While posting an installment of OrganizeU that focuses on the benefits of leveraging effective time management, the issue of procrastination came to mind. Before introducing strategies to overcome procrastination, I thought it may be helpful to delve into reasons people tend to procrastinate. If you are a person who is prone to procrastination, your first step on the road to improvement should include taking time to think about the underlying causes of your procrastination habit.
Are You Doing What You Love?
The most straightforward reason people put off doing a task is because they simply don’t look forward to the process of completing the task. While the thought of doing what you love may sound cliche, and perhaps unattainable, level of interest and motivation directly impact productivity. Having a genuine interest in an activity naturally reduces the likelihood of losing focus and becoming distracted. But how does this translate to mundane daily tasks and the unfulfilling jobs many of us are required to work to make ends meet?
To the person who is working an unfulfilling job, I would suggest that ideally the motivating factor each workday should be to take a step toward a more fulfilling career path. You may not be able to change careers overnight; however, you can use your current occupation to hone your skills, figure out exactly what you would like to do, and at the very least, discover what you are completely opposed to doing as a long-term career.
Dealing with the monotony of daily tasks such as chores inside the home is much easier. Those who can afford to outsource household chores and errands absolutely should if doing so would improve their overall quality of life; time is priceless; therefore, the money spent will be worth it. The on-demand economy has created more opportunities than ever for everyday people to affordably outsource the most basic tasks. More and more households are not only hiring cleaners, but also professional organizers, laundry services, and even food shopping services to help keep their homes running efficiently each week.
Those who are unable to outsource their most dreaded tasks may break up the monotony in more creative ways. Arranging to complete tasks such as grocery shopping or doing laundry in a more communal setting may make the time seem to pass more quickly and also make the activity more enjoyable. For example, scheduling a weekly grocery shopping trip with a friend or family member may make standing in long lines and perusing the aisles of the grocery store a more social experience and, therefore, more enjoyable. Traveling to a laundromat with a friend or inviting a friend over to fold laundry together can also serve as an opportunity for two or more busy people to connect and catch up while remaining productive. In most ancient cultures, chores were performed with other members of the community. Nowadays, humans in industrialized societies are more isolated than ever. A large contributor to the isolation many modern adults experience is the change in which we complete household tasks and chores. Returning to our communal roots may effectively help combat the loneliness and anxiety many adults experience in addition to reducing procrastination.
Are You Afraid of the Outcome?
One of the most common reasons for procrastinating is fear of the direct outcome of taking action. As a home organizer in New York City, I have encountered procrastination that is fueled by fear of outcome in multiple different situations. Moving out of an apartment or selling a home may feel like leaving behind cherished memories. Therefore an individual in this situation may subconsciously dread packing for the move. Clearing out the home of a deceased parent is often very uncomfortable for the surviving children. In these cases, hiring a compassionate professional organizer to help sort through the household items and a packing company to help with packing and removal is highly advisable. In much simpler cases, some people are reluctant to get organized because they fear not being able to maintain their new organized space, no longer being able to find everything they need in their space, or they simply feel too embarrassed to show their clutter to another person. In these cases, I recommend the individual consider the numerous benefits of having a more organized home or office and carefully choose a compatible and understanding professional organizer with whom to work.
Do You Simply Need to “Grow Up?”
And now it’s time for the tough love section of the program. Sometimes we procrastinate because we do not establish mature boundaries for ourselves. In some cases you may need to tell yourself no. This often occurs when deciding to allocate time to completing an essential, yet unpleasant or mundane task. One of the best implications of adulthood is the notion that we can do what we want whenever we want once we are living under our own roof. However, with that living arrangement comes responsibility. No longer having a live-in authority figure to whom we must answer means it is up to us to establish healthy boundaries and to implement structure that will lead to balanced, productive, healthy living. Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone.
Bring In the Professionals
If you struggle with maintaining an organized space due to procrastination, a professional organizer can help. If your procrastination has led to a chronic issue with time management, a productivity coach can help. I happen to be both. For more information on how working with a professional can help you achieve the balanced, organized lifestyle you desire, check out related topics in our blog, or contact us to learn more about our services.