12 Truths About Procrastination and You (and me, too)

by Ron Haynes

We’ve all done it: put off what we know we should do, waiting until a later time. While many of us are professional procrastinators, the truth is very few people always do everything on time. Sometimes a “wait-and-see” approach pays off, but that process requires thoughtful judgment, and really isn’t the same as procrastination.

Forms of procrastination:

  • Classic Procrastination – where someone delays getting started on a task
  • Contract Procrastination – where someone doesn’t do what they’ve previously agreed to do
  • Completion Procrastination – where someone just cannot seem to finish a task they’ve started
  • Contra Procrastination – where someone doesn’t STOP doing something they should

The reasons we all procrastinate are many. And yes, we all procrastinate, don’t try to fool yourself.

Ninety percent of all people procrastinate at some point … the other ten percent are liars. — Author Unknown

1. Procrastinators may have poor time estimation skills and grossly underestimate the length of time required to complete a task.

2. Procrastinators may delay action because they’re really comfortable where they are at the time … literally or figuratively.

3. Procrastinators may have falsely convinced themselves that they work better under pressure when they really just crave the adrenaline rush of an approaching deadline.

4. Procrastinators may have convinced themselves that they will be more motivated tomorrow, or next week, or next month, and motivation is what they need to get started.

Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill. —Christopher Parker

5. Procrastinators commonly say, “I’m too tired right now,” failing to realize the rush of energy they’ll receive when they get going on a task and get it completed.

6. Procrastinators believe their “feelings” should determine whether they work on a task or not. “I don’t feel like it,” isn’t a valid reason.

7. Procrastinators may actually fear the responsibilities that come with success.

8. Procrastinators may alternately fear failure with it’s responsibilities and consequences. They put off a task so they don’t have to face that fear.

Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday. – Napoleon Hill

9. Procrastinators may delay getting started or completing a task because they worry that they can never achieve perfection.

10. Procrastinators may take on too many projects at once and subsequently feel they are overwhelmed.

11. Procrastinators may have poor time management skills and not realize who quickly time can get away from them.

12. Procrastinators may just be lazy.

How soon “not now” becomes “never.” — Martin Luther

The reasons are many but the solutions are the same: break your task into small, easily achievable victories and get started right away. Reward yourself when you’ve completed a project and remind yourself constantly of the benefits you’ll receive when the task is 100 percent complete.

In delay, there lies no plenty. — Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act 2 Scene 3

So go ahead, get started on that project or task you’ve been putting off. You know you’ll feel great when it’s finished!

What steps or tips do YOU have to avoid procrastination?

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1001 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.


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{ 9 comments }

Positively Present

Those are all SO true! Great post about procrastination here. I do what I can to avoid procrastinating, but I see it all around me A LOT and your words couldn’t be more on point.

Admin

Thanks Dani, I think our human nature generally tilts toward procrastination, that’s why it’s such a hard habit to break.

micki

i’ll tell you the steps i use to avoid procrastination….tomorrow!

no, seriously, it is a big problem with me. i finally do something when i get so fed up with the status quo. right now it’s organizing my house which desperately needs it.

i needed your blog today to keep the motivation going. thanks!

Admin

Glad to help! Good luck with your organization project! :)

Melissa

‘I don’t feel like it’ is a big excuse for me. I use an oven timer and contract myself to just half an hour. Just half an hour is all I have to do today on that project. Usually the half hour passes in a flash and when the bell goes off I’m deep into what I’m doing and do a lot more than half an hour’s work.

Admin

That’s a great tip!

UPrinting

“Procrastinators may have falsely convinced themselves that they work better under pressure when they really just crave the adrenaline rush of an approaching deadline.”
- Sounds like someone I know. Oh wait, that’s me.

Procrastination is like any other vice, it feels good to do but you know it’s wrong. When faced with laziness, I just try to think that if I don’t do things now, I’d have to work longer, and of course, I don’t want that. Works like a charm every time, at least for me.

Alexandra

Thank you so much for writing this! I often find myself struggling with motivation, time management, fear of failure, and sometimes, if something in my day goes horribly wrong, I lose all interest in the task. This has helped me a lot. Thanks!

jocky

Wow really great tips. I am agreeing with you. Thanks for your great post.

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