Who wants to clean the oven?  Do filing?  Organize their wardrobe or desk space?

Most of us tend to procrastinate from doing unpleasant, boring, difficult and challenging tasks, and tasks that we perceive as meaningless.

However, we sometimes also procrastinate with tasks that we would enjoy doing – such as planning for a holiday abroad or reading the latest books or articles on a subject that really interests us.  Why is this?

Research suggests that if we perceive a certain task to take too much time or effort to do, we tend to put it off.  We tend to carry out easier tasks that require less effort and time and in which we can feel ‘a sense of achievement and accomplishment’ quite quickly.

Still, there are tasks that need to be done, otherwise problems will ensue – decisions won’t be made, our health may be overlooked, or important goals may not be achieved.  Plus, when we procrastinate, we often experience unpleasant emotions such as guilt, anxiety, fear and overwhelm, eventually leading to despair.

What should we do?

If you are procrastinating identify the reason

Is the task difficult and challenging?

If so, identify who could help or support you.

Break the task down into bite size chunks and take one step at a time.

Remember to acknowledge your progress along the way

Is the task boring?

Break it down into bite size chunks that won’t take up too much of your time each day (schedule 10 minutes a day)  but will nevertheless ensure that the task will be done in due course.

Is the task unpleasant but necessary?

Some tasks relating to keeping our bodies healthy may be unpleasant (health screening for example) but essential for our well-being.  Focus on the benefits to you and to others.

Schedule in something pleasant and enjoyable to do afterwards (a delicious treat and coffee at your favourite café!).

Is the task meaningless?

Establish if the task needs to be done

Can you attribute any meaning to the task for you, or for others?