Procrastination and laziness are two of the biggest enemies of productivity. They can keep you from achieving your goals and can be very hard to overcome.
We’ve all been there before. You have an important project due for work or school, but for some reason, you just can’t seem to get started.
The more you try to focus, the more your mind wanders. Before you know it, hours have passed, and you’ve accomplished nothing. Sound familiar? If so, then you’re not alone.
In fact, according to a study by the American Psychological Association, 20 percent of U.S. men and women consider themselves chronic procrastinators.
Luckily, there are ways to overcome this frustrating habit. Keep reading to learn how to avoid procrastination and laziness.
First of all, let’s define the difference between procrastination and laziness. Most people think they are one and the same, but there is actually a big distinction.
What Is The Difference Between Procrastination And Laziness?
The primary difference between procrastination and laziness is that procrastination is a deliberate avoidance of doing something that needs to be done, while laziness is a personality trait characterized by a disinclination to work or make an effort.
Procrastination can be caused by a mental block that prevents you from being productive, but it can also result from perfectionism or fear of failure.
Lazy people may not necessarily procrastinate – they may just avoid work altogether.
The Psychological Factors Behind Procrastination And Laziness
Teddy Roosevelt, one of the most productive Presidents in American history, said that “the things that are most worth doing are often the things that involve pain, effort, and difficulty.”
And he was right. Most of the things that are worth doing in life require some level of sacrifice and effort.
So why do people procrastinate if it’s in their best interest to just get started? The answer is that our brains are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
In other words, it’s easier for our brains to take the path of least resistance.
Common Reasons For Procrastination And Laziness
Studies show that various factors cause procrastination and laziness. These common factors are why procrastinators may know their behaviors yet can’t change them.
A lack of structure
A lack of structure is one of the reasons for procrastination and laziness. When people do not plan their activities, they lose focus and tend to postpone tasks.
This happens because they do not have a set routine or a specific order in which they should complete their tasks.
As a result, they become overwhelmed and do not know where to start. If you develop a habit of delaying tasks, you will become a procrastinator.
Anxiety and fear
When people are anxious, they tend to avoid the activities that cause them anxiety.
For example, if you are afraid of failure, you may procrastinate on tasks that you think are difficult.
You may also be anxious about the future and what it holds. This can cause you to avoid planning and preparing for upcoming events.
Fear of the results or the journey to complete a task can prevent us from starting at all. It results in an inability to complete a task and, as a result, procrastination.
Lack of motivation
Motivation might come from the outside or from within. Internal motivation is a crucial psychological factor.
When you are not motivated to do something, you are less likely to start or finish it. This is because you do not have a strong enough reason to do the task.
For example, if you do not see the value in cleaning your room, you will probably not do it.
People who are lazy often lack motivation because they do not see the reward in completing the task. Disliking tasks results in a lack of motivation.
When this happens, the chances of deferring work on a task are great. That’s saying you’re more likely to procrastinate when you don’t have motivation.
Perfectionism is another common cause of procrastination. When people are perfectionists, they expect too much from themselves.
As a result, they are never satisfied with their work and always think that it could be better.
This perfectionism can cause them to avoid starting tasks because they do not want to do them imperfectly. It can also lead to procrastination as they try to make their work perfect.
10 Ways to Overcome Procrastination And Laziness
Now you know some of the main reasons for procrastination and laziness. So, how do you overcome these psychological factors?
Here are 10 ways to overcome them both and become more productive.
1) Break the task into smaller parts and start with a small win
Studies show that we procrastinate the most when we have large, looming tasks. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming and hard when you have a big project.
To make it easier, break the project down into smaller goals. For example, if you have to write a paper, break it down into smaller tasks such as researching, writing a draft, and editing.
Starting with smaller goals will make the overall task seem less daunting and help you stay on track.
2) Set a deadline
One of the best ways to overcome procrastination is to set a deadline.
Setting a deadline gives you a specific time frame in which you have to complete the task. This will help you stay focused and motivated.
When you set a deadline, make sure it is realistic. If you set a deadline too soon, you will feel stressed. If you set a deadline that is too far in the future, you are likely to forget about it.
One way to avoid procrastinating on essential tasks is to utilize “activation energy.”
You can do this by setting a timer for a set period that might appear short to you. But don’t make the time so short that you can’t finish what you need to do.
Set the timer for 15-20 minutes, and then work on the task until the timer goes off. This will help you stay focused while knowing that you have a deadline.
Once you get started, you may find that you want to keep going and finish the task because that’s the principle of activation energy.
3) Arrange your task
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a long to-do list. When you’re facing a lot of tasks, it can be helpful to arrange them in an order that makes sense for you.
For example, grouping similar tasks together can help you stay on track if you’re easily distracted.
Putting all of your errands in one section or all of your work tasks in another can help you avoid wasting time going back and forth between different types of tasks.
Even if your tasks are not particularly exciting, arranging them in an orderly way can make you feel more in control and less likely to procrastinate.
4) Incorporate rewards into your goals
Studies have demonstrated that rewards help motivate people to achieve their goals. When you’re trying to overcome procrastination, incorporating rewards into your goals can help you stay on track.
For example, you might set a goal to complete a task within a certain period of time. If you succeed, you could reward yourself with something you enjoy, such as a piece of candy or some extra free time.
Rewards can help you stay motivated to complete tasks, even if they’re not particularly exciting.
Your brain associates the reward with completing the task. This makes it more likely that you will complete a similar job in the future.
5) Don’t rely only on willpower to overcome procrastination
If you try to rely on willpower to overcome procrastination, you’re likely to be disappointed. The problem with willpower is that it’s a finite resource.
You can only have so much willpower at any given time. Once you’ve used it up, it’s gone.
In addition, finding the motivation to start back up is challenging once your willpower runs out.
This is why it’s so important to have a plan and set up your environment in a way that makes it easy for you to achieve your goals.
6) Pick the best time to do it
We all have times of the day when we’re more productive.
For some people, this might be early in the morning. For others, it might be late at night.
Find the time of day when you’re able to focus the best and use that time to work on tasks requiring much concentration.
You might not be able to control when a deadline occurs, but you can control when you work on a task. Pick the best time for you and use it to your advantage.
7) Use time-management tools
It’s hard to get started when you know you can’t get finished.
This is where time-management tools come in handy. With a tool like a To-do list application, you can break down tasks into smaller, manageable pieces.
This can help you feel less overwhelmed and more likely to get started.
In addition, time-management tools can help you stay on track by k
keeping track of your tasks, setting deadlines, and incorporating rewards.
Several different time-management tools are available, such as to-do list applications, calendar apps, project management systems, social media blocking extensions, and time-tracking tools.
Find the one that works best for you and your needs and use it to help you overcome procrastination and laziness.
8) Incorporate a positive mindset
A positive mindset can help you overcome procrastination and laziness.
When you have a positive outlook, you’re more likely to see obstacles as challenges instead of roadblocks. This can help you persevere when things get tough.
In addition, a positive mindset can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.
It’s important to remember that changing your mindset is a process. It takes time and effort.
But if you’re willing to put in the work, a positive mindset can help you overcome procrastination and laziness and achieve your goals.
9) Get help when you need it
Feeling overwhelmed is one of the main reasons people procrastinate.
Sometimes, you don’t have to do all of the tasks on your to-do list by yourself. Asking for help can take the pressure off and make it easier to get started.
For example, you might want to ask a friend or family member to help you with a task. Or, you might hire a professional to help you with a task that’s outside of your skill set.
There’s no shame in admitting that you need help. In fact, asking for help is a sign of strength. It shows that you’re willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals.
10) Just do it
A sure way to procrastinate is to spend too much time thinking about whether to do something or not.
Instead of debating it, just do it. If you don’t do it, you will only regret it later.
This tip is practical because it encourages you to take the first step. The hardest step is often the first one, but once you have completed that step, the rest will become easier.
It’s just like pushing a car. It would be the hardest step at first, but once that’s done, the car will start to move on its own.
The same principle can be applied to your work. So take the first step towards achieving your goals, even if it is small. You don’t need to make it the biggest or most important task; just get started, and you will gain momentum.
Final Thoughts on Avoid Procrastination and Laziness
Procrastination and laziness can be frustrating, but they don’t have to control your life.
By using the tips in this article, you can learn how to avoid procrastination and laziness and achieve your goals.
Remember, it takes time and effort to change your habits. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you can overcome procrastination and laziness and achieve success.
Do you like these tips?
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Related: 10 Reasons for Procrastination