Why Do I Procrastinate?


procrastinateEver wonder why, if the results of procrastination are so unpleasant, you do it anyway?

Because, for a lot of us, procrastination becomes a way of coping with the emotions and physical symptoms that accompany depression. Like any form of escape, it may bring some temporary relief, but eventually compounds our misery later.

Do you fall into one of these categories of procrastinators?

• The act of organizing your thoughts and actions and staying on track with plans is difficult. (People with ADD/ADHD often fall into this category.)
• Your tasks seem overwhelming so it’s futile to even try.
• Hostile feelings towards someone cause you to want to punish them by putting things off.
• Routine and schedule causes you to feel rebellious.
• You fear disapproval.

According to some studies, these procrastination styles can overlap in one of four themes:

Self-Doubt – These people feel there are rigid standards about how thing ought to be done and they fear they will fail. They second-guess themselves and delay taking action.

Discomfort Dodging – This person avoids activities that will cause them distress, discomfort or anxiety. Rather ironically, the act of dodging the activity doesn’t make it go away so tensions mount because of this avoidance.

Guilt-Driven – The person feels guilt over tasks undone, but rather than correct the original lack of action, continues to procrastinate in order to not face up to the guilt feelings.

Habitual – The person has procrastinated so many times, it becomes an ingrained response. The person no longer thinks about why they do it, they feel it’s just a part of them. It becomes an automatic response to say, “This is too hard”, “I’m too tired”, or to laugh it off as a character flaw.

Once you recognize your style of procrastination, you can take steps to stop it.

Time Management Tips to Beat Procrastination:

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to get organized. Make lists, take a class in organization, or purchase an organizer. Do whatever works for you. One word of advice: follow the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid). If your organization system is too complicated, it will become just another task to avoid. Here are some helpful tips to get you organized:

• Make a list of what needs to be done. This can be listed in no particular order and will give you a handle on just what you need to accomplish.

• Prioritize these. One way of doing this is by deadlines. Arrange them in order of when they are due. You may also choose to rank them by how important it is to get them done. For example, paying your bills on time may be more important to you than cleaning out your closets. Do that first.

• Get yourself a calendar with room to write notes in. A bound notebook works great – you can write in dates as you go. Make pages with dates for long-term planning and also keep a separate list that you transfer your short-term goals to.

• Take what’s at the top of your priority list and determine how long it will take to accomplish it. If it’s a quick task, put that down to be done the current day. If it will take a longer time, divide it into smaller tasks to be spread out over several days. Write this in your calendar with specific dates for accomplishing each. Include your deadline for completion of this task on your calendar as well.

• Keep filling your calendar until you have a time set aside to do each item while still meeting your deadlines. Be careful to not overbook yourself and allow plenty of time for delays. This will allow you to feel confident that you can accomplish all you need to in the time you have. Now you can relax and work on one item at a time without feeling you have to do it all at once.

What tips do you have??


4 thoughts on “Why Do I Procrastinate?

  • October 23, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    i certainly fall into the first category, mostly when it comes to making decisions. that becomes a real problem when others are waiting for my decision to do their job.

    i’ve been trying to intentionally live with more confidence.

    becoming minimalist’s last blog post..minimalizing political speeches

  • November 7, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I have a huge problem with procrastination! I think it stems from having so many things I’m working on at one time I think I will get back to something and then start something new and put off whatever it was I was thinking of finishing.

    This happens a lot with cleaning up too. I get really busy with work and think I’ll pick up that plate later, or I’ll put the laundry away when I’m less busy, but before you know it I’ve started more things, and the cleaning gets put off more. Then I’m left with needing an hour to clean up when it would have only taken a few minutes if I did it when I should have!

    I’ve been using the priority list and it seems to work great because I feel like I’ve accomplished something when I cross things off of it. I’ve also found that if I let other people know what I’m planning on doing I get it done because I don’t like admitting that I put things off.

    Kimberley’s last blog post..A Little Kindness

  • July 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I think most, if not all, of us can say we have been procrastinators at some point in time. Sure, procrastination is alright every once in awhile. But as soon as you realize you have a habit of putting things off, it should be taken care of ASAP. Procrastination can lead to reduced productivity in the workplace, and in today’s economy is something we definitely do not need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.