Are you procrastinating right now? Why do people procrastinate? Have you possibly considered the solution may lie in intuition?
We have all referred to ourselves as the king or queen of procrastination. You know, that report you were supposed to file last week? Getting around to those chores you just hate doing – maybe even that diet you were supposed to start.
We’ve all been there and got the t-shirt, but why do people procrastinate?
Looking for a distraction
When faced with a task, how do you tackle it? Do you picture how important people in your life might react if you failed, and therefore, believe it’s better to not try at all? Do you think of all the ways it could go wrong? On the flip-side, do you procrastinate because you are overwhelmed by the possibility of new responsibilities if you are successful? Do you start to think “If I do well, then others will expect more of me“?
A procrastinator, by their very nature, will actively avoid tasks and deliberately look for distractions. Procrastination largely reflects our struggle with self-control. It also meddles with our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day. “I don’t feel like it” takes precedence over goals. The danger is that it sends us on a downward spiral of negative emotion, which means that the promise of “tomorrow” never comes.
If you want to know the reason why people procrastinate, you only need to take a look at perfectionists. They are often procrastinators because it is psychologically more acceptable to never tackle a task than to face the possibility of falling short on performance.
Procrastinators typically contend that they perform better under pressure, but more often than not that’s their way of justifying putting things off. Procrastination also involves some degree of self-deception; we are at some level aware of the truth of our actions.
Procrastination and anxiety
While the reasons for procrastination may vary, the results are often the same-a seemingly endless cycle of anxiety, avoidance, and shame. Nothing gets done, and you can’t enjoy anything with that guilt hanging over your head. Maybe you play golf instead of working on your presentation, but the image of your glowering boss nags at you during the entire game anyway.
You can never really relax because there is always something else you should be doing. Procrastination doesn’t work because avoidance doesn’t erase anxiety – it just delays it.
Psychologists have long wanted to know what makes people procrastinate. A recent study linked this behaviour with a form of anxiety. This is because people know what they need to do, but they don’t do it, or they delay until the last minute. The pattern repeats itself and it ends in a spiral of, which manifests itself as anxiety as you become caught in a trap.
Why do people procrastinate? An unexpected answer
But, here is an answer you might not have considered. Procrastination could be the result of your intuition.
There is a chance that you have a fear of failure and that is what is behind your procrastination. The thought, or your intuition, of putting in effort but still failing makes you anxious. Instead, you choose to avoid it and opt for procrastinating instead. In this way, when your project fails, you can rationalise that it wasn’t a true test of your abilities anyway – if only you’d had more time.
Procrastination can also provide red flags – you need to listen to those. Your intuition tells you that people may become critical of you, or your work, should you attempt to do something that goes above and beyond. The fear of criticism and rejection, which is linked to anxiety, is your intuition’s way of aiding your procrastination.
There is also a chance you could fear success. Procrastination protects you from the higher expectations and greater responsibilities that may come with succeeding. Like those who procrastinate because they fear failure, you keep yourself safe from facing your true limits by avoiding challenges and putting things off.
The cures for procrastination
There is some good news, in the fact that there are effective strategies to overcome procrastination – as well as the causes of it. By using methods drawn from cognitive behavioural therapy, you can learn skills to decrease your avoidance and manage your anxiety.
Also, look inside yourself. If you are seeing nothing but red flags, it might be your psyche telling you that something is wrong. What are you really afraid of? Is it realistic and can it actually aid you in achieving your goal?
Also, look at the projects that are occupying you as well as the ones that cause you procrastination. If you aren’t studying or learning a topic very easily, it might be that it is just not interesting you – so you need to get yourself out there and find one that does.
Make sure you investigate your pattern of procrastination instead of judging yourself or trying to force yourself to be productive. See if there is another force at work – and keep your procrastination at bay!
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