Psychology of Procrastination

Posted by Hosanna on February 27th, 2021

Body: The psychology of procrastination honestly like most psychology isn't that complicated. Since I'm a stuffy academic, I could prattle on about it ad infinitum; however, I'm not going to. Instead, I'm going to offer the psychology of procrastination in such a way that you can take immediate action on what you're doing.

To begin with, I'd like you to consider that the steps you take to do a task performatively constitute it, which is to say that what you experience as the state of procrastination is not what drives you to procrastinate, but created by procrastinating. Therefore, if you can stop yourself in the process, then you can stop the process itself.

Before you think this is a crazy circle, let me offer a simple example you may be able to relate to. I have a tendency to put off my term papers until right before they're due. As such, I very often end up writing just okay papers because I write them in six to ten hours before they're due--a mistake for sure.

In other words, once I get the paper assignment, I put it off. Then, when I think about writing it, it pains me--so, I do something else "equally important" (I get so much work done during the school year for this reason--!). After I do all the other tasks to be done, then I'll try to come back to the paper; however, by then, I'm burnt out and my back hurts from all the writing I've done. So, the paper gets put off until it's due so soon that there's nothing else I can do... usually within 12 hours.

And on the normal reading of procrastination and life in general, I'd be a me-thing who wants to complete a task (writing the paper), but is hindered by this state of procrastination (read: the belief that it's really the fault of how I feel that I procrastinate); however, that's not how it is at all. In every moment, I'm the being procrastinating and it's not that I want to do something, but am hindered by a feeling of procrastination--I am the hindering itself.

The feeling of procrastination itself, therefore, arises from the doing of procrastination. This is why the more you procrastinate (or do anything) the worse it gets. If rather than put off the paper any of those times, I'd just gotten to work instead, I'd have written a far better paper.

So, to stop this, you need to figure out why you procrastinate. If you know the root cause of it in your everyday behavior, then you can dropkick it from your everyday behavior. And this is the most important lesson of all in the psychology of procrastination: why you procrastinate is the key to finding a new way to be in those situations.

To tie this all together, let's run through a couple reasons people procrastinate. Some people procrastinate because they're overworked. In this case, they consistently take on more tasks then they can handle (step 1). Then, they try to do all of them (step 2). Doing this, they work themselves to the bone (step 3). As this happens, they get more and more burnt out (step 4), until their minds just can't take it anymore (step 5). And that's procrastination. If this is you, then you can stop it by not taking on more tasks then you can handle and taking more breaks. You very likely take on more tasks than you can for a reason like you want to help your friends, you really want to change your life, you're a workaholic, etc. Figure out what this is and satisfy that elsewhere or if it's destructive like you help your friends so much it harms your success, then remind yourself of that when you bite off more than you can chew.

Fear of failure is another common reason people procrastinate. They're so afraid they're going to fail that they can't do the task. Usually, they diligently try to do things; however, they're bombarded with images and sounds of people rejecting and mocking them or things blowing up in their face. The more they try to think about doing the task at hand, the more it slips away from them. Sadly, what these people neglect to imagine is that wasting time like that is why they fail--and if they were to try, then they actually would have the option of success. But it's really never just that easy: this fear sits on a larger issue, a belief structure that focuses on failure and destruction rather than growth and learning. If you start working on that, you have no idea what you'll accomplish.

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About the Author

Joined: February 18th, 2021
Articles Posted: 101

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