Updated January 9, 2023
When it comes to interior design and home projects, homeowners know that there is seemingly no end in sight to the number of repairs, upgrades, and decisions to be made.
From minor repairs to major projects, it's no wonder that a homeowner's to-do list can get long rather quickly, with some of them hanging out on the list for quite a while.
Oftentimes, there's quite a bit of friction between the idea of a project and actually completing it. Money may need to be budgeted and saved first. It may require setting aside time that you would rather spend (or need to spend) doing other things. Not to mention, decision fatigue is a very real thing and sometimes, you're just too burnt out to make another decision.
In this guide, we'll take a look at the main reasons people procrastinate and how to overcome it.
What is procrastination?
Merriam-Webster defines procrastination as the act of intentionally and habitually putting off something that should be done.
Most people recognize procrastination as putting off things that we need to do regardless of the task's difficulty level or time commitment.
Why do people procrastinate?
It doesn't matter how easy or difficult the task is, we have all procrastinated from time to time.
However, when procrastination becomes a habit, and we continually put off necessary tasks and actions, it often comes with negative consequences.
According to studies done on procrastination, 20-25% of adults are considered chronic procrastinators, meaning they have an ongoing, longterm tendency to procrastinate.
Procrastination has been linked to a wide range of things, which may explain why it's such a widespread phenomenon.
Common reasons people procrastinate include:
- Low self-esteem
- Poor impulse control
- Physical illness
Procrastinating offers short term satisfaction but causes more stress in the long term.
Studies show that people who procrastinate have higher stress levels, which further perpetuates the cycle of procrastinating.
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How do you overcome procrastination?
Procrastination is most common in young people, though older age groups are guilty of procrastinating from time to time as well.
The highest percentage of procrastinators fall in the 14- to 29-year-old age group, with studies showing that incidents of procrastination lessening with age.
Most researchers theorize that people procrastinate less the older they get due to:
- Personality development
- Better coping skills
- Improved conscientiousness
- Changes in how you see time/mortality
With that said, procrastination can be overcome and managed properly.
Here are our biggest tips and tricks for overcoming procrastination...
This may sound redundant and easier said than done, but the best way to overcome procrastinating is to just force yourself to take the first step.
Don't continue overanalyzing, and commit yourself to a small amount of effort.
That small effort will likely create enough momentum to keep going until the task is completed.
The first step is often the hardest, so once you begin, the second, third, and subsequent steps are easier to do, and you'll often be astounded at how long you put off something so much easier to complete than you made it out to be.
Break It Down
Because procrastination is often rooted in a feeling of overwhelm, one of the best things you can do to beat it is to break up your task into easy-to-manage pieces.
When something feels like it's too much to do at once, take some of the pressure off by breaking up the task into smaller chunks.
Taking a step-by-step approach to nearly any task makes it easier to accomplish.
Not only does checking off a list bring a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that can be a springboard to finishing the list (and other household tasks), but it also reduces stress and those feelings of overwhelm that can be crippling during house projects.
Similar to breaking down a house project into steps, getting organized and managing your time properly is a great way to limit procrastination.
List out what needs to be done, prioritize them accordingly, and set attainable goals/schedules for yourself.
Limit your distractions when necessary, but also utilize things you like to help yourself enjoy an otherwise monotonous, challenging, or time-consuming task, like your favorite music, podcast, or TV show.
Emotions are a huge factor that can contribute to procrastinating, and managing our negative thoughts about home projects is hugely important to overcoming procrastination.
Try shifting your perspective to looking at a house project as an activity you enjoy or at the very least can appreciate getting done.
After all, your home is your shelter and almost always your greatest financial investment; you should take pride in taking good care of it.
It's a blessing to have a home to care for, and looking at these activities as something that will leave you feeling accomplished rather than resentful makes it easier to take those steps in completing them.
Be Kind to Yourself
One of our biggest tips is to remember that procrastination does not equal laziness, and you shouldn't beat yourself up for getting caught in a procrastination cycle.
Instead of beating yourself up, look more closely at potential causes for why this is something you do and gently correct yourself to stay on track whenever possible.