Have you ever felt like cleaning up your office desk although your to-do-list only seemed to be getting longer? We all have. Procrastination is known to everyone and studies show it is a complex phenomenon.

While your boss might think you have a time management issue, research shows that procrastination comes from a difficulty to manage the negative emotions associated to a task – such as boredom, anxiety, frustration or low self-esteem. In short, procrastination is about emotions, not productivity.

Indeed, your brain is programmed to remove any type of threat in the present moment. When you are faced with a task that arises negative emotions – anxiousness or insecurity for example – the “threat detector” part of your brain sees this task as an absolute danger, in this case to your well-being. Even though your rational side acknowledges that putting off the task will create more stress in the future, your brain is still more concerned with removing the threat in the “now”.

There are simple tactics that should help you resist the temptation of procrastinating. Try to reframe the task by considering a positive aspect of it (i.e. the benefits it will bring once finished) or focus on the next step to be completed if you were to finish the task – get started, and your motivation will follow!

So, next time you feel like procrastinating, try thinking ahead into the future rather than prioritizing short-term needs.

Interested in learning more about procrastination? Click here !

 We are the sports practice of global advisory firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe. We provide strategy and communication advice for sports clients around the world. For more information: www.bcw-sport.com