The 9 Most Common Reasons Why We Procrastinate

why we procrastinate

Have you ever wondered why we procrastinate?

Many people don’t really know because in reality we just hear ourselves coming up with an excuse as to why put getting things done off for later. But there’s always an underlying cause.

And it’s worth finding it out and defining it clearly so that we can do something about it.

Procrastination can get not only in the way of our productivity and daily accomplishments, but of our life goals in the long-term. Not being action-oriented and slowly building the habit of making excuses instead of doing things creates an awful type of comfort zone that we can’t easily leave.

But there’s a solution to that.

First of all, though, you should be absolutely clear about the reason why you procrastinate. And almost every time, it’s one out of 9 common ones. Here they are:

The Top 9 Reasons Why We Procrastinate

1. The big picture scares us.

It’s when we’re looking at the whole thing (task, activity, project, etc.) and it seems overwhelming.

We think about how long it will take us and how hard it may be to get it done.
But that’s just another excuse to not actually take the first step and work on it.

Truth is, anything looks big and scary in the beginning. But if we look closely, we see it’s just a combination of many small elements, each of which is a step we need to take that will get us closer to completing the task.

So what must be done is break down the thing in front of us into manageable tasks. Then each will be pleasant to look at and not at all scary. We’ll see how fast and easy it will be to just do something about one item of the list now and thus finish the whole thing sooner.

2. We don’t feel like doing it.

lack of motivation

The problem here is lack of motivation. And it may be caused by a few things:

  • not having any interest in doing the thing we’re procrastinating on – there are many distractions in life and so many things we can be doing at any moment, so we’re basically choosing what to pay attention to first all the time. And it’s no wonder that we choose what’s most interesting and arouses some enthusiasm in us;
  • it’s boring – if a certain task seems really boring, we’ll find something better to do before it. That’s why many people put their financial tasks (planning, analysis, paying bills, calculating, accounting, etc.) till the last moment, for example;
  • negative attitude – we only focus on the bad sides of the whole thing and see it only for the obligation it is, how long it might take, the fact that we can fail, etc.

So something similar provoked your lack of motivation and now you’re making sure you won’t have to work on the task any time soon by avoiding anything that can remind you of it.

And the more you put off until later, the worse you feel and the more stressed and anxious you become.

But there’s always something we can do to turn things around and become the most productive version of ourselves.

3. We fear we might fail.

fear of failure
Fearing failure is another thing that can make us procrastinate.

Fear of failure is a strong reason why people procrastinate. But what actually causes it is not wanting to be judged by others, not having any hope (for which there are deeper motives too) and being disappointed in ourselves because of previous mistakes.

Part of the problem is that we deny this fear. Because admitting it makes us look even weaker, which is yet another reason to procrastinate.

But we can deal with all that. And it’s easy.
It all comes down to mindfulness. I’m talking about noticing the fear, accepting it and even getting to know it so that you can effortlessly let it go.

4. Perfectionism.

You’ve got unrealistic expectations, want to either do things perfectly or not at all. And because you can’t be certain about it, you procrastinate.

Does this sound familiar?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. There’s a certain amount of perfectionism in all of us. But in this case it’s the negative one, where we’re using it as just another excuse, think the conditions will be better later or that we’ll be better prepared and it will be easier and smarter to take action then.

As a result, this exact procrastination problem comes in 3 main forms:

  1. Waiting for the right moment.
  2. Waiting for the perfect conditions.
  3. Waiting for ourselves to be or feel ready.

Needless to say, each of these turns our live into a waiting room. And we won’t be able to get out of it if we don’t analyze our behavior and mindset so that we can do something about it.

5. We overanalyze the situation.

overthinking

That’s a self-destructive behavior. But the consequences of overthinking go way beyond just procrastinating and not getting things done.

Finding the solution starts with understanding overthinking and the damage it causes.

I’ve written about that in details in this exact chapter of my latest book on procrastination.

6. We don’t know where to start.

That’s when you don’t have a step-by-step plan on what to do first, and that’s why you prefer to procrastinate and make excuses.

But if you feel so overwhelmed by not knowing where to start when it comes to a daily task from your to-do list, a particular activity, or even a new project at work, it’s no wonder that you’d prefer to do anything else right now and thus put this off.

When later comes, however, you still won’t know what to do first. And you may soon find yourself falling behind on important things and not moving forward in life just because of this one procrastination excuse.

But you should keep in mind that not knowing where to start itself isn’t something you do wrong. It’s a result of something else – starting big.

7. It feels like an obligation.

procrastinating because something feels like an obligation

Have you ever wondered why we hated homework at school? It was because no one really told us why we should do it, they just made us do it. It was also when we least felt like it.

What about our lack of desire to read as children? It’s because they made us do it without telling us how reading can change our life and how much we can learn from it. It’s because they just put a book in front of us and expected us to start right away. Not to mention it was never on a topic we enjoyed.

And because of that wrong approach of parents, teachers and other authorities in our childhood, we kept our hatred for homework, or anything close to it.

Unfortunately, that prevents us from getting things done and creating a better lifestyle for ourselves.

So what can we do about it? How can we stop procrastinating on what feels like an obligation and take action right away instead?

The solutions I offer in the book are tips on how to let go of expectations, how to start doing things for yourself rather than for others, and how to make any task fun and pleasant.

8. We don’t believe we can do it.

Lack of confidence in your abilities leads to procrastination too.

In this case, you’re not just insecure, but have deeper confidence issues that prevent you from taking action in the present moment. You don’t even need to imagine the end result and be negative about it (as it happens when you’re afraid to fail). The issue is right here, in your lack of self-esteem.

But there are actionable ways to boost it that will help you be more determined and productive.

9. We focus on the negatives.

At any moment you have a choice.

You can either focus on how much you don’t want to get things done, or you can be aware of the benefits and look forward to feeling accomplished in the end.

So if negativity stops you from working on your important tasks and life goals, then a change in the mindset and your attitude towards life needs to be made.

These are the most common reason why we procrastinate. And if we are honest with ourselves, we can admit we face at least one of these challenges.

Then, we can define the problem more clearly and dig even deeper to see what can be done about it.

I wrote my latest book How to Kill Procrastination One Excuse at a Time because of that.

It’s for the ones who don’t know where to start, the perfectionists and those who secretly fear failure so much that they don’t ever take the first step towards working on an important new project, for those who aren’t motivated enough to start getting things done, for people who have been insecure for too long and don’t have the determination and confidence to simply take action.

It’s for these people. And for me. Because I used to be there – in the procrastination trap. And I managed to get out of it.

I’m now mindful of the excuses I make and am action- and purpose-oriented. And it feels great.

 

So if you feel like this book may be worth your time, check it out here. how to kill procrastination - book

It’s structured in a simple and understandable way and yet gives an in-depth look at every possible situation as to why people procrastinate.

Each chapter defines the problems we just talked about and gives a step-by-step solution.

 

 

So what about you?
Are you ready to do something about becoming your most productive version today?

 

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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from TheWaystoWealth.com

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income