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Procrastination: Why We Put Things Off

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We’re all guilty of procrastinating from time to time.  When it comes to decluttering, organizing, cleaning, and making our homes work, why do we so often put things off? 

Let’s zoom in on the sources of procrastination.  I want you to picture that room or task—you know the one I’m talking about.  Now what kind of thoughts pop into your head?

#1 It’s boring

Does tackling that project seem boring–like you’ve got a million other things you’d rather be doing?  That’s what comes to mind when I think about filing. 

I hate filing!  Shuffling through paper, finding the right file folder, sticking it in, repeating endlessly—boring!  I can definitely think of at least 10 things I’d rather do.

#2 It’s going to take forever

Maybe you just get overwhelmed by the whole thing.  An unfortunate side effect of procrastination is that the problem tends to get worse the longer you ignore it. 

So every time you peek into that closet or look at that pile of laundry, it just seems to grow.  After a while, it feels like it will be impossible to ever do it.

Feeling overwhelmed can actually stem from several different sources.  One of these is that it feels like that task is going to take forever. 

I tend to feel this way about washing dishes.  It’s so easy for me to leave the dishes one night because, “it’s not that much—I’ll just do it tomorrow.”  But then the pile grows the next day, and pretty soon the whole thing looks like too much.  I dread it because it will take soooooo long.

Unwashed dishes

#3 I don’t know where to start

Another reason for feeling overwhelmed is that you may not really know where to start or how to do it. 

When I work on sorting through piles, this kicks in.  I whine, I fuss, I shuffle things around.  I get stuck because I don’t really know how to get started or what to do with my stuff.

#4 I don’t know what to do

Finally, sometimes you get overwhelmed because your “system” is broken.  When something doesn’t work very well, it can be exhausting! 

Imagine if you we’re trying to mow the lawn with a pair of scissors.  That would feel overwhelming because the “system” is terribly inefficient.

#5 I suck at this

Maybe you think, “I’m just no good at this!”  That is totally how I feel about keeping things tidy!  It’s like I was born without the “neatness” gene. 

When I was a kid it seemed like I was the only one in my extremely neat family who had a disastrous room!  It’s easy to fall into the habit of using this as an excuse for not taking action or learning new skills.

#6 I’m afraid to fail

Maybe the feeling that comes to your mind is fear.  This may seem like a strange reaction, but sometimes we put things off because we actually fear what will happen if we do it. 

I have fallen into this trap when it comes to craft supplies and projects.  In my heart of hearts, I’m not really a crafty person, but I somehow equate craftiness with being a good homeschool mom.  I’m not sure why, because my kids definitely do not like to do crafts! 

But I get kind of edgy when I think about downsizing our stash of craft supplies.  I’m afraid that if I ditch all the craft supplies, I’ll somehow be a terrible homeschool mom.

#7 I’m afraid to let go

Another possible fear is letting go (or wasting money).  Sometimes you just have to admit that you are never going to do that project.  Or maybe it just doesn’t need to be done anymore. 

I started making a quilt years ago.  I spent a lot of time piecing it all and spent money on fabric and quilting equipment.  But then I never finished it.  It sat around my house for more than 15 years! 

I finally decided that I simply don’t want to finish it because I don’t have a use for it anymore.  It has taken up valuable space and made me feel guilty for way too long.  So I found a place to donate it where it can finally be finished.

Procrastination: Why We Put Things Off

Can you relate to any of these feelings when it comes to procrastination? Take a look at these posts for some strategies for overcoming procrastination:

It’s boring

It’s going to take too long

I don’t know where to start

I don’t know what to do

I suck at this

How do I let go of the past?

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