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3 Reasons We Procrastinate (and 9 tips to beat it)

National studies suggest that roughly 15 to 20% of people are procrastinators.

Procrastination is usually not a matter of time management. It is a complex issue

dealing with personality, circumstances and motivation. There are millions of reasons

why people put things off until later. Most of those reasons can be boiled down to a few

root causes. They are fear, lack of desire and skill weakness.

1. Fear

Fear is one of the root causes of procrastination. Fear can take on many forms. A

person may have a fear of failure or fear other people’s opinion of the results, so they

rationalize why they should wait to complete a task. William James said,

“Procrastination is attitude’s natural assassin. There’s nothing so fatiguing as an

uncompleted task.” Procrastination takes tremendous energy and mental strength.

When we put off doing what we know we should be doing we are constantly reminded

it’s not done. Some people even put off making decisions in fear of making the wrong


2. Lack of Desire

When someone places one task over another they are essentially saying this is what is

important to me. We spend our time based on our values. There are 168 hours in a

week how we spend that time defines our priorities. It is human nature to work towards

pleasure and away from pain. Whenever the pain of not getting something done gets to

an unbearable point that is went we make the most effort to complete the task. If we

lack the desire to complete a task or project then we are easily distracted.


“Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” ~



3. Skill Weakness

If your company’s mission is to climb a tree, which would you rather do: Hire a squirrel or

train a horse? Sometimes people are just not capable of getting the job done or they

have not been properly trained.

The Cure

Often the cure for procrastination is in looking at the task or project differently. Most

people don’t think through to the consequences of putting off things until later. Ask what

would be the outcome is I don’t get this done? VS. What would be the benefit if it is

complete? When you complete a task it gives you energy and momentum to do more.

But, if you don’t the list of things to do seems to grow and be overwhelming.

Here are a few strategies from recovering procrastinators:

  • Break down larger projects into small manageable actions.

  • Research shows that evenly paced regular deadlines work better.

  • Determine the pain or consequences of procrastination.

  • Find a planning and organizing system that works for you.

  • Take a class or attend a seminar to sharpen your skills.

  • Change your location or scenery.

  • Embrace imperfection. Strive for excellence instead there is a difference.

  • Hire out nonessentials. This will allow you to focus on what really matters.

  • Schedule down time to recharge and renew.

Tammy Holyfield is the founder of Holyfield International, a business and personal development company. Holyfield International works with business professionals, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, managers, leaders and individuals from all walks of life, teaching skills that are proven, practical and get results. She is also a business and personal coach, professional speaker, author and consultant. For information on organizational solutions or to reach her visit or call 619-431-1345. Follow Tammy on Twitter and Facebook for more insights on business and leadership.

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© 2000-2017 Holyfield International P.O. Box 535 Jamestown, NC 27282


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