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Top 5 Excuses Procrastinators Tell Themselves

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Procrastination Excuses

Whenever you’re procrastinating, you’re having a dialog with yourself where you masterfully rationalize why it’s okay to not do things. You’ll come up with any excuse to procrastinate and if you know you procrastinate a lot – I’ve compiled the top 5 excuses you’re most likely telling yourself (and what you can do about it).

1. “I’ll do it tomorrow”

This is probably the one you say all the time: I’ll do it tomorrow. Today you say I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow you’ll say that you’ll do it the next day. And the snowball effect is in full force.

The first time you say this you might feel a little bit of guilt, but each time you post-pone it, that guilt lessens up to the point you become numb to it. Once you have passed the initial “procrastination tipping point”, it’s hard to reverse it.

2. “Right now is not the right time”

This is similar to the previous one. Just another way of saying it.

3. “I need to be in the mood. I’m not.”

I used to say this one all the time. It’s one I see a lot of people say this one who have flexible schedules and are their own boss. Think solo entrepreneurs, contractors, freelancers and consultants. When you have no one to report to or there is no one to hold you accountable, it’s easy to fall for this excuse (I sure did for years).

4. “I need more information”

We are really good at believing our own BS and we can rationalize anything to make us feel good. Saying something like “I need more information” is procrastinator-talk for “I know I need to do this but I’ll find any lame excuse to justify not doing this”.

5. “I don’t know how to do it”

How bad do you want it? When you’re motivated to achieve something, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to do it. You’ll figure it out.

But if you say to yourself “I don’t know how to do it” you simply don’t want to bad enough. That’s usually the case when you get assigned something that has no interest to you. However, if you’re a business owner, this excuse should never come up. Ever. It’s a red flag that you don’t want it bad enough.

So what can you do about this?

The hardest part of overcoming procrastination is getting started. Once you get started, procrastination will usually go away. It’s just that these excuses are holding you back from getting started.

Sometimes you’ll need to apply a couple mind tricks to trick yourself. That’s why techniques such as the envision film and solar flaring are so effective – they combine all the effective strategies in one technique.

Whenever you’re catching yourself saying one of these excuses, use one of these techniques. We have a lot more in the AE Primer to help you overcome procrastination.

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4 Comments

Posted by mat  | October 22, 2013 at 5:08AM | Reply

Yeah, am there constantly- I would say anyone visiting Your site is, too (otherwise, they’d just be efficient already, not seeking for improvement?)…
worst of all, this one applies and greatly inhibits task managers as well! People complain about their task lists becoming too complex- a good sign that you’re more on the planning than the actual doing side… Numbness here becomes vicious: You just planned out all the things to do, the structure is there and —-then? Pressure becomes bigger until the first deadline flies, from there it’s just two or three steps away from having a useless list telling You what You would have done if You acted on it… hello, bad conscience…. the pivotal point remains the same: the most important part of any planning is acting out on it… As much as Omni would like to build this part in the program, it will remain in our own responsibility…

Posted by Thanh Pham  | October 23, 2013 at 1:16PM

Humans are always the weakest link in any system.

Posted by Jan  | October 20, 2013 at 6:55AM | Reply

That’s exactly my case :) In the morning, I say to myself “I’ll do it after lunch”. But after lunch, I’m usually a bit tired, so I have a nap and then I’m not in the mood to do anything, so I watch motivational speeches on youtube and then I say “well, it’s not really a top priority, I’ll do it tomorrow” :)

Posted by Thanh Pham  | October 21, 2013 at 12:31PM

Time to do something about it! :)

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