10 Reasons – Why do people procrastinate?

I have been talking about different learning techniques and various barriers which hinder the process of effective learning from quite a some time now. One of the most crucial and widely accepted barrier which I would like to share in detail is “Procrastination”. Someone rightly said “Procrastination is a grave in which opportunity is buried”. This article is inspired by one of my all time favorite book “What our habit reveal about us” as it is beautifully described there.

Stop nagging me, I will do it. How many times have you said it or heard it at some stage of your lives, only to remember a week later that we still haven’t done what was required?

Procrastination is almost endemic amongst the human race, with one in five people being classified as chronic procrastinators. Internet has made it even more worst as it is so much more fun to check your emails , go gaming, view in a few web pages, enroll in yet another dating sites or head for the chat room. Rather than increase our productivity, 45% of the time we spend online is to avoid actual working. Which is a huge dent in the work life of an average employee. Time management and procrastination are related but not to an extent that one might assume. In fact low self esteem is the most significant trait of the procrastinator, which leads to larger ego. Lets understand this better. In order to compensate for feelings of inadequacy one needs to inflate oneself. To do this our ego creates a world where it can thrive, at the expense of our higher self. Most of us suffer from low self -esteem in some area or another. Why do procrastinators procrastinate?

10 Reasons for Procrastination


Here procrastinator believes that he or she will meet the deadline and convince themselves and people around them into false sense of security.

Crisis Management

In this situation procrastinator is addicted to thrill and adventure in their lives. They enjoy deadlines and here procrastinator pacifies him/ her self with phrases like, ‘I work best under pressure’ or’when the going gets tough, the tough get going’.

Self -deception

This is just like false optimism , where procrastinator seldom admit to be a procrastinator instead always find a perfectly justifiable excuse for not completing the task. One needs to look yourself in emotional mirror and ask yourself for the reason of delaying things. And then text to each replies brutally by being honest even though it may feel uncomfortable but that is the part of process.

Fear of failure

Sometimes a desire of perfection leads to procrastination. In this situation one looks outward for a reason why he/she has not done the task and indulge in self pity. Our fear of failure causes us to resist to start anything new, as it may involve failing. Rather than confronting this reality we procrastinate.

Control and manipulate

In this a person feed his/her ego by making everyone realize just how much they need him/her and how important he/she is for the task. They deliberately delay the task, especially in a task where they have a key role in the outcome.

Guilt feeling

Here a person makes his guilt an excuse for not starting something. Feeling guilty for letting others down or for not meeting deadlines can become a good place to wallow if one choose to. A person fear of repeating bad experience, ridden with past guilt, they hold themselves back from enjoying any new task. Due to this they do not enjoy the process of working leads to resistance.

Thinking inferior about the task

In this particular situation a person’s ego lead to a thinking that the task which is assigned to him/her is too inferior. Therefore, rather than actually doing it , which they think is belittling for a person in their position, they avoid doing it. If they do and fail, they might have to confront with their own inadequacies, which they are trying hard to conceal.

Resistance to change

We have to change if are to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually, yet we procrastinate doing so with every part of ourself and create more baggage to hold us back. Change brings fear but we forget one thing that change is the only think which is constant and ought to happen, so the earlier we accept the better it is for us.

Learning to say NO

This is an issue born of low self esteem, we want to please or gain others ‘ approval. We feel guilty of saying NO. This way we put ourselves under enormous pressure and stress. This habit of accepting mire and more work which we have little hope of completing leads to delay.


This is another way of building up resistance to doing the job. This can be better explained with the examples. You must have heard people saying ‘ what right he/she has to tell me what to do?’, Relax, stop getting hassled, its not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen.’ By not complying , a person demonstrate to the other person that he/she is not someone who can be pushed into submission. Try asking your nine year old to tidy his/her room and you may well be met with the reaction.

We have been brought up to believe that, before we do anything whether its an art, engineering or baking, we need to have done some sort of course or degree. Only then will we have the required skills. As a child, this was learnt behaviour, we still carry this concept over into adulthood and it frequently holds us back from initiating anything.

According to Carolyn Myss, ‘If you have the inspiration, you have the talent’, this block over lack of skills is a huge inhibitor when it comes to making a concept a reality. Many worthy dreams are never fulfilled because of it. He also said, Find what you are most afraid of doing and then do it. By doing so, we grow in leaps and bounds, and so does our self esteem.

In my next article I will be discussing about how can you stop procrastinating so stay tuned.


20 Replies to “10 Reasons – Why do people procrastinate?”

  1. Great great post and loved the way you had explained all the reasons. I believe it is always about having a willingness or liking towards particular task . If someone like to perform it then there is no way that he/she will do act of procrastination. Looking forward for next post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are some really valid points. I am guilty of procrastination and I think it does stem from the fear of failure. Another great point that you mentioned is the way we are conditioned to believe that we need to do a course to do something.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That was a really insightful post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as i am surrounded by quite a few subordinates who are procrastinators. This has helped gain good perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Procrastinations usually seen as laziness but there are many other reasons for procrastinating something. It is very important to know the reason in order to handle it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes you’re so bang on right. Fear of failure is actually what I am worried about too. People have put me down so much. And I wasn’t encouraged to follow my heart and find my passion. I had to just realise and fight my way through.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am big time procastinator and sometimes I am just being lazy or feel running out of time. But yes I also feel sometimes that I fear failure. Great pointers and inspired me also.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! I had no idea that 20 percent of people are chronic procastinators! Quite a statistic! I guess everyone procrastinates at some point or the other, but it’s important to know when to come out of it. I usually procrastinate when I am being lazy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As you are rightly mentioned procrastination is like a plague of mind. We believe what we are doing is right which isn’t always true. A simple habit of delaying the task could have a use impact in our normal behaviour , indeed a very insightful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Quite insightful this post was. I am a queen of procrastination and have been working on removing this habit of mine but the lockdown has rather worsened it for me. I am saving this post and surely going to implement the points mentioned here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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