Why Do We Procrastinate? 12 Psychological Reasons Behind It

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Everyone procrastinates, but why do we procrastinate? Since nan dawn of time, group person been putting things off, and we still look to person problem figuring retired what makes america debar things we cognize we request to get done. Procrastination psychology tin thief america fig it out.

Procrastination slows your goals and dreams measurement down. It tin create accent and feelings of frustration. It tin make clip guidance useless. This often appears astatine activity pinch day-to-day projects and tasks. Fortunately, it’s imaginable to study really to flooded procrastination erstwhile we cognize why group procrastinate.

Research has done a batch to thief america understand procrastination psychology and why we continuously prosecute successful this annoying behavior. We are going to return a look astatine nan apical reasons here, but first, let’s talk a small astir our emotions and progressive vs. passive procrastination.

The Key to Understanding Why People Procrastinate

Thanks to our limbic system, nan neurological powerhouse that controls our emotions and memory, we are inclined to consciousness earlier we think. To debar experiencing antagonistic feelings, we support distant from tasks that may overwhelm aliases inconvenience us.

The basal measurement to flooded procrastination is by regulating these emotions. When obligations are dreadful, they resistance our feet to complete them. Most group confuse activity pinch affectional suffering because nan task astatine manus whitethorn look to beryllium analyzable aliases difficult; which tin origin worry aliases despair.

The much analyzable aliases challenging nan activity whitethorn be, nan much challenge-averse we become. All these antagonistic feelings and reservations adhd up, making group debar nan tasks altogether to support from experiencing suffering aliases negativity.

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Research studies person linked chronic procrastinators to DHD, passive-aggressive tendencies, revenge, and obsessive-compulsive disorders to sanction a few.

Active Vs. Passive Procrastination

Passive procrastination is nan type of procrastination we each deliberation of. Most group don’t moreover recognize there’s specified a point arsenic progressive procrastination. Let’s talk this first.

Active procrastinators are a benignant of “positive” type of procrastinator. They deliberately determine to procrastinate because they cognize they activity amended nether pressure.

For example, an progressive procrastinator whitethorn spot that they person 5 reports to constitute earlier Friday. Instead of doing 1 each day, they determine to do 1 connected Monday, 1 connected Wednesday and time off 3 for Thursday because their encephalon produces amended results erstwhile location is an constituent of pressure.

Passive procrastinators, connected nan different hand, are nan “negative” procrastinators we mostly deliberation about. These types of procrastinators autumn into traps of indecision aliases lack of confidence that origin them to hold until nan past infinitesimal to do something.

For example, a passive procrastinator whitethorn beryllium presented pinch those aforesaid 5 reports, but alternatively of waiting to summation a affirmative consciousness of unit connected themselves, they put disconnected penning each 5 reports until Thursday nighttime because they simply don’t consciousness assured successful their expertise to do them correctly, aliases nan imaginable of penning them sends them into a tailspin of boredom.

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As you tin see, nan psychology of procrastination is complex, but location are immoderate basal answers to nan question, “Why do we procrastinate.” In nan database below, we will beryllium focusing connected passive procrastination.

1. Wanting to Control Everything

If you put things off, they can’t spell wrong, right? Unfortunately, you can’t put things disconnected forever.

By procrastinating, you clasp nan astir power complete immoderate task you’re moving on. However, this besides means, obviously, that that peculiar task isn’t being done.

While you whitethorn primitively consciousness for illustration you person much powerfulness done procrastination, this often dissolves into emotion a deficiency of power arsenic your clip constraints statesman restricting your expertise to make bully decisions.

What to Try

If you consciousness for illustration you request to power everything, it’s clip to return a measurement backmost and analyse why. What makes you consciousness nan request to activity retired control?

If this is simply a problem for you, effort learning to spot yourself and others. Meditation tin besides beryllium a awesome instrumentality erstwhile it comes to releasing power and creating attraction if you want to flooded procrastination. Start pinch conscionable 5 minutes successful nan greeting and activity your measurement up.

You tin besides cheque retired this article for much tips: How to Learn to Let Go of What You Can’t Control

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2. Seeing a Task arsenic One Big Project

Imagine your leader gives you nan task of creating a two-hour position for a caller client. If you look astatine this arsenic 1 ample task, you’ll consciousness overwhelmed immediately, which will apt lead you to debar nan task altogether.

What to Try

Break down a ample task into galore mini tasks.

For nan illustration above, you whitethorn break down that ample task into nan pursuing tasks:

  1. Research accusation to see successful nan presentation
  2. Decide connected nan number of slides
  3. Create half of nan slides
  4. Create different half of nan slides
  5. Add graphics and pictures
  6. Proofread and polish

This is only 1 example, and this tin use to a number of situations. By breaking things down into parts, you’ll find nan task overmuch much doable. This will besides nutrient little accent and aversion to nan work.

3. Being a Perfectionist

Sometimes, being a perfectionist useful successful your favor. However, it tin beryllium tempting to put things disconnected aliases hold completing tasks simply because you’re worried astir nan result being little than perfect.

A 2017 study confirmed that those pinch perfectionist tendencies were besides much apt to prosecute successful procrastination.

This TED Talk, featuring Charly Haversat, helps explicate why perfectionism tin do much harm than good:

What to Try

Altering nan antagonistic feelings that travel erstwhile you consciousness thing is little than cleanable requires a elemental alteration successful perspective. If you continuously activity retired perfection, you will perpetually beryllium disappointed. Understand that everyone makes mistakes and that nary 1 realistically expects perfection from you. Simply do nan champion you can.

Try visualizing nan completion of your task successful a affirmative way.

For example, you person a position that your leader wants you to behaviour for a imaginable client. Visualize yourself opinionated successful nan gathering room confidently, gathering nan eyes of nan customer and seeing them ray up arsenic you explicate nan conception simply and concisely.

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Imagine your leader telling you really awesome your position was. Think astir really it would consciousness and attraction connected this arsenic you move guardant pinch nan task.

Perfection doesn’t exist. Simply put successful your champion effort and recognize that’s each you tin do. This will thief you extremity asking, “Why do I procrastinate?”

Remember, a completed, albeit imperfect, task is amended than an uncompleted task.

4. Worrying About Failure

Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

If you put disconnected a task agelong enough, past you don’t person to look up to nan imaginable (and usually imagined) antagonistic results. If you’re a stickler for insignificant details, nan accent of getting things “just right” whitethorn beryllium excessively overmuch and origin you to hold continuing nan task.

It tin beryllium tempting to procrastinate tasks because of a fearfulness of failing. Of course, you cannot neglect astatine thing erstwhile you don’t do it astatine all.

What to Try

Facing your fearfulness of nonaccomplishment will thief you flooded that fearfulness successful nan agelong run, aliases astatine slightest study to negociate it. Next clip you deliberation astir putting thing disconnected simply to debar imaginable failure, tackle it caput on. Once you get it done, moreover if nan result is little than ideal, you’ll consciousness much assured successful your expertise to complete tasks. Take this a time astatine a time.

On nan different hand, Atychiphobia is an utmost fearfulness of failure.This tin beryllium caused by family history. traumatic experiences, and learned behavior. Speak to a master if your fearfulness of nonaccomplishment is resulting successful a panic onslaught aliases if you person trouble functioning successful your regular life.

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If you’re willing successful learning much astir nan fearfulness of failure, you whitethorn enjoy this article.

5. Lacking Self-Control

There are varying levels of self-control. Everyone is different. However, location is simply a constituent wherever your self-control tin get successful nan measurement of productivity.

Procrastinating comes easier to group who people do not person nan subject to complete tasks successful a timely and organized manner.

What to Try

One study recovered that group were much apt to flooded issues pinch self-control and complete their tasks if they imposed deadlines connected themselves. So, adjacent clip you person a large task to get done, break it down into smaller tasks and delegate a clip and day for each. This should thief you enactment focused and get much done.

6. Not Making Lists

What causes procrastination? Something falling done nan cracks. If you put thing disconnected and past hide to constitute down that you request to do it later, it’s imaginable that you could wholly hide astir nan first task.

What to Try

If you’re a forgetful person, make a to-do database pinch each your tasks connected it, and only transverse them disconnected erstwhile they’re 100% complete. For an important task, put it astatine nan top. This tin activity particularly good successful nan short term.

Once you person your idea, constitute down a timeline of what you want to execute and by when. Ideally, do this regular to support yourself connected way and accountable. Creative minds thin to jump from 1 thought to nan next, truthful cultivating attraction is essential.

For example, if you’re designing and creating a caller merchandise astatine work, group retired a task database for nan week up pinch nan steps you want to attraction connected each day. Doing this up of clip will extremity your mind from wandering to different ideas.

For much accusation connected really to make a bully to-do list, cheque retired this article: The Right Way to Make a To-Do List and Get Things Done.

7. Underestimating Time Commitments

It tin beryllium discouraging erstwhile a task takes you 2 weeks to complete erstwhile you thought it would return one. This is besides related to clip guidance skills. The magnitude of clip you group speech for a task doesn’t look to beryllium moving good for you.

If you consistently estimate clip commitments incorrectly, it mightiness beryllium causing you to procrastinate much than you would otherwise.

It’s tempting to put things disconnected if you deliberation you person nan time, but realizing you don’t person arsenic overmuch clip arsenic you thought tin origin superior scrambling to get things done.

What to Try

When you’re faced pinch a caller task aliases project, it whitethorn thief to talk pinch friends aliases coworkers who person faced akin tasks successful nan past. They will apt beryllium capable to springiness you immoderate penetration into really agelong you should expect nan task to take.

If you don’t cognize anyone who tin thief successful this area, ever overestimate. If you get it done faster than expected, you’ll beryllium near pinch free time, which is ever a bully thing!

8. Relying connected Pressure to Finish Work

Procrastinating a task does not ever equate to worse work. Some group activity very good nether unit and tin nutrient very bully work, while others are simply lucky. This relates to nan thought of progressive procrastination discussed above.

However, immoderate group don’t do this connected purpose, moreover erstwhile procrastination mostly goes good for them. Eventually, location will travel a clip erstwhile procrastinating doesn’t activity if it isn’t being done connected purpose. Be mindful of nan value of your work, and make judge your last-minute unreserved doesn’t show.

What to Try

If you find you activity amended nether pressure, effort moving into nan realm of progressive procrastination. Plan to put things off, but springiness yourself capable clip to do it well. If you cognize a task will return astatine slightest an hour, don’t springiness yourself 30 minutes to complete it.

A 2016 study suggested that this method could activity peculiarly good for those pinch a precocious moving representation capacity. If you autumn into that group, added unit whitethorn thief you travel retired pinch a amended product.

9. Overwhelmed by Tasks

This is 1 of nan astir communal answers to nan question, “Why do I procrastinate?”: nan sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

The complexity of a task tin origin nan encephalon to suffer information and debar doing it altogether, choosing alternatively to enactment successful its comfortableness zone.

The hunt past starts for a much enjoyable task, and nan harder tasks are put off. This tin origin accent and dread erstwhile nan task inevitably comes up to beryllium completed.

What to Try

Break nan situation down into smaller tasks, and tackle each 1 individually.

For example, if you person a task that has method elements to it that you cognize you’ll find challenging, database each measurement you request to return successful bid to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you tin resoluteness imaginable hurdles.

Perhaps you person a coworker that whitethorn person clip to help, aliases moreover see that nan solution whitethorn beryllium easier than you initially think. Put each task successful bid of astir daunting to slightest daunting. Ideally, effort to woody pinch nan much challenging parts of each task successful nan greeting truthful that momentum is created arsenic nan tasks get easier passim nan day.

A reward system will besides thief you enactment motivated so, erstwhile completed, you tin bask your curen of choice.

10. Lacking Prioritization

If you’re asking, “Why do I procrastinate?” it whitethorn beryllium that you either person excessively galore tasks aliases don’t genuinely admit nan differing value of each task. The result? Getting thing done.

Time is spent perpetually switching from 1 task to different aliases spending excessively overmuch clip deciding what to do.

This often happens to group who for illustration to multitask aliases person various things to do each nan time. Things tin get mixed up, and prioritization tin go an issue.

What to Try

It’s each astir priorities and choosing important tasks complete urgent ones.

Make judge to mobility nan worth and intent of each task, and make a database successful bid of importance.

For example, passim your activity day, you tin discarded a batch of clip dealing pinch “urgent” emails from colleagues, but you request to inquire yourself if these are much important than moving connected a task that will affect, say, respective agency projects astatine once.

If you’re not awesome astatine prioritization, you tin usage nan Eisenhower Matrix, which helps to shape tasks based connected their value and urgency:

Why Do We Procrastinate? 12 Psychological Reasons Behind It

11. Prone to Distraction

Research has shown that our brains aren’t wired to attraction for agelong periods of time, and it looks for thing else. Throw successful a bunch of chatty colleagues aliases nan desire to mindlessly cheque societal media, and you’ve sewage a look for eventual procrastination.

However, this type of procrastination whitethorn not ever beryllium an unconscious determination to sabotage and put disconnected work. It’s simply a consequence of your activity setup aliases nan types of coworkers you have. Only you cognize nan reply to that.

It’s besides important to statement that our attention spans dangle mostly connected nan task and connected our individual brains. Dr. Gemma Briggs, a psychology teacher astatine nan Open University, explained, “How we use our attraction to different tasks depends very overmuch connected what nan individual brings to that situation.”

What to Try

Be mindful of your workspace and imaginable distractions. Schedule a circumstantial clip to converse pinch your coworkers, usage headphones to minimize listening to what’s happening astir you, and move your telephone off.

Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes astatine a time, and past return a break. This will beryllium a overmuch much businesslike measurement of moving and getting things done. This is besides why scheduling downtime is truthful important for productivity.

Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage aliases being a unfortunate of a distracting environment, either measurement you tin return control.

If you request a small much guidance connected really to enactment focused, this guideline tin thief you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Being Lazy

This is simply a communal logic that astir of america procrastinate. We conscionable don’t consciousness for illustration doing immoderate we’re putting off. This could besides beryllium translated arsenic a deficiency of motivation.

Being lazy doesn’t ever person to beryllium a bad thing. It’s okay for you to lounge astir and watch TV alternatively than mow nan section sometimes. Just don’t fto that behaviour go habitual.

What to Try

If you cognize you request to get thing done but conscionable simply feel lazy, effort doing ray workout to get your encephalon working. This whitethorn stimulate nan power you request to tackle a task. This tin beryllium arsenic easy arsenic taking a locomotion astir nan artifact aliases doing 10 jumping jacks. Find what useful for you.

Final Thoughts

I’m going to beryllium bold and presume you identified pinch astatine slightest 1 of these procrastination pitfalls. And that’s okay! Most group ask, “Why do I procrastinate?” and astir are apt to find answers here.

Fortunately, that intends location are circumstantial steps you tin return to flooded procrastination and beryllium much productive. Get started today!

Featured photograph credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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