Over on the Harvard Business Review, Heidi Grant Halvorson shares the thee reasons you find yourself unwilling to finish a project, make an important decision, or hit the gym. Fortunately she also gives us solutions for overcoming whatever’s holding you back. Halvorson writes:
The good news (and its very good news) is that you can get better about not putting things off, if you use the right strategy. Figuring out which strategy to use depends on why you are procrastinating in the first place.
Reason #1 — You are putting something off because you are afraid you will screw it up. Solution: Adopt a “prevention focus.” What you need is a way of looking at what you need to do that isn’t undermined by doubt – ideally, one that thrives on it. When you have a prevention focus, instead of thinking about how you can end up better off, you see the task as a way to hang on to what you’ve already got – to avoid loss.
Reason #2 — You are putting something off because you don’t “feel” like doing it. Solution: Make like Spock and ignore your feelings. They’re getting in your way. Somewhere along the way, we’ve all bought into the idea – without consciously realizing it – that to be motivated and effective we need to feel like we want to take action. We need to be eager to do so. I really don’t know why we believe this, because it is 100 percent nonsense.
Get all three reasons for procrastination, and solutions for each, from Harvard Business Review.