Sat, Nov 28, 20

Why You Procrastinate: The Psychology Behind Procrastination

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If you’ve ever procrastinated, then you’ve most likely asked yourself the following questions. “why do I keep procrastinating even though I know it’s not good for me?” or "why do I procrastinate so much?”. These are essential questions since understanding why you procrastinate is vital if you want to find out how to stop it. 

The below article will provide you with the answers to those questions.

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What is procrastination

Procrastination is the act of unnecessarily delaying an action or decision. For example, if you need to write a report but end up wasting hours on social media, even though you know you should be working on your report, that means you're procrastinating.

Procrastination can be detrimental to your ability to be successful in pursuit of your goals, which is quite obvious when you think about it. Furthermore, procrastination is also linked with a wide range of secondary problems, such as increased stress to your mental health.

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Why people procrastinate

It's often assumed that procrastination is primarily a matter of willpower, although, in reality, the situation is far more complicated than that. When faced with tasks to complete or decision to make, we usually rely on our self-control to push us to get things done. Furthermore, our motivation to get things done is based on the expectation of receiving a reward based on the effort you put in.  This motivation can support our self-control and make it more likely to get things done and in a more timely fashion.

Overall, we procrastinate because our motivation and self-control are hindered by factors such as exhaustion, lack of rewards, or rewards too far in the future. We could also be overwhelmed by negative factors such as anxiety or fear of the future. This can cause us to fail to self-regulate our behavior, which means that we suspend things unnecessarily. Even when we know we should be doing them, procrastination often leads to a gap between how we mean to act and how we work in reality.

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Reasons for procrastination

stressed out student


People often procrastinate because they feel anxious about a task that they must complete.


Sometimes people procrastinate as a result of their perfectionism, which can manifest in many ways. These ways consist of being too afraid of making a mistake to take any action at all or by being so worried about publishing something with flaws that they end up reworking their project indefinitely instead of handing it in when it's done. 

Fear of Failure

As people, we can procrastinate because they're afraid of failing at whatever task is needed to be completed.


Another reason people sometimes procrastinate is that they are unable to make decisions promptly. This can be an issue in several ways, such as when a person can't determine which course of action to pursue or when a person needs to make a particular choice before they can move ahead with their general plan of action.

Feeling overwhelmed 

One of the more common reasons people procrastinate is that they feel overwhelmed by the tasks they need to handle. Being overwhelmed can occur for various reasons, such as having a task that feels too big in terms of scope or having a significant number of small tasks that add up. When this happens, a person may choose to avoid the tasks in question or attempt to handle them but then quickly feel paralyzed by the tasks before they are completed.

A Disconnect from Our Future Self 

People also procrastinate because they see their future self as being separate from their present-selves, a phenomenon known as temporal disjunction or temporal self-discontinuity.

Fear of Negative Feedback 

People often procrastinate because they are scared of being evaluated or scared of receiving negative feedback from others.

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How to stop procrastinating

woman working hard

To stop procrastinating, start by setting goals. Ensure that through this process, you define your goals as clearly as possible and ensure that these goals are important enough to make meaningful progress while also being realistic.

Then, figure out the specific nature of your procrastination problem. You can achieve this by thinking about previous times you procrastinated and then identifying why, how, and when you did so.

After that, create an action plan. This plan should include a combination of relevant anti-procrastination techniques that will enable you to deal with situations where your procrastination problems come up and prevent you from achieving your goals.

Lastly, implement your action plan. As time passes, ensure to watch your progress and refine your plan by dropping anti-procrastination or merely modifying your techniques based on how well they're working for you and adding new ones if you think they could help.

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8 Great Anti-procrastination techniques to try:

  1. Prioritize your tasks based on their importance.
  2. Remove all distractions from your work environment. (No phones, tV show ect.)
  3. Break down larger and more overwhelming tasks into small actionable subtasks.
  4. Set transitional deadlines on your way to the final goals.
  5. Identify your prime productive hours, and schedule your tasks to fit that timeframe.
  6. Avoid the perfectionist mindset by accepting that your work will be flawed
  7. Focus on the goals you set instead of on the tasks themselves that require completion.
Set rewards for yourself when you are able to successfully implement your action plan.

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