources and supplies needed to accomplish the task.
- Create a timeline for the task; do the first segment.
- Set e-mail or text reminders for each segment.
5. Procrastination Cause: “I find the job too difficult”
- Ask yourself why the task seems so hard – is more training, more practice, or more assistance from others needed? – then get the help to succeed.
Apply a Solution
Select a task that you keep putting off. Then look at the list of solutions above and choose one that you think is helpful. Your new solutions will soon become habits.
Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., is a member of the ADDitude ADHD Medical Review Panel.
Updated on June 19, 2019