Why do we Procrastinate? Explained

Last Updated on March 30, 2023 by Dr Bucho


Have you ever wondered, Why Do We Procrastinate? or Why It is so Hard not to procrastinate? Like All, you might have ever put off crucial Work until the very last minute, even if you know that doing so will only make matters worse in the end. Procrastination has actually been thoroughly examined by researchers in the domains of psychology, neurology, and economics, proving that it is more than just a poor Bad habit. Hence, if you’re interested in learning more about the science of procrastination and how to stop it, grab a seat and continue reading!

why do we procrastinate
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


A voluntary delay or postponement of a desired course of action, despite the knowledge that it may have unfavorable effects, is referred to as procrastination. It is a regular and frequently irrational behavior that involves putting off important duties in favour of more enjoyable ones, sometimes until the very last minute.

From a psychological perspective, procrastination can be seen as a self-regulatory failure, where individuals struggle to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in a way that enables them to complete tasks efficiently and effectively. [Tice and Baumeister, 1997| Sirois and Pychyl, 2013].

Types Of Procrastinators


Because the Worrier doesn’t think he’ll be able to complete it, they don’t begin that significant or challenging work. They worry that they will fail. When they consider failing, they become anxious. Hence, they think it is best to not undertake the work in the first place because they won’t experience the unpleasant feelings related to failure if they don’t try.


They are the ones that focus too much on little things. A perfectionist is anxious about getting every detail flawless and is therefore scared to begin the task at hand. These individuals set impossibly high standards for themselves and delay tasks in order to avoid making mistakes or producing less-than-perfect work.


Dreamer doesn’t believe that achieving their goals actually require a lot of effort and they should work hard for it. They are Completely motivated by Frustration and boredom. They believe they should receive everything as a gift. We’ve all encountered (or even been) dreamers.


Intentionally delaying work to the last minute, the crisis-maker. Due to their excitement for deadlines (crises) and conviction that they perform at their best under pressure, they have poor time management skills.

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What Happens in a Brain When We Procrastinate

Your limbic system, which is a component of your brain, is in charge of, among other things, emotion, and behavior. It consists of a group of structures, including the hippocampus and hypothalamus, which are involved in memory (responsible for body temperature, hunger, sleep, and much more).

The system’s job includes preventing you from engaging in undesirable behavior. For instance, touching a hot surface would cause the limbic system to respond, preventing you from doing that. Also, the system works to keep you from engaging in activities you detest.

According to a study led by German experts, functional MRI was used to compare the brains of procrastinators with non-procrastinators. It was discovered that procrastinators have a larger amygdala in their brains, which is a portion of the limbic system responsible for fight or flight.

in relation to the difference in the size of the amygdala, Pychyl says “What’s happening is what we call the ‘amygdala hijack,’” “The procrastinators are reacting emotionally, and the emotion-focused coping response is to escape. It’s saying, ‘I don’t want these negative emotions I’ll experience during the task,’ and so it avoids the task.”

How the brain interprets the future is another significant brain reaction. Hal Hershfield, a social psychologist at UCLA, conducted research that revealed how the brain perceives another person and how it perceives our future selves. According to Pychyl “[Hershfield] used a functional MRI to look at the brains of people when they were thinking of their present self, their future self, or the other,” “When we think of future self, the same parts of the brain light up as when we think about the other.”

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Everybody slacks off occasionally. Procrastination, however, can have an impact on our well-being if we make it a practice of putting off important tasks even when there are drawbacks. A 2014 study on procrastination and coping found that 20–25% of persons globally engage in chronic procrastination. Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, ADHD, and bad study habits are all potential contributing factors to the problem. There are risks to mental health and poor functioning associated with procrastination. Procrastinators frequently exhibit significant levels of anxiety as well as poor impulse control.

Dr. Pychyl and Dr. Sirois discovered in a 2013 study that procrastination can be defined as “the primacy of short-term mood repair… over the longer-term pursuit of intended actions.” Simply put, procrastination is focused on “the immediate urgency of managing negative moods” rather than getting on with the task, according to Dr. Sirois.

Reasons Of Procrastination

Many elements, including psychological, social, and environmental variables, might contribute to procrastination. Procrastination has a number of frequent reasons, including:

  • Fear of Failure: One of the main reasons people put things off is a fear of failing. To avoid the potential of making mistakes, receiving unfavorable comments, or encountering rejection, people may put off duties.
  • Lack of Motivation: Lack of interest or motivation for the activity at hand can also be a factor in procrastination. People may put off or makeup reasons not to complete a task if they lack the intrinsic desire or a feeling of purpose in doing so.
  • Perfectionism: Those who have impossible expectations for themselves may battle with procrastination as they put off chores to avoid making mistakes or creating subpar work.
  • Overwhelmed by the difficulty or enormity of a task, people may also put off starting a task. It could be simpler to put off a big or intimidating activity and concentrate on smaller, more doable ones.
  • Lack of Time Management Skills: Procrastination can also be caused by poor time management abilities. When people don’t have a clear plan or deadline for finishing activities, they could put them off until the very last minute or even later.

Consequences of Procrastination

  • Higher risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease: When it comes to One’s Health, Procrastinating Makes it hard to take any Action, Doing things Like putting off exercise and checkups and failing to commit to healthy eating can lead to a higher risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
  • Decreased Productivity: When individuals procrastinate, they may spend more time on non-essential activities or find themselves rushing to complete tasks at the last minute, which can lead to decreased productivity.
  • Missed Opportunities: Procrastination can also lead to missed opportunities, such as deadlines for scholarships, job applications, or other important events.
  • Damaged Relationships: Procrastination can also have negative effects on personal relationships. When individuals consistently fail to follow through on commitments or responsibilities, it can erode trust and damage relationships.
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Strategies to Overcome Procrastination

  • Establishing Reasonable Goals: People should set their own reasonable objectives and divide more difficult activities into smaller, more achievable ones. People can develop momentum and maintain motivation by setting attainable goals and acknowledging accomplishments along the way.
  • Prioritizing Tasks: It’s crucial to prioritize your workload so that you may concentrate on the activities that are most urgent or important. This can aid people in feeling more in control of their tasks and less overwhelmed.
  • Making a Schedule: Making a schedule or timeline for projects can assist people in better time management and decrease the risk of procrastinating.
  • Reducing Distractions: People should become more aware of and less engaged in distractions that could impair their capacity to concentrate, including social media or other unimportant pursuits.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Are procrastinators born or made?

It is not a natural trait to procrastinate. It’s good that it’s a learned response because learning can be unlearned. The bad news is that while this habit can be changed, doing so requires a lot of deliberate planning.

Can procrastination be cured?

Procrastination is not an illness that needs to be cured but it is a behavioral adaptation that needs a little effort on a behavioral basis to bring change in yourself. You can Go for some rules like a 2-minute rule, If you can complete an action in two minutes or less, do it right away and without delay.

This Article is AI Assisted

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