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I love pre-Christmas coaching sessions. They are usually focused on reflecting and setting plans for the future. It is a perfect time to draw the line on the sand, acknowledge what has worked and what hasn’t and to focus on the amazing challenges the year ahead holds for you and your business.

Late December and early January is time for resolutions. Both personal and Business-related. Business resolutions very often have something to do with productivity at work. Mainly about how we can increase it, without actually having to work longer hours.

Sadly, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February and some of it – or a lot of it – has to do with procrastination.

How many times have you begun your week full of good intentions, swearing you won’t let yourself be distracted and that you’ll get things done? Only to find that you’re spending time on Facebook again, or checking your emails and not ticking off things on your list.

Great entrepreneurs are the testament to the fact that procrastination can be dealt with effectively. But in order to deal with procrastination, it will be useful to summarise the reasons for procrastination first.

80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February

Reasons of procrastination

Below are some of the most popular reasons for procrastination.

1. We want instant gratification

Having a nice nap in the couch may seem a lot more fun than going out running in the cold. Sipping on your coffee and staring out of the window is easier than working on that boring report. Checking your mail or Facebook gives you a quicker result than finishing the project that takes hours of work.

2. We’re afraid

Maybe you’re postponing your work because there’s a problem or question that hasn’t been solved yet. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll fail or look stupid. Sometimes it’s easier to do something easy and save the real work for later. That way, you don’t get confronted with possibly negative results.

3. We get paralysed by perfectionism.

If you like things to be done really well it’s probably going to take a lot of work. Just thinking about the work your project will take, you could easily get slightly stressed. In fact, it can make you so stressed that you never get started. You’d rather dream about the result than have to face the possibility of not having a great result.

4. We’re not children anymore

When we were in school, there was a teacher breathing in our necks that chided us for not doing our work. In some work environments, the same applies. Under external pressure, however unpleasant, you do have the tendency to get work done. As an independent adult, you’re supposed to be doing this by yourself – unless you have a life coach or mentor which sadly many of us don’t.

5. We overestimate our future self

We often postpone things because we think we’ll get them done in some bright future where you’re more productive than ever and work is effortless. Sadly, reality tends to be a bit grimmer. If you’re not working on it right now, in your bright future you’ll be the same procrastinator you are today. Why would anything have changed?

6. We want to do too much

We all know the phenomenon: you get so sick of procrastinating that you swear it’s going to change this time. The first thing you do works, so you get hungry and try to fix everything at once. Soon, you’re so swamped in things to do for the sake of time management that you’re more stressed than before. Exhausted, you give up and fall back into the same old routine.

7. Secondary gain at play

Less obvious reason on this list but probably one of the most important ones to address. Secondary gain is often driven by sub-conscious values and beliefs. We can speak of secondary gain when you stop short of asking for that desired promotion for no apparent reason. The less apparent reason might be your desire to spend more time with your family. Not willing to give up on your work-life balance, you will end up self-sabotaging your efforts.

What reasons sound familiar to you?

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