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9 Reasons Why People Procrastinate

Do you ever wonder why you are procrastinating? You look around and tell yourself you have time or its not that hard of task but then you get stuck, pushing off the activity or task to another day. Many people procrastinate and become immobilized when they feel anxious or depressed. They are often puzzled why they delay doing things as they have time but not the will. This article will bring understanding and hopefully help to start unleashing people’s full potential for productivity and creativity.


When you think about motivation or productive action which comes first? Most of the time people will answer motivation. Unfortunately, that is not the right answer. Procrastinators will tell themselves that they do not feel like it or I’ll wait till I’m in the mood. The problem is if you wait until you feel like it you might wait forever. People who are successful know that motivation does not come first. You have to get started whether you feel like it or not. The wonderful thing is, once you begin to accomplish something it will cause you to do move. Often our thoughts get in the way but once we start something it is far less horrible than imagined and you feel like doing more of it.

Summary: The more you do, the more you’ll feel like doing! But doing something always comes first!

Unrealistic view of Success

People who procrastinate often have an unrealistic view of how a successful person really functions. They assume a successful person always feels confident and easily achieves their goals without frustration, self-doubt, and failure. Achieving personal goals is stressful and there are often numerous obstacles and setbacks. Productive people assume that life will be frustrating and there will be rejections along the way, and they develop coping skills to deal with it and they persist in their goals.


Often, we think that people who procrastinate are lazy or irresponsible but, the problem is the opposite, success is extremely important to you. So risking failure is too great and therefore doing nothing at all is a way to avoid potential failure.

Lack of Affirmation

When we feel excitement and satisfaction in the work we do, it prompts us to do more. But if nothing you do is ever good enough; life will become exhausting and lack joy. People who are successful give themselves credit for what they do and because they think positively about their work, they feel excited. Procrastinators sometimes do the opposite by discounting the work they do. They tell themselves their effort was not good enough, or it did not count, or it wasn’t very special. Then at the end of the day, they feel drained and nothing that was accomplished feels worthwhile.


Procrastinators will tell themselves they should do something, or they ought to get started. What these should statements do is to cause feelings of guilt and resentfulness. Then they avoid the task to stop those feelings. This will probably the hardest concept to grasp because it might feel like there are things you really should do. There are only three valid uses for the word should. The first is the “moral should”, which regulates you to stay within your belief system. The second is the “legal should”: which is designed to help you stay within the parameters of the law. Finally, there is the “law of the universe should”. These are things that happen because of the forces of nature. An example is that if you drop something it should fall because of gravity. Asking yourself if your shoulds fall in these categories will help you break out of this trap. Changing the comment from I should clean my house to it would be beneficial for me to clean my house will minimize the guilty feelings.

Passive aggressive

Procrastinators are often afraid of negative feelings being expressed. Avoiding conflicts and denying that something upset you is the way to keep the peace, but those feelings come out indirectly. You might forget to return an RSVP to a party because you really didn’t want to go; you might be late for appointments with your boss because you’re annoyed with him; or forget to take out the trash because you’re annoyed that your spouse has been nagging you about it. Pushing your negative emotions out of your mind by saying “I just forgot” helps by denying your negative emotions. You can explore this by asking yourself if someone around you is annoyed with your procrastination. If so, ask yourself if you feel upset or annoyed with them.


People sometimes procrastinate because they are unassertive and agree to do things they don’t want to do. This could be because you feel you need to say yes to avoid disappointing them, or you’re worried about what people will think of you. After agreeing to do something, you put it off and get anxious about it every time you think about doing it. Basically, your procrastination is a way of being on strike. Double checking your boundaries to make sure they are healthy and learning to say no will help curb this type of procrastination.


Procrastinators sometimes feel the people around them are being controlling or making unreasonable demands on them. Stubbornness kicks in and procrastinating is a way of rebelling. Other people often find this annoying and will become even more controlling which leads to a power struggle as neither side wants to give in. Procrastination is an indirect way of expressing your annoyance and demonstrating that they can’t control you.

Lack of desire

The last cause of procrastination is simply because you don’t want to do whatever it is you are putting off. When it comes time to do the task instead of admitting to yourself that you don’t want to, you make a conscious choice not to, acting as if the whole process is mysterious. Blaming procrastination instead of acknowledging the real reason that you don’t like doing the task.

Understanding your procrastination will open new possibilities of ways to overcome it. If you are struggling to understand and find new ways to deal with your procrastination, we are here to help.


Registered Psychotherapist

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