Avoiding Tasks Decreases Your Productivity

So, in a recent issue of Pondering Productivity I shared with you that I needed to return or drop off items at 19 different stores. All of this was a result of back-to-school shopping combined with donations and stopping at the consignment store that resulted from all of the closet cleaning. I shared with you how “Chunking” similar tasks together made the entire process easier.

I also mentioned that there was another issue at play here… avoidance. Why was I avoiding this task?

Truth be told, making returns and running errands is just something I don’t like doing and so I was avoiding it. Why do you avoid things? Why can’t you buckle down and get the job done? It doesn’t matter if it’s making returns, responding to that detailed email, working on the project that your boss assigned you, or processing paperwork for the 27th time today.

Avoidance, also known as procrastination, is a major cause of our inability to get our work done and happens for a number of reasons:

  • False beliefs – people think that they work better under pressure
  • Fear of failure – we would rather be seen as lacking in effort than skills
  • Perfectionism – insecure feelings of not being perfect
  • Self-control – impulsive, unable to prioritize
  • Punitive parenting – fear of criticism or rebellion
  • Thrill-seeking – enjoy the adrenaline rush
  • Task-related anxieties – avoiding the difficult or boring
  • Unclear expectations – vague priorities or directions
  • Depression – getting started is difficult and pointless

psychology_todayWhich one of these reasons for procrastinating is getting in your way to conquer the tasks before you? You can learn more from the article, Stand and Deliver in Psychology Today.

Don’t you find it ironic that when you finish a task that you’ve been avoiding, you generally think, “That wasn’t so bad after all”? That was certainly the case as I ran all of those errands. It turned out to be a beautiful day, I got a lot of walking in so it was good exercise, I ran into a friend and chatted for a few minutes, and there’s money back on my credit card! That “not so bad” feeling has also happened when I avoid projects at work – I always wish I had started them earlier. Let’s get started!