Why We Procrastinate

Self-sabotage is something we are all capable of, and most of us are guilty of from time to time. It can become a problem though, when this behaviour creates issues in our daily life and starts to affect our long standing goals, ultimately keeping us away from the life we really desire.

There are many ways in which we can sabotage our own efforts, but there do seem to be a few that are particularly common.

But why do we do it?

We self-sabotage for one reason only – to protect ourselves!

For example, choosing to sacrifice now rather than pay later, like not applying for that promotion because it’s less painful than the humiliation of possibly being rejected.

Or we sabotage relationships by not committing, therefore pushing the person away, even when that connection and relationship is what we truly want.

We’re plagued with thoughts like “I can’t do it” or “I’m not good enough” subconscious processing thoughts derived from our ancient survival gene coding, to protect us by preventing our suffering or death. 

These subconscious thoughts do not serve, but hinder us, as the World is different now. 

On a day to day basis, the most common way we self-sabotage, is procrastination. We all want to avoid tackling certain tasks at times, but it ultimately impedes our progress. Therefore, it’s imperative we make the changes needed to stop standing in our own way. 

Here’s a few helpful tips

  1. Recognise You Are Procrastinating – be honest & accept you are doing it, or you can’t change it. Remember, it’s not a fault but a protective instinct, so don’t berate yourself.
  1. Work Out Why – you need to understand why before you can tackle it and find ways to address it. e.g. are you disorganised, is it boring, is it difficult? 
  1. Empower Yourself – remove ‘need to’ or ‘have to’ as this implies you have no choice in what you do. Saying ‘I choose to’ implies you own the project.
  1. Keep a List – having a list helps you to stop ‘conveniently’ forgetting the overwhelming/unpleasant tasks …Prioritise this list to identify urgent tasks
  1. Peak Times – do you work best mornings, afternoons, or evenings? Tackle your hardest tasks at your peak times.
  1. Eat an Elephant – ensure you work through the least pleasant tasks first to get them out of the way early. 
  1. Distractions – as challenging as it may be, turn off social media/ email/ TV whilst tackling your most urgent projects and tasks.
  1. Scheduling – become practiced at work/project planning your days and time planning with time-bound goals to keep you organised and on track.
  1. Accountability Buddy – this can be great as peer pressure works. It’s why self-help groups work. Talking out tricky tasks together can help too.
  1. Reward – set yourself rewards in advance for completing unpleasant projects and tasks…make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things.

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