What Causes Procrastination?

It’s essential to know why you procrastinate, and when you finally understand “what causes procrastination,” you can overcome them. 

You can use the tips in this article to break your procrastination tendency and realize your full potential.

If you’re a procrastinator, you’ve thought to yourself, “What causes procrastination in the brain?” at least once, or “what causes you to procrastinate?” These are essential questions to ask since knowing the causes of your procrastination requires understanding where its rooting from.

Similar to trying to bring the poles of a magnet together, procrastination is, for many individuals, a powerful and enigmatic force that prevents them from finishing the most critical and crucial tasks in their lives. Additionally, it can be harmful, leading to sufferers’ poor academic performance, poor job performance, postponement of medical care, and delayed retirement savings.

Implications of Procrastination

The implications of procrastination are extensive, and it is a crippling disorder. What at first seems to be common delay tactics can quickly become contagious and spread to other areas of your life, resulting in postponed doctor’s appointments, poor financial planning, worry, and melancholy.

It is becoming more and more evident that procrastination is a result of emotional problems. The primary claim of this theory is that procrastinators have low levels of distress tolerance. When a task elicits unpleasant emotions, they tend to freeze and withdraw rather than work through their feelings to clear a route. Even if this encourages procrastination, there are other, more intricate variables at work. Let’s look at six different reasons why people procrastinate.

Procrastination will significantly slow down your dreams and goals. It could cause stress and frustration. Time management could become useless as a result. This typically happens at work when activities and projects are continuing. Fortunately, we can learn how to avoid procrastinating if we comprehend its reasons.

What Is Procrastination

Procrastination is putting off a necessary task, regularly choosing more fun options, or completing less essential tasks before more important ones. According to some researchers, procrastination is a “kind of self-regulation failure characterized by the deliberate delay of activities despite potential repercussions. 

People who procrastinate frequently find it more challenging to attain their goals, as evidenced, for instance, by the connection between procrastination and lower academic accomplishment and lower income at the workplace. Procrastination is also linked to several additional problems, including elevated stress levels and deteriorated physical and mental health.

People who purposefully choose to put off a task despite knowing they should. On the other hand, laziness is distinguished by a lack of initiative, interest, and sluggishness.

Types Of Procrastination 

Procrastination can be divided into two categories: active and passive.

The type of procrastination we all associate with is passive procrastination. The majority of individuals aren’t even aware that active procrastination exists. 

A kind of good procrastinator is one who is proactive. They know they operate best under pressure, so they purposely put off doing anything. On the other hand, individuals who act passively are the “negative” procrastinators. These procrastinators delay things until the last minute due to decision-making or confidence difficulties.

Why do We Procrastinate

There are numerous reasons why people put off doing things. It can occasionally be caused by excessive familial pressure or perhaps by having grown up in a strict family. For instance, people may put off undertakings with high parental expectations because they fear rejection or receiving unfavorable feedback.

Procrastination is sometimes thought to be merely an issue of willpower, but the truth is far more nuanced. When faced with a decision, we usually rely on our self-control to drive ourselves to do activities. Furthermore, our motivation, based on the expectation that we will be rewarded for our efforts, can support us in exercising restraint and raise the possibility that we will finish activities on time. But there’s also a possibility that we’ll face many depressing circumstances. Our tendency to put off acting is increased by these circumstances, which have the opposite effect of what motivates us.

Unfavorable situations, such as receiving a challenging task, may cause us to put things off unduly and elicit unpleasant emotions like anxiety and the fear of failing.

What Are The Main Causes of Procrastination

what are the main causes of procrastination

Look over this list and identify which causes of procrastination apply to you if you’re concerned about why you procrastinate yourself. While doing this, try to be rational and sincere with yourself. To combat procrastination effectively, you must be able to identify its underlying reasons.

The belief that we need inspiration or motivation to begin work at a specific moment is one of the main reasons for procrastination.

You might create solutions and techniques for overcoming procrastination after identifying the underlying causes. Let’s examine the most prevalent problems that lead to persistent procrastination so you may begin building the life you desire.

If you’ve been looking for the answer to the question, “what are some causes of procrastination”? Let’s dig in. 

Fear of failing

If “what is the most common cause of procrastination” has been on your mind, read on. Continue reading to find out. One of the biggest reasons people put things off is a fear of failing. Procrastination also serves as a helpful defense when we unavoidably perform below expectations. An emotional reaction to a perceived threat is fear. Usually, the evolutionary response is either flight or fight. Flight refers to the act of avoiding unpleasant duties and unclear results.

Supporting data shows that procrastination associated with failure dread lessens when you are sure about accomplishing your assignment. As a result, fear avoidance behavior is more likely to occur when circumstances are direr.


Procrastination may result from depression. When one is filled with despair, discouragement, and fatigue, even the most minor tasks may be challenging to start and finish. Depression can lead to self-doubt. If you don’t know how to tackle a project or are doubtful of your talents, it could be easier to put it off and focus on other things.

Ruminating, or negative overthinking, is a common symptom of depression, and people who struggle with it regularly doubt their ability to be dependable friends, spouses, colleagues, etc.

Decision fatigue

You may find that you put off even the slightest decisions if you always feel the need to judge.

The abundance of materials at our disposal might make things more challenging. If there were too many alternatives, just picture how long it would take you to decide what to wear or eat. 

Having too many options can lead to procrastination. Decision-making needs mental effort. Anything that requires us to apply our judgment can be postponed. When faced with a difficult decision, you’ll probably put it off out of fear that you’ll make a poor one.


When people can’t react rapidly enough, they delay making judgments. For instance, when a person must first decide on a specific course of action before moving forward with their more extensive plan of action, or when they cannot decide on a course of action. Additionally, it’s important to remember that whenever you have to make a decision, especially if you tend to hesitate, you wind up using some of your mental resources. Therefore, the more judgments you have to make rapidly, the harder it will be for you to control yourself, and the more likely it will be that you will delay making decisions in the future, at least until you have a chance to recharge mentally.

Being a Perfectionist

What causes extreme procrastination? Perfectionists tend to seek perfection from everything. Because of this, perfectionists often put off complex tasks out of worry that they won’t be able to complete them perfectly. 

Perfectionism inclinations occasionally provide a benefit. But if you’re worried that the outcome won’t be ideal, it can be tempting to put off or delay complete tasks. Procrastinators are also more likely to have perfectionist inclinations. If you strive for perfection, you will never succeed. Accept that you will inevitably make mistakes and that nobody should hold you to a faultless standard. Just put your all into it. Consider visualizing yourself doing your task in your mind.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Among OCD sufferers, procrastination is also reasonably common. One theory is a common association between pathological perfectionism and OCD, which causes anxiety about making new mistakes, doubt about whether you are doing anything correctly, and worry about what other people think of you. Due to their propensity for indecision, OCD sufferers usually postpone rather than make decisions.

Resisting Challenges

A task that seems too tricky often causes people to procrastinate. Because they are worried that they won’t succeed, people avoid challenges. They may be overwhelmed with guilt or anxiety and feel unqualified for the activity, which only encourages them to avoid it more.

Avoiding unpleasant feelings may seem like a brilliant idea. On the other hand, actual development frequently feels uncomfortable, if not downright icky. Comfort zones are still a form of confinement for people. They keep running into obstacles, postponing the pursuit of their objectives, and when they do, they spiral out of control when presented with challenges. Because of your fear of failing or being rejected, you put off taking on challenges that would help you grow, such as developing meaningful relationships or pursuing your passions.


Since putting off a task makes someone feel bad, procrastination typically has anxiety as a contributing element. Even if a piece of work initially seems uninteresting, boring is frequently a code word for challenging. People with performance anxiety often overestimate how tough something will be by being overly perfect in their approach.

Wanting to Control Everything

Nothing wrong can happen if you put anything off, right? Regrettably, postponing events won’t be effective forever. When you delay a task, you have the most control over it. This unmistakably demonstrates that the given job isn’t being completed either. Initially, procrastination may give you a sense of control. Still, when time constraints start to make it difficult for you to act logically, this sense of impotence typically changes into one of lack of power.

Lack of Motivation

The procrastinator may find it difficult to start even straightforward tasks.

We may be able to partially explain this using the primitive reptilian brain we still have. We realize that fulfilling the duties mentioned earlier will benefit contemporary society.

On the other hand, the caveman portion of our brain is nourished, hydrated, and sexified; as a result, it sees no reason to exert any additional effort in areas that are not essential for survival—so sitting on the couch and doing nothing. At the same time, watching Friends sounds more attractive than going to the gym.

How Procrastination Causes Stress

Procrastination can lead to various adverse outcomes, from just missing a due date for a significant project to something more severe, like a missed chance that puts an end to a goal. Some of us may be fortunate enough to recognize our procrastination habits early on and make the necessary changes. Long-term effects may impact some people for the rest of their lives.

There are many different reasons why people put things off, many of which are not always clear. Sometimes we simply lack the motivation to finish a task, or maybe we’re attempting to avoid a recurring phobia. If you delay, regardless of the reason, you should take care because it has many more harmful effects than you may realize. There is a solution to the question of “what causes chronic procrastination” if you routinely procrastinate.

People often show concern about “can procrastination be a disorder”? Though it is not a mental disorder, persistent procrastination may be a symptom of other issues. Procrastination has been associated with several mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD.

People receiving treatment for anxiety often struggle with procrastination in their daily lives. The best part is that worry rapidly dissipates, and people start to feel good about themselves and their situation when the right decisions are made. Most people fall somewhere in the middle; almost everyone delays something at some point; others wait repeatedly; here is a look at some guidance on how to stop partaking in this destructive behavior.

What Causes Chronic Procrastination

People who habitually put things off because of issues like fatigue and anxiety consistently exceed their motivation and self-control. To motivate themselves to complete tasks like studying or working, people heavily rely on their capacity to control their emotions. Aside from that, they frequently maintain self-control due to their motivation, enabling them to complete tasks quickly. 

But periodically, people encounter challenges that prevent them from completing tasks, such as weariness and demoralizing factors, including anxiety. People wait to act until the odds are in their favor or until it is too late when the adverse effects outweigh their drive and willpower.

Additionally, impulsivity and distractibility are personality characteristics associated with procrastination, making those with these tendencies intrinsically more likely to engage in the behavior.

You don’t necessarily have a mental health condition if you postpone occasionally. But a variety of diseases have been connected to procrastination. The relationship between procrastination and several mental disorders is broken down in the following table:


Because anxiety and stress might make people more prone to procrastinate, many people may do so. In the same way, avoidance coping can result in high anxiety, fear, and concern levels. It may be easier to doubt oneself, lose confidence, and put off making crucial decisions as a result of this cycle of self-defeating behavior, which exacerbates stress. However, stress can also have a reverse impact. For example, anxiety and ADHD could make a person more prone to procrastination.


Depression frequently manifests as excessive melancholy, reflective thinking, and a lack of activity. Even though a task is straightforward, a depressed person may lack the motivation or energy to finish it.


Patients with ADHD have trouble focusing and finishing tasks. ADHD and procrastination frequently coexist as disorders. In addition, those who have ADHD often seek out the most extensive, brightest, and most recent object to focus on. Studies show that various factors, such as being easily distracted, having a poor sense of time, and having problems starting tasks, particularly when challenging, can contribute to procrastination.

The following are generally the most effective methods for overcoming chronic procrastination.

Find out when you are most productive.

Be mindful while establishing plans that people’s capacity for carrying out particular duties varies depending on the time of day. For instance, if you are aware that scheduling creative chores around midday will make it harder for you to concentrate, you should make an effort to try.

It is best, to begin with, the best or worse aspect.

Others learn that finishing the most challenging task prevents them from delaying over time, while some find that starting the day with the easiest or most fun activity gets them moving. If you find an approach to be successful for you, you can use it.

Develop compassion for yourself

By practicing self-compassion, you can avoid procrastination and all the issues it leads to, including stress. You should work on cultivating three parts: self-kindness, which means being kind to oneself; shared humanity, which calls for understanding that everyone experiences difficulties. Being mindful is accepting your emotions without passing judgment.

How To Overcome Procrastination

how to overcome procrastination

It might be tough to stop procrastinating. Your typical behavior is probably characterized by perfectionism, delinquency, and paralysis (panic). But we are here to assist you. 

You might need to face your procrastination at this point. If you’ve noticed that you’re delaying tasks and harming your life, you’re not the only one. It’s also important to realize that procrastination can be eliminated.

By focusing on your self-care, self-awareness, and self-compassion, you may start to take control of your life.

You must be wondering if we have got an answer to “can procrastination be cured”? 

Practicing these strategies can alter your mindset and end the cycle.

Recognize your procrastination

To stop procrastinating, you must first understand why you do it and its role in your life. If you don’t fully comprehend the source of the issue, you can’t come up with a workable remedy. The key to learning how to stop procrastinating is awareness and self-knowledge, just like with other obstacles. 

You might be putting off a task because you had to rearrange the workflow’s priorities. You are not constantly procrastinating if you have a valid reason to put off a vital duty. But you’ll know you’re probably doing it if you start to put things off indefinitely or change your priorities to avoid finishing anything.

Eliminate distractions

It’s challenging to finish any significant activity when you frequently take breaks to watch films or check your friends’ Facebook status updates. Schedule a period when all external distractions, such as music, television, and social media, are switched off to focus exclusively on the subject.

Determine WHY you are procrastinating

Before you can start to treat your procrastination, you must understand what is causing it.

A lack of organization may exacerbate procrastination. Disciplined people can get through it using effective timetables and organized To-Do Lists. These technologies support work prioritization and deadline management. 

Procrastinators prioritize short-term profits over long-term results and also tend to avoid the stress that comes with the activity. Try concentrating on the task’s goal instead.

Some people are equally afraid of achievement as a failure. They anticipate getting more requests to take on new responsibilities if they are successful. Unexpectedly, procrastinators are frequently perfectionists. If they don’t feel capable of finishing anything, they usually choose not to complete it rather than perform it poorly.

Connect it to a goal

Finding inspiration to proceed is essential, mainly when apathy is present. Consider how doing the task will help you maintain your employment, meet your financial obligations, and advance your charitable goals. Think about how you could complete the task quicker and more effectively than a substitute. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to retire as soon as you had hoped if you leave. Consider the advantages of making an effort itself if the problem isn’t a lack of desire but rather concern about the outcome or success.

Start small

It could seem as though a rock is in your way when a task is postponed. It’s great that you don’t have to launch with a big budget. Studies show that we can solve the issue by starting small. Consider breaking up a task you’ve been putting off. Try to focus entirely on that one act. If you start small, you might find that you can also complete the other things.

If you want to write a novel, you might choose to make an overview, list each chapter and its sections, and then vow to write one paragraph at a time. Chug it down like this, and you’ll feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

Stop trying to be a perfectionist 

Our ongoing worry that we will fail or let someone down also plays a role in our propensity for procrastination. It takes time, perseverance, and inner effort to unravel the patterns of perfectionism, self-worth, and the task at hand. However, the action is worthwhile. In general, your connection to yourself and procrastination can change if you engage in contemplative activity to eliminate those self-limiting beliefs. 

Perfectionism is a way of looking at the world where everything is flawless or defective. If it isn’t perfect, you aren’t finished because people with perfectionistic tendencies frequently wait until something is ideal before moving forward. Or you believe that if the moment isn’t right, you can’t start. It could be challenging to start or finish something if you have an all-or-nothing mentality.

Reward yourself

Recognizing your efforts by treating yourself when you finish a task is essential. Permit yourself to participate in everything you find appealing and fascinating, whether watching your favorite TV show, playing a video game, attending a sporting event or browsing photos on a social media sharing website. A rewards system has a powerful motivating effect on people. As you get ready to work, it makes the task seem less intimidating and more fun. 

Link the result to positive ideas or sentiments

We typically allow our emotions to get in the way of accomplishing our goals rather than using them to our advantage. Don’t be afraid to speak provocative ideas and change negative emotions into positive ones. If you’re feeling anxious, visualize finishing the task and experiencing satisfaction, joy, or simple relief. Only one’s feelings and thought processes distinguish between unhappiness, worry, and eager anticipation. Consider how you might characterize success despite your setback. You’ll feel better if you spend some time supporting more upbeat viewpoints. You can raise your mood by focusing on pleasurable alternatives.

Take Away

Procrastination is a significant issue that you can either address or lessen. You must first identify “what causes procrastination” before choosing and putting into practice effective anti-procrastination tactics that will address those causes and help you stop procrastinating.

Keep an eye out for procrastination that adversely affects you, leading to strained relationships, more significant psychological stress, or substandard performance.

Look for tried-and-true techniques that address the root of the issue. Make a variety of procrastination-busting strategies so you may always choose the one that seems practical and suited for the situation.

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