How to Overcome Psychological & Physical Barriers that Cause Procrastination

Caroline posted this on Running your business


Are you a procrastinator?

If you're really honest with yourself, odds are that you answered "yes" to that question. We all procrastinate from time to time. But if procrastination is keeping you from accomplishing what you need to get done or if it becomes a habit, it's time to take a deeper look.

There are many reasons why people put things off. Some of those reasons have to do with psychological hang-ups they might have about the work. Others have to do with physical challenges that keep us from our work.

Before we can overcome our problems with procrastination, we need to understand what's causing them.

In this post, we'll explore both the psychological and physical barriers that lead to procrastination. We'll also share four tools that can help you beat procrastination.

4 Psychological Barriers to Getting Work Done

Are you having trouble completing your work and you can't quite figure out why? Do you keep putting off things you know that you really should be doing?

If procrastination is a frequent problem that is starting to affect your work, it could be that you are facing some psychological barriers to getting work done. The first step to overcoming any psychological barriers that may be hampering your work is to recognize them.

Here are four common barriers:

  1. Fear. Fear can be a powerful demotivator. In fact, fear can paralyze us. And there are lots of different ways that we can be afraid. We can be afraid of failure, rejection, or even success. If we're afraid of something, we're usually in no hurry to face it.
  2. Boredom. It seems counter-intuitive, but being bored can actually cause procrastination. It's human nature to put off doing work that we find dull or uninteresting. If your project work no longer challenges or interests you, you may put it behind more fascinating tasks.
  3. Resentment. Sometimes subconscious self-sabotage is the culprit behind our procrastination. Maybe we didn't charge enough. Or, maybe we don't like the client. You might not even be aware of this cause of procrastination.
  4. Lack of confidence. If we secretly think that we can't do something, it's only natural to dread it. Many freelancers struggle with a lack of confidence. They put off work because they don't believe that they are good at doing it.

Discovering your psychological barriers to your work involves some serious self-examination. Once you understand what barriers are keeping you from your work, you can take steps to overcome them. Of course, psychological barriers are not the only things that keep us from getting our work done.

4 Physical Barriers to Getting Work Done

Sometimes there are physical problems that contribute to procrastination. A physical barrier to work typically comes from something (or someone) around you. Here are just a few common physical problems that can cause procrastination:

  1. Not enough information. We may be ready and willing to work. However, if we don't understand what we are supposed to do, we won't make much progress. Fortunately, Osmosis can help freelancers get the information they need to stay on track.
  2. Not organized. Many freelancers are disorganized. They might not manage their time well, or their physical workspace may be so unorganized that it actually makes them less efficient at getting their work done. Staying organized can help you to become more efficient.
  3. Lack tools. Occasionally, a freelancer takes on a project and later finds out that they don't really have the right tools to do it. Having the wrong tools (or not having the right ones) can significantly slow you down. Make sure to ask about what tools you need when you commit to a project.
  4. Poor work environment. A poor work environment can also be the cause of procrastination. If you need quiet and your workspace is noisy, it will affect your productivity. An uncomfortable desk or chair can also cause you to procrastinate. Know what type of work environment is most conducive to your productivity.

Fortunately, physical barriers can often be overcome by using the right productivity tools.

4 Productivity Tools to Help You Beat Procrastination

Productivity Tools

There are lots of tools out there to help you beat procrastination. Here are four types of tools that you might want to consider using:

  1. To Do List Apps. Most of us keep lists of what we have to do somewhere. The question is, where are your lists? Do you put post-it notes all over your PC as reminders? Do you have one list in one location and another somewhere else? Worse yet, are you using your email inbox as a To Do list? With To Do List apps, there's a better way. Two of the best apps for centralizing your lists are Remember the Milk and Evernote. Remember the Milk is free. Evernote also has a free account available.
  2. Time Management Apps. Does your time get away from you? Do you need help trying to fit everything in? There are apps for that. A time management app can help you schedule your work and other tasks to make sure that they really get done. Try SmartTime! and Google Calendar. SmartTime! is a relatively low cost iPhone app. Google Calendar is free through Google.
  3. Information Gathering. Not having all the information is a common problem when you're trying to get work done. Of course, you can send out lots of individual emails with your questions, but you might not get your answers when you need them. Osmosis lets you gather all of your information at once, before you start the project. There is a free trial available.
  4. File Management. What if your computer crashed and took your latest project with it? Or maybe you find yourself needing to access your files while you're away from your home office? With Dropbox. store your files in the cloud and you'll always be able to find the files you need. Dropbox also has a free version available.

How Do You Fight Procrastination?

Share your favorite tools and tips for winning against procrastination.

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