The following description was taken from a paragraph in Wikipedia on this topic:
"Procrastination may result in stress, a sense of guilt and crisis, severe loss of personal productivity, as well as social disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or commitments. These feelings combined may promote further procrastination. While it is regarded as normal for people to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning. Chronic procrastination may be a sign of an underlying psychological disorder. Such procrastinators may have difficulty seeking support due to social stigma, and the belief that task-aversion is caused by laziness, low willpower or low ambition."
Whew! That was a mouthful! I believe if something you need to do is fun, stimulating, exciting, interesting, you are more likely to do it. However, many things we should and must do don't fall into any of those categories so we don't feel/want/care to do them. This can cause problems with yourself (guilt, what's wrong with me, am I lazy...). It can also cause problems in your relationships with your family, friends, employer, anyone who may be touched by the consequences of what ever you are putting off.
So how do I get off the procrastination train?
You have to find something interesting/fun/simple about the task you are putting off, and/or realize there may be serious ramifications if delayed. There are many jobs we must do to keep our lives in order, so it's an obligation to ourselves to find some way to do and complete these items. Once you finish a task, you will feel so much better, stress will be gone, you'll be proud of yourself, and you can now move on to other things.
1. Realize you are delaying something unnecessarily.
2. Discover the real reasons for your delay. List them.
3. Dispute those real reasons and overcome them. Be vigorous.
4. Begin the task.
When I do physical tasks that don't require intense concentration, I will put on some great music. This is wonderful as a motivator and cheers my spirit. Also, I enjoy coffee and will make some when doing paperwork, computer work, etc. Treat yourself well, and think of things that will encourage you to push along.
I have found when clients are deterred from what they really need to do, that the way they look at those pending projects is several different ways:
Q: Where do I start? If a room or area is in serious disarray, they just don't know where to start so they walk away.
A: Don't look at the entire area as something to tackle all at once. Start in one area and work your way around the room one item/pile at a time. Avoid zig-zagging so you know where you've been, and where you need to continue.
Q: It will take too much time. How can I possibly get it all done?
A: Take it one step at a time. If you start right now, you can make headway rather than do nothing and get further behind that you already are. We live in a busy world, so even if it's just 5 minutes a day, that's 5 minutes towards completion! Schedule time with yourself, just like you do any other appointments. The secret is to keep these appointments without any excuses to avoid falling into the same old habits.
Q: I hate to work alone, so why can't someone join me?
A: Great idea! If you have a trusted friend or family member that is willing to accommodate your, by all means invite them to join you. It can be fun and go much faster that way.
Q: I'm afraid I do something wrong, so now what?
A: Fear is not a productive, positive way to think. We can control what we think, so practice positive thinking instead of fear-based thinking. Eventually you will find life is better and fear (which is just a bad feeling anyway) isn't worth the time and energy.
There are many online resources you can research to get the answers to understand and conquer your procrastination issues. We all procrastinate a little, so give yourself a break, and start a new trend of accomplishments!