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Understand the source of your procrastination and you have the road map to resolving it

“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choices made for him by circumstances.” – Hunter S. Thompson, “The Proud Highway Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman”

Procrastination is a form of self-regulation failure characterised by the irrational delay of tasks despite potentially negative consequences. Mentally it is a result of lacking will power to take action and the the reward is perceptually diminished in comparison to the possible negative outcome. We might also lack discipline, self-control and motivation, resulting in procrastination. Below are some other reasons why we might end up procrastinating (source:

  • Abstract goals
  • Outcomes that are far in the future
  • A disconnect from our future self
  • A focus on future options
  • Optimism or pessimism
  • Indecisiveness
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Anxiety
  • Task aversion
  • Perfectionism
  • Fear (e.g., of failure, evaluation, or negative feedback)
  • Self-handicapping
  • Self-sabotage
  • Low self-efficacy
  • Perceived lack of control
  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of energy
  • Laziness
  • Prioritization of short-term mood
  • Low capacity for self-control
  • Lack of perseverance
  • Impulsivity
  • Distractibility
  • Sensation seeking
  • Rebellion

We can derive some patterns determining the sources of the reasons, namely: core wounding, cognitive biases, external locus of evaluation, personality types and physical obstacles. Resolving procrastination comes down to healing, creating practices of mindfulness and self-awareness and reflection, and gaining tools to overcome procrastination. 

Creating structure, organisation and routines are strategies that will help combat procrastination. We want to show our minds that there is little uncertainty in our future and by breaking everything down into smaller steps, each task is easy to complete and we have some semblance of control. When we have a clear perception of what the future will hold, even if it turns out differently, and we can perceive the steps that will take us there we stay out of procrastination. It is one of the challenges in life that is a matter of choice. We choose to either take action or not, and if we feel stuck in procrastination we can choose to pursue the path or getting unstuck. Choice is a superpower, wield it consciously to benefit yourself and others. 

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