Understanding Why We Procrastinate

A woman holding a woven basket with a cactus and a bookshelf filled with home decor accessories.

Who do you know that always procrastinates?

While, sitting on the patio, sunning myself like a lobster in the warm sunshine, I started thinking about procrastination.

  • Why do people procrastinate?

  • Who do I know that always procrastinates?

  • When is it good to procrastinate?

  • When is it really bad to procrastinate?

  • What kinds of things do you put off doing?

  • How do you feel when other people put off something you want done soon?

  • Who is the most patient person you know?

...and then it struck me!

There’s a good chance, you didn’t know that I’m a tad-bit of a procrastinator myself *gasp!*

I know, it’s hard to fathom, that even as a professional organizer + interior designer, I too am Guilty. As. Charged.

Honestly girl, what can I say?

I’m a mother, a wife + a business owner (with a passion for helping people create a home that you never want to leave.) But truth be told, I’m also a woman with beautifully imperfect flaws.

And, I’m ok with that.

So, the question is, how do I juggle it all + fight (my internal dialogue) of “Oh, you’ll get to it later, Sherri?


A clock tossed on pillows, blankets and a bed comforter.

Procrastination | Pro·cras·ti·na·tion | is the action of delaying or postponing something

Yep.. that sounds about right!

In fact did you know that 95 % of us procrastinate to some degree? So stop beating yourself up + feeling guilty.

Ultimately, procrastination is a trap that nearly everyone of us falls into + while it’s comforting to know we’re not alone, the bigger question is…why do we do it?

According to our clients + the 100’s of women we’ve worked with over the past decade, Avoidance + Extreme Perfectionism are 2 of the major triggers that lead us down the procrastination rabbit hole.


AVOIDANCE

As humans when something’s boring, or takes too much time to complete, we tend to avoid it all together or find something else to do instead.

While I don’t know what it looks like for you, but in my world avoidance always seems to manifests itself in the form of laundry.

And it looks a lil’ somethin’ like this …

The washer beeps as it finishes the spin cycle + I’m in the middle of re-watching the second season of Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce (yes, I’m currently obsessing!)

I think to myself… Seriously! Right now?! When Abby + Jake are about to have a moment!

At this point, I could either pause my current Netflix binge to flip the laundry + fold clothes, checking it off my to-do list or put it off until later.

After all, a little over indulgence every once in awhile is a good thing...right?!

So, instead of doing what any responsible adult would do in this situation, I shrug my shoulders + say ‘eh... it can wait.’ Curl back up, with bowl of buttery popcorn + nestle even deeper into the sofa pillows.

Long story short,  the seemingly endless stream of dirty laundry, never gets flipped + I end up spending twice as long doing what should’ve been an easy (+ relatively non-time consuming) task.

...Because now I need to re-wash EVERYTHING!!

Fingers crossed this time it makes it into the dryer + onto my folding table to be put away.

When we take a step back, it’s easy to see that procrastination is an active process of poor decision making + the  cycle of avoidance continues to play-out (over + over again) in our lives until eventually we’ve had enough.

We’ve reached our breaking point + we’re left feeling overwhelmed.

EXTREME PERFECTIONISM

Surprisingly, perfectionists are often procrastinators too.

If we don’t know how-to do something or feel that we don’t have the skills to do it, instead of doing it imperfectly, we avoid doing it all together.

Raise your hand if you fall into this bucket!

I’m right there with ya!


A nightstand or end-table with books, lipstick and a small cactus.

HOW TO OVERCOME IT

While there are a ba-jillion reasons why we procrastinate + avoid doing the things we know we should be doing, I’ve narrowed down the top clutter excuses + some of the most common reasons we procrastinate around the house.


Don’t have the energy to (insert your to-do)

When we lack energy or enthusiasm in checking something off of our to-do list, we usually don’t know where to begin + this my friend, is the catalyst that keeps us from getting going.


Everything feels out of our control:

When things feel like they’re too big to take on all at once (looking at my toddler who is literally destroying my organized pantry + kitchen cabinet right now) we need to focus in on bite sized phases. Like organizing your closet.


We don't have a system in place:

When we don’t have a system in place to keep the clutter at bay, we need to ask ourselves, what would make it easier for us to routinely do (insert task we’re currently procrastinating on) without a lot of extra effort?

“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.”
— David Allen

A dog laying on a throw pillow on the floor.

WHAT TO DO THE NEXT TIME YOU’RE FACED WITH THE FEELING OF “UGH, I’LL GET TO IT LATER”

Like most habits, we can overcome the obstacle of procrastination.

From experience, it’s the habit of de-prioritizing tasks that generally leads us down a path that leaves us feeling guilt, embarrassment + a whole lot of other negative emotions.

In our house, John’s in charge of cleaning up the kitchen after dinner + let me tell you...

Scrubbing pans + loading the dishwasher is anything but exciting but truth be told, nothing motivates him more to get it done before sitting down to relax like the thought of stumbling downstairs tomorrow morning only to discover a sink full of dirty dishes *UGH!*

Simply put he’s motivated by the thought of putting himself through the 3:45a.m. gut-check (look how kind he is to his future self.. you go pal!)

Ladies, wouldn’t you rather...

  • be checking things on your to-do list off (instead of staying stuck in the crazy cycle?)

  • learn by doing instead of feeling paralyzed by extreme perfectionism?

  • start doing something that moves you closer towards a feel-good-goal?

Procrastination is the seed of self destruction + it has robbed us of too many opportunities.

Now, go on.

Give yourself a Tony Robbins-style pep talk + start doing.

Be. Decisive.

Experience the wave of in-the-moment-accomplishment that washes over you + don’t let your future self feel the emotional repercussions of procrastination.

— Sherri

P.S. even though you’re a complete badass woman, when you’re bitten by the procrastination bug... start again! The next time you find yourself saying” Ugh...I’ll get to it later.” Remind yourself of why clutter causes stress + all the icky feelings that come along with putting it off until later + then... Be. Decisive.


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