The top five reasons we procrastinate and what to do about them.

Cindy JobsADHD In The Workplace, Health and Well-Being, Productivity

What do all these quotes have in common? They are all linked to procrastination.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” (Lau Tzu).

“There is no greater impediment to the advancement of knowledge than the ambiguity of words.” (Thomas Reid) 

“Our lack of focus is our primary problem and the source of many of our difficulties.” (Douglas A. Puryear)

“Momentum solves 80% of your problems.” (John C. Maxwell) 

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” (Napolean Hill)

Procrastination is a familiar foe we all face at some point. The tendency to delay tasks can lead to stress, missed opportunities, and decreased productivity. However, a simple yet powerful strategy can help us overcome this obstacle: breaking tasks into manageable chunks. By breaking down daunting projects into smaller, actionable steps, we can harness our motivation, improve focus, and ultimately conquer procrastination.

  1. Overcoming Overwhelm:  One of the primary reasons we procrastinate is the overwhelming feeling around tackling an enormous task. Breaking it down into smaller tasks helps us regain a sense of control. When we divide a complex project into bite-sized portions, it becomes more manageable. Each subtask feels more achievable, providing a psychological boost and reducing anxiety. Focusing on one manageable task at a time prevents the mental block often accompanying large, undefined goals.
  2. Enhancing Motivation: Motivation often wanes when faced with an ambiguous or complex task. Breaking it down into smaller tasks provides a roadmap for progress. As we complete each mini-task, we experience a sense of accomplishment, which fuels our motivation to move forward. Each completed step is a milestone, reinforcing our belief that we are making tangible progress. This incremental approach keeps us motivated throughout the journey, propelling us toward the ultimate goal.
  3. Increasing Focus and Concentration:  Procrastination thrives on distractions, and an overwhelming task can easily lead to losing focus. Breaking it down allows us to compartmentalize our attention. Focusing on one task at a time eliminates the mental clutter that often accompanies large projects. We can allocate our energy and time more efficiently, devoting our total concentration to each manageable chunk. This heightened focus enables us to work more effectively, resulting in higher-quality outcomes and shorter completion times.
  4. Building Momentum: Breaking tasks into manageable parts also helps us build Momentum. We gain a sense of progress and accomplishment as we complete each subtask. This positive reinforcement creates a snowball effect, fueling our motivation and drive to tackle the next task. Over time, the cumulative impact of these small wins propels us forward, making the remaining tasks appear less daunting. The Momentum generated by completing manageable chunks creates a virtuous cycle that pushes us closer to our goal while procrastination loses its grip.
  5. Establishing Clear Deadlines:  Breaking down tasks allows us to set clear deadlines for each subtask, ensuring better time management. By assigning realistic timeframes to each component, we avoid falling into the trap of endless delays. These self-imposed deadlines create a sense of urgency and accountability, pushing us to stay on track. Furthermore, they provide an opportunity to celebrate milestones and evaluate progress. Adhering to a structured timeline reduces the chances of procrastinating and increases the likelihood of meeting our goals.

Procrastination can be defeated by breaking down what needs to get done into manageable and motivational chunks. By embracing these five strategies, we empower ourselves to overcome procrastination and achieve our full potential.


Cindy Jobs, PCAC, PCC

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