Why We Really Procrastinate (& How to Overcome It)

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As mothers, delays are very familiar to all of us. That’s because we often have a list of things we didn’t do! Handling laundry or cooking piles, homework assignments, exercise and finances are common tasks that we postpone. Add the allure of a smartphone and it’s easy to get yourself off track all of a sudden. (I’m all guilty of it!)

But the truth is that we also delay what we do What Want to do things like start a business, write a book, adopt positive habits, etc.

Delay is not as easy as not wanting to work as we do not feel – it is much deeper. In this post, I will explain why you are really predictable (and what you can do).

Why do we delay?

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, delays do not slow down. I believed that delays were not the only thing they wanted to do. And it makes sense. The things we often give up are boring tasks like laundry or hard work like writing college papers.

The study, published in 2000, lists seven triggers that have caused delays.

  • Boring
  • disappointing
  • difficult
  • Ambiguous
  • Unmade
  • Not internally beneficial
  • Lack of personal meaning

These stimuli seem to make sense. But at the same time, I can name a lot of things that fall into the same category of motivations. And what about the things we really want to do (like write that book at the end) but we keep doing it (and scroll through social media instead)? We have to look a little deeper. What I discovered was that the delay was linked to another internal conflict.

Fear of failure, fear of success, and feeling incapable of success, these are all internal conflicts that can stop you from doing what you want to do (or want to do!).

The reason for these internal conflicts is that our unconscious mind is always trying to protect us from harm (real or perceived). Delaying is one way to do this. If a job presents a situation that can be “dangerous” according to the subconscious mind, it will stop you from moving forward. Anything that is offensive is considered a threat to the unconscious mind.

Internal conflicts that cause stalemate

According to Psychology Today article by Dr. Susan Kroos Whitburn, there are four major internal disputes that have been delayed:

Self disabled

This is where a person creates a situation that guarantees that he will not succeed. This is usually done unconsciously. For example, anyone who is afraid of failure will stop writing their book and then time will pass. Then the reason for not writing is lack of time which makes it easier to deal with than lack of ability.

Another example is the fear of success. If a person has a great idea for a business, but his whole family is a blue collar worker, he may feel guilty for creating a business that makes a lot of money. Leaving work ensures that they do not earn more than their family members.

Tapping is a way that really helped me overcome those thoughts.

Low literacy

Another internal conflict is low self-efficacy. Like self-confidence, self-efficacy is your self-confidence for a particular task. For example, you may have high confidence in your ability to bake cakes, but you may have little confidence in your ability to grow tomatoes.

If you don’t think you have the ability to do something, you can stop doing it. It’s not just the fear of failure. Less self-efficacy is also about the stress it causes when you’re trying to do something you don’t believe you are capable of. Your subconscious mind also wants to avoid this stress.

Sensational search

For some, the pressure of tough deadlines can be a thrill. Research shows that it is more common in extroverts.


Perfection is the fourth reason for delay. Whitbourne argues that some people are so afraid of being incomplete that they can finish a task, such as writing a paper, but stop presenting it.

But some research shows that perfectionism is actually a sign of low self-esteem. A 2011 study found that at least some perfection is a product of low self-esteem and self-criticism.

How to overcome delays (and become a productive machine)

Here are some tips that might help:

Acknowledge the delay

The first thing you need to do is consult. This can be difficult to recognize, especially when the work you use to engage yourself is also a work that needs to be done (such as cleaning). It’s easy to make the excuse that cleanliness is a priority.

As mentioned above, perfection is another way to defer people. If you’re reluctant to finish something because you’re not sure if it’s good enough yet, you may have an opinion.

You can practice if you create obstacles for yourself. For example, if you spend لباس 1,000 on clothes instead of a new computer, you need to write your own book, you break it yourself.

Find out the root cause

Once you acknowledge that you have been offered, you can start digging deeper and find out what the root cause is. Here are some possibilities:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Feeling incompetent
  • Feeling guilty

Detecting the mental problem that is causing your procrastination can help you get back to work.

Delay is often a problem of mindfulness but sometimes it happens on its own. Are you planning to do something because it’s not really something you should do?

We postpone everything at specific times, such as removing laundry, or paying bills. But those things usually happen eventually because we see the benefits. It makes my life harder when I don’t do laundry!

If there is a task or goal that you are leaving for an indefinite period of time, then perhaps that goal is not part of your way of life and the same thing needs to be considered.

Forgive yourself

Research published in 2010 found that forgiving yourself for past delays helps reduce future delays. If in the past you felt guilty or ashamed about hard work, now is the time to give it up so you can make a real difference.

Use productivity hacks

Once you’ve uncovered the mind-boggling issues that are causing you delays, you can use the hex of produc productivity to help you stay on track and reach your goals.

Break up big tasks into smaller ones

If you are late because of being overwhelmed, breaking your tasks into manageable pieces is one of the best ways to be effective. I want to start with my goal and plan ahead and then figure out what needs to be done before achieving the goal, what to do before the task, and so on.

Give priority

When I lose control of my to-do list, I want to avoid it altogether! But if I prefer to spend 10-15 minutes in the morning, I feel very much in control. It even makes me feel more capable! I choose 3 important tasks that need to be completed and all I can do is a bonus. Time management can also affect self-esteem, so overcoming it is a big help.

Eat frog

Brian Tracy’s book Eat that frog Teaches many productive skills, but the most important is to eat frog every morning. He says that if you have to eat frog every day, get rid of it in the morning and the rest of your day will be easier.

This does not mean that frogs are actually eating. Instead, he is referring to important tasks that are boring, frustrating, difficult, and so on. If you get to work first thing in the morning, you’ve got the most important work out of the way so that if it’s just one thing, you can complete that day, it was a successful day.

5 Use the second rule

If eating frog is too difficult, try this: 5 second rule. Author of Mel Robbins 5 Second rule“If you want to achieve a goal, you have to physically move within 5 seconds or your mind will get rid of that idea,” he explains. She recommends counting – 5-4-3-2-1-GO and then moving on to whatever action you need to take (no matter how small).

Use the 80/20 rule

This is my personal favorite.

Doing unimportant work is a form of procrastination. Instead of doing everything, stick to the 20% tasks that give you the 80% reward. For example, planning meals or spending time to ensure that children are left with barely used clothes (instead of throwing them in the laundry).

Get accountable

Accountability is a great way to stay on track. Ask a friend or colleague to check in on your progress weekly or monthly. It always helps me because I hate to disappoint anyone else or they will have to admit that I didn’t do what I said.

Use the Pomodoro method

This method comes from Francisco Cerillo and his tomato kitchen timer. The Pomodoro method is simple:

  • Set a timer for 25 minutes and get to work
  • Then set the timer for 5 or 10 minutes and pause
  • 4 Repeat the cycle for Pomodoros, then take longer breaks, take 15-30 minutes.

This technique gives you a short time to work and also promises breaks. If 25 minutes is too long, choose a time that works for you. Once you get used to the system, you can always increase the time.

Focus on the long term

Delays focus on the short-term benefits of quitting. When you find yourself thinking, remind yourself of the long-term benefits, such as maximizing money, a clean home to enjoy, a degree, a quiet home, and so on.

Take care of yourself

Make sure you get enough quality sleep and that you are eating healthy food to refresh your brain and give yourself the best chance to reach your goals.

Overcoming Delays: Is It Possible?

Delay can sometimes feel like it has caught up with you and you have no control. But there are many things you can do to overcome the delay and reach your goals. Let’s take a look at the root causes first. No productive hack will help you unless you find the source of the hack yourself and use some of these strategies to keep moving forward!

The article was reviewed medically by Dr. Lauren Jeffers, a Certificate in Admissions Medical and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk to your doctor or work with a doctor at Study MD.

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  1. Blunt, AK, and Pichel, T. A. (2000) Task Obstacles and Delays: A Multidimensional Approach to Stopping Work at All Phases of Personal Planning. Personality and individual differences, 28 (1), 153-167. doi: 10.1016 / s0191-8869 (99) 00091-4 https: //www.s knowledge direct.com/s knowledge / article / abs / pii / S0191886999000914
  2. Delay of delay. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201204/the-paradox-prodtion
  3. Dunkley, D.M., Berg, J. L. and Zurov, DC (2012). The role of perfection in daily self-esteem, attachment, and negative impact. Journal of Personality, 80 (3), 633–663. doi: 10.1111 / j.1467-6494.2011.00741.x https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2011.00741.x
  4. Wohl, M. J., Pichail, T. A, and Bennett, SH (2010). I forgive myself, now I can study: How forgiving self-forgiveness can reduce future delays. Personality and individual differences, 48 ​​(7), 803–808. doi: 10.1016 / j.paid.2010.01.029 https: //www.s knowledge direct.com/s knowledge / article / abs / pii / S0191886910000474

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