Personal SkillsTime Management

Why do we procrastinate?

Procrastination is a common behavior that affects people in various aspects of their lives. It refers to the act of delaying or postponing tasks that need to be done, despite the negative consequences that may result from such behavior.

In this article, we will explore why people procrastinate, the negative effects of procrastination, tips to stop procrastinating, and frequently asked questions about procrastination.

Why do we procrastinate?

There are various reasons why people procrastinate, including:

  1. Lack of motivation: When individuals lack motivation or interest in a task, they may find it difficult to get started or complete it. This can lead to procrastination, as they put off the task in favor of more enjoyable activities.
  2. Fear of failure: People often procrastinate because they are afraid of failing or not meeting their own expectations. This fear can be paralyzing, causing individuals to avoid taking action altogether.
  3. Perfectionism: Some individuals may be perfectionists, setting impossibly high standards for themselves. This can lead to procrastination, as they may feel that they cannot start or complete a task until they can do it perfectly.
  4. Overwhelm: When individuals feel overwhelmed by a task or project, they may procrastinate as a way of avoiding the stress and anxiety that comes with it.

The negative effects of procrastination

Procrastination can have several negative effects on individuals, including:

  1. Increased stress and anxiety: Procrastination can lead to increased stress and anxiety, as individuals may feel overwhelmed by the tasks they have put off.
  2. Decreased productivity: Procrastination can decrease productivity, as individuals may spend more time avoiding tasks than actually completing them.
  3. Missed opportunities: Procrastination can result in missed opportunities, as individuals may not have enough time to complete a task or project before a deadline.
  4. Lower quality work: Procrastination can lead to lower quality work, as individuals may rush to complete a task at the last minute.

Tips to stop procrastinating

While procrastination can be challenging to overcome, there are several tips that individuals can use to break the cycle of delay and procrastination. Some of these tips include:

Set clear goals and deadlines: Setting clear goals and deadlines can help individuals stay focused and motivated, reducing the likelihood of procrastination.

Prioritize your tasks: Prioritizing tasks can help individuals focus on what is most important, reducing overwhelm and increasing productivity.

Break tasks into smaller chunks: Breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks can help individuals stay motivated and build momentum towards completing the task.

Use time management techniques: Using time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro technique or time blocking, can help individuals manage their time more effectively and avoid procrastination.

Eliminate distractions: Distractions such as social media, email, or phone notifications can be a major obstacle to productivity. By eliminating or minimizing distractions, individuals can stay focused and avoid procrastination.

Reward yourself: Rewarding yourself after completing a task or project can help increase motivation and reduce procrastination.

Find an accountability partner: Finding an accountability partner, such as a friend or colleague, can help individuals stay on track and avoid procrastination.


Practice self-compassion: Practicing self-compassion, which involves treating oneself with kindness and understanding, can help individuals overcome negative self-talk and increase motivation.

Stay positive and motivated: Staying positive and motivated can help individuals overcome procrastination and stay on track towards achieving their goals.

Frequently asked questions about procrastination

What are the common causes of procrastination?

As mentioned earlier, the common causes of procrastination include lack of motivation, fear of failure, perfectionism, overwhelm, and poor time management.

Is procrastination a sign of laziness?

No, procrastination is not a sign of laziness. While procrastination may seem like a lazy behavior, it is often a result of deeper issues such as fear, anxiety, or overwhelm. It is important to address the underlying causes of procrastination rather than simply labeling oneself as lazy.


Can procrastination be cured?

While procrastination may never be fully “cured,” individuals can take steps to overcome it and minimize its negative effects. By practicing good time management, setting clear goals, prioritizing tasks, and eliminating distractions, individuals can reduce the likelihood of procrastination and increase their productivity and motivation.


Procrastination can be a challenging behavior to overcome, but it is not impossible. By understanding the common causes of procrastination, recognizing its negative effects, and implementing strategies to stop procrastinating, individuals can take control of their time and increase their productivity and motivation.

Remember, procrastination is not a sign of laziness, but rather a behavior that can be overcome with dedication and persistence.


Marty Hoffman

Marty Hoffman, MBA, PhD Management Consultant for Fortune 500 and Corporate Strategist 📍 San Francisco, CA More »

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