Why We Actually Procrastinate (It Isn’t Laziness)

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As mothers, procrastination is all too acquainted to most of us. It’s because we regularly have a listing of issues we’d reasonably not do! Piles of laundry or dishes, homework assignments, train, and dealing with funds are widespread duties that we procrastinate. Add the attract of a smartphone and it’s straightforward to out of the blue end up off monitor. (I’m all too responsible of this!)

However the reality is, we additionally procrastinate issues we do need to do, like beginning a enterprise, writing a ebook, adopting a constructive behavior, and so on.

Procrastination isn’t so simple as not desirous to do issues we don’t really feel like doing — it goes a lot deeper. On this publish, I’ll clarify why you’re actually procrastinating (and what you are able to do).

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Opposite to what many individuals consider, procrastination shouldn’t be about being lazy. I used to consider that procrastination was merely about not desirous to do one thing. And this is sensible. The issues we most frequently delay are boring duties like laundry or troublesome duties like writing a university paper.

Analysis printed in 2000 factors to a listing of seven triggers that trigger procrastination:

  • Boring
  • Irritating
  • Tough
  • Ambiguous
  • Unstructured
  • Not intrinsically rewarding
  • Missing in private that means

These triggers appear to make sense. However on the identical time, I can identify loads of duties that I don’t procrastinate that fall underneath these identical set off classes. And what concerning the duties we actually need to do (like lastly write that ebook) however we preserve placing it off (and scroll via social media as a substitute)? We’ve got to look slightly deeper. What I found was that procrastination is rather more linked to an internal battle.

Worry of failure, concern of success, and feeling unworthy of success, are all internal conflicts that may make you set off doing the factor you need to (or need!) to do.

The rationale that these internal conflicts trigger procrastination is that our unconscious thoughts is at all times attempting to guard us from hurt (actual or perceived). Procrastination is a method of doing that. If a activity presents a state of affairs that could possibly be “harmful” in keeping with the unconscious thoughts, it would cease you from continuing. Something that’s disagreeable is perceived as a hazard within the unconscious thoughts.

Internal Conflicts That Trigger Procrastination

In keeping with a Psychology At the moment article written by Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, there are 4 major internal conflicts that trigger procrastination:


That is the place an individual creates a state of affairs that ensures they received’t be capable of succeed. That is normally achieved subconsciously. For instance, somebody who’s afraid of failing will delay writing their ebook after which they are going to run out of time. The rationale for not writing then turns into lack of time which is simpler to cope with than lack of capability or concern of success.

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Tapping is one methodology that’s actually helped me overcome self-handicapping ideas.

Low Self Efficacy

One other internal battle is low self-efficacy. Much like self-confidence, self-efficacy is your self-confidence for a specific activity. For instance, you might have numerous confidence in your capability to bake a cake, however very low confidence in your capability to develop a tomato.

In case you don’t assume you may have the flexibility to do one thing, you may delay trying it. This isn’t only a concern of failure. Low self-efficacy can also be concerning the stress that’s induced whilst you’re attempting to do a activity you don’t consider you’re able to. Your unconscious thoughts desires to keep away from this stress too.

Thrill In search of

For some folks, the stress of a good deadline may give them a thrill. Analysis means that that is extra typical in extroverts.


Perfectionism is the fourth reason for procrastination. Whitbourne argues that some individuals are so terrified of imperfection that they might end a activity, like writing a paper, however delay submitting it.

However some analysis means that perfectionism is definitely a symptom of low shallowness. A 2011 research discovered that at the very least some perfectionism is the product of low shallowness and self-criticism.

The way to Overcome Procrastination (& Turn out to be a Productiveness Machine)

In case you are inclined to procrastinate and need to lastly cease, listed here are some ideas that may assist:

Acknowledge Procrastination

The very first thing it is advisable do is acknowledge if you find yourself procrastinating. This may be troublesome to acknowledge, particularly when the duty you utilize to distract your self can also be one thing that must be achieved (like cleansing). It’s straightforward to make the excuse that the cleansing was a precedence.

As talked about above, perfectionism is one other method that folks procrastinate. In case you’re pushing aside ending one thing since you don’t consider that it’s adequate but, you could be procrastinating.

In case you create obstacles for your self you may additionally be procrastinating. For instance, In case you spend $1,000 on clothes as a substitute of the brand new pc it is advisable write your ebook, you’re self-sabotaging.

Determine Out the Underlying Trigger

When you acknowledge that you just’ve been procrastinating you can begin to dig deeper and work out what the underlying trigger is. Listed below are some prospects:

  •  concern of failure
  •  concern of success
  •  feeling unworthy
  •  feeling responsible

Determining the mindset situation that’s inflicting your procrastination will help you get again on activity.

Procrastination is commonly a mindset downside however typically it’s extra concerning the activity itself. Are you procrastinating doing one thing as a result of it’s actually not one thing try to be doing?

All of us procrastinate at sure occasions, like placing the laundry away, or paying a invoice. However these issues normally get achieved finally as a result of we see the good thing about them. After I don’t put laundry away it makes my life much more troublesome!

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If there’s a activity or aim that you just’re pushing aside indefinitely, possibly that aim shouldn’t be a part of your life path and that’s one thing that must be thought of, too.

Forgive Your self

Analysis printed in 2010 found that forgiving your self for previous procrastination will help cut back future procrastination. In case you really feel guilt or disgrace about procrastinating up to now now’s the time to let it go so you may make an actual change.

Use Productiveness Hacks

When you uncover any mindset points which can be inflicting your procrastination you should utilize productiveness hacks that can assist you keep on activity and attain your targets.

Break Massive Duties Into Small Chunks

In case you procrastinate due to overwhelm, breaking your duties into manageable items is a good way to be productive. I prefer to backward plan by beginning with my aim after which determining what must be achieved simply earlier than the aim is reached, what must be achieved earlier than that activity, and so on.


When my to-do listing is uncontrolled I are inclined to need to keep away from it altogether! But when I spend 10-Quarter-hour within the morning prioritizing what must get achieved I really feel rather more in management. It even makes me really feel extra succesful! I select 3 major duties that must get completed and the rest I can do is a bonus. Time administration can also have an effect on self-confidence, so getting management of it’s a enormous assist.

Eat the Frog

Brian Tracy’s ebook Eat That Frog teaches many productiveness hacks, however crucial is to eat a frog each morning. He says that if it’s a must to eat a frog on daily basis, get it over through the morning and the remainder of your day shall be straightforward.

He (after all) doesn’t imply truly consuming frogs. As a substitute, he’s referring to these vital duties which can be boring, irritating, troublesome, and so on. In case you get that achieved very first thing within the morning, you’ll have gotten crucial factor out of the best way in order that if it’s the one factor you accomplish that day, it was a profitable day.

Use the 5 Second Rule

If consuming the frog is simply too troublesome, do this: the 5 second rule. Mel Robbins, writer of The 5 Second Rule, explains that “when you have an impulse to behave on a aim, you need to bodily transfer inside 5 seconds or your mind will kill the concept.” She recommends counting down — 5-4-3-2-1-GO after which transfer towards no matter motion it is advisable do (even when it’s small).

Use the 80/20 Rule

This my private favourite.

Doing unimportant duties is a type of procrastinating. As a substitute of doing the whole lot, stick to the 20 % of duties that provide you with 80 % of your rewards. For instance, meal planning or spending the time to verify children cling up barely used garments (as a substitute of tossing them within the laundry) are nice methods to save lots of numerous battle later.

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Get Accountability

Having somebody apart from your self to be accountable to is a good way to remain on activity. Ask a buddy or colleague to have a weekly or month-to-month check-in in your progress. This at all times helps me as a result of I hate to disappoint another person or must admit to them that I didn’t do what I mentioned I’d.

Use the Pomodoro Technique

This methodology comes from Francesco Cirillo and his tomato kitchen timer. The pomodoro methodology is easy:

  • Set a timer for 25 minutes and work in your activity
  • Then set the timer for five or 10 minutes and take a break
  • Repeat the cycle for 4 pomodoros, then take an extended break; 15-Half-hour.

This method offers a small time frame to get work achieved and likewise guarantees the reward of a break. If 25 minutes is simply too lengthy, select an period of time that works for you. You’ll be able to at all times enhance the time as you get used to the system.

Focus Lengthy-Time period

Procrastinators are inclined to deal with the short-term advantages of placing a activity off. Whenever you discover that you just’re procrastinating, remind your self of the long-term advantages like more cash, a clear house to get pleasure from, a level, a calmer family, and so on.

Take Care of Your self

Be sure you’re getting sufficient high quality sleep and also you’re maintaining a healthy diet meals to gas your mind and provides your self one of the best probability of reaching your targets.

Overcoming Procrastination: Is it Potential?

Procrastination can typically really feel prefer it’s taken maintain of you and you don’t have any management. However there are many issues you are able to do to beat procrastination and attain your targets. All the time consider the underlying trigger first. No productiveness hacks are going that can assist you till you discover the supply of self-sabotage and use a few of these methods to maintain transferring ahead!

This text was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board licensed in Inside Drugs and Pediatrics. As at all times, this isn’t private medical recommendation and we advocate that you just discuss along with your physician or work with a physician at SteadyMD.

Are you a procrastinator? What trigger do you most determine with?


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