top of page

Psychology of Procrastination

Psychology of Procrastination

Do you always put off your homework or work till the last moment? Does this affect your performance and hinder your growth? If yes, you have come to the right place. As a professional procrastinator, I too have the same struggles as you. I've done my due research and I'm here to tell you the reasons why you may be putting your important tasks on the back burner. But before I do that, let’s get the basics nailed down and understand what procrastination is. 

Procrastination is the act of delaying and putting off work till the last moment. Procrastinators often struggle to start an activity or task. Though they are generally successful in completing the task at hand before the deadline, this affects the quality of their work and performance. Wait! Before you become too hard on yourself, know that you’re the not only one with this problem. This issue has been around for so long that Greek philosophers came up with a word to describe it- “akrasia”. Akrasia refers to the act of acting against your better judgement. It can be loosely translated to procrastination. A 2014 study on procrastination and coping revealed that  20-25% of adults worldwide are chronic procrastinators. 

Oftentimes, we, the procrastinators are referred to as lazy. But is procrastination actually laziness? The answer is a big NO! Let’s take the help of Psychology to delve deep into the subject so we can get to the root cause and deal with it in a better way. 

Reasons Why You Procrastinate

Procrastination results in stress and guilt, yet we tend to procrastinate again and again. It’s like an endless cycle. Why do we do that despite the distress it causes us? Well, just like any other problem, procrastination also has many reasons. Let us take a look at them, shall we?

You’re a Perfectionist


Perfectionists, as the name suggests, need everything to be perfect. So when they’re doing a task, they want it to be absolutely perfect. What’s wrong with it?  The need for perfection causes fear of not performing well or failing. This fear causes them to put off a task. 

Fear and Anxiety

Sometimes a person might put off a task due to fear or anxiety. For example, one might delay going to the dentist due to the fear of the dentist causing him pain. 

While this might be harmful to one’s health, the fear paralyzes the person. 

Social anxiety also plays a role in situations like this. The fear of humiliation or embarrassment might cause one to put off scheduling appointments or meetings. 

Unpleasant Task

Unpleasant Task

Who likes to do boring or unpleasant tasks? Yes, no one. We, humans love doing stuff we enjoy. We tend to put off unpleasant tasks for as long as we can. That’s another reason for procrastination.


Having ADHD is like having a next-door neighbor named Procrastination. They're not always together, but sometimes ADHD traits can make putting things off more common. It's like having neighbors who talk every now and then but aren't always pals.


For folks with ADHD, staying focused for a long time, getting organized, managing time, and keeping impulses in check can be tough. Because of these challenges, some people with ADHD might put off finishing tasks. It's like they struggle to keep their attention on one thing for too long, get easily distracted, or feel like the task is more mentally demanding than they can handle.

The motivation levels of people with ADHD can be a bit all over the place. They might get super into things that grab their interest but end up delaying stuff that seems boring. It may also be hard for them to get started on certain tasks due to some emotional conflicts with the task.

Lack of Belief in Your Abilities

Procrastination can often be rooted in deeper emotional struggles related to the task at hand, such as self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety, or a general sense of insecurity. Consider a scenario where you're faced with a challenging project at work. Thoughts may start swirling in your head: "Am I capable enough to handle this? What if my colleagues find my work subpar? This project seems daunting. What if I don't do a good job?"

In the face of such doubts, the thought of putting that project on the back burner and reorganizing your workspace instead might seem like a more appealing option.

Wrapping Up!

Let's embrace the fact that we're all guilty of procrastination, and it can be a real pain. But here's the deal – it's not about being lazy. There's more to it, and diving into the psychology behind it reveals some interesting stuff.

From the pressure of perfectionism to the grip of fear and anxiety, our reasons for delaying tasks are like a complex web of emotions. And hey, if you've ever felt overwhelmed, doubted your abilities, or just wanted to dodge that unpleasant task, you're not alone – we've all been there.

What's cool is that understanding these underlying reasons helps us figure out why we're hitting the snooze button on our responsibilities. Once we grasp that, we can actually do something about it.

So, the next time you catch yourself eyeing that pile of work but end up rearranging your desk instead, cut yourself some slack. It's not laziness; it's a signal to dig a bit deeper and address what's really going on. By doing that, we're not just battling procrastination; we're taking a step towards a happier, more productive version of ourselves.

73 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page