Scientists have put in a lot of effort to understand why people procrastinate and have made some remarkable discoveries that may be strange and unreasonable. Strangely, Procrastination, a destructive habit, is one of the biggest roadblocks to waking up, making the correct decisions, and living the life you’ve always imagined.
According to recent studies, people regret the things they haven’t done more than the things they have. Furthermore, regret and guilt associated with squandered chances tend to linger for far longer.
All of our opportunities appear to be at our fingertips at times, yet we can’t seem to grasp them. When you procrastinate, you are wasting time that could be spent on something more substantial.
You will be able to do more and better harness the potential that life has to offer if you can defeat this formidable foe. In this article, we are sharing with you some of the strange reasons procrastinators postpone important tasks.
#1 Fear of Imperfection
Perfectionism is generally defined as a desire to be or appear perfect, or even to believe that perfection is possible. It’s usually regarded as a strength rather than a weakness. The term “healthy perfectionism” is sometimes used to characterize or defend perfectionistic conduct. Hence, a perfectionist exhibits signs of perfectionism.
Association with Procrastination
Of the strange reasons procrastinators postpone events to a further date, this is the most shocking. Perfectionism is often accompanied by procrastination. Perfectionists put off tasks as long as possible because they are afraid of not being able to execute them precisely.
This Procrastination originates from the concern that failing to accomplish the objective will reveal something unpleasant, incorrect, or worthless about them.
Furthermore, perfectionists are afraid of being judged or ridiculed if they fail, either by internal voices or external authorities and peers. Perfectionists become procrastinators as they postpone more when they are afraid of failure and ridicule.
Is it wrong to want to be perfect?
Although perfectionism is typically viewed as a desirable feature that boosts your likelihood of succeeding, it can also lead to self-defeating attitudes or habits like procrastination that make it more difficult to attain your objectives.
Perfectionism is often misunderstood as a positive motivation, although this is not the case. Perfectionism might cause you to be dissatisfied with your life. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-harm are all possible outcomes. It may eventually drive you to give up attempting to succeed. Even minor cases can hurt your quality of life, hurting your connections, education, and employment.
Adults and children alike can be affected by perfectionism. Children and teenagers are frequently pushed to excel in school as well as extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, community work, and occupations. This can lead to a success obsession. In the end, it may obstruct one’s ability to attain it.
Depression is characterized by avoidance and ruminating. When people are depressed, they tend to lose interest in the things they used to enjoy. Strangely enough, this gives the individual reasons to procrastinate even in the case of enjoyable activities. Even if a person believes they’d like to attend an event, they may be hesitant to commit because they’re afraid they won’t be able to handle it when the time comes.
How does Depression work?
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a widespread and significant medical condition that hurts how you feel, think, and behave. It is also, thankfully, treatable.
Depression produces unhappiness and/or a loss of interest in previously appreciated activities. It can cause a slew of mental and physical issues, as well as a reduction in your capacity to operate at work and home.
It can be challenging for persons who are depressed to plan out a sequence of actions. Depression is linked to the idea of “what’s the point?” For example, you want to be a parent but think to yourself, “Why would anyone bring a child into the world while we’re ruining it?” If your spending is out of control, you may think to yourself, “Why should I strive to straighten my finances when I have student loans that I’ll never pay off?”
The link with Procrastination
Depression’s social isolation might lead to procrastination while performing tasks that require making phone calls to strangers or meeting new people. The prospect of calling around to find a therapist or a tradesperson to fix your roof could make you feel entirely overwhelmed. Procrastination is a simple habit to develop, especially if you are experiencing depression symptoms.
The exhaustion and hopelessness that people with depression experience make it all too tempting to say, “I’ll simply put this off until tomorrow when I feel better.”
Then deadlines start creeping up on you, and panic creeps in. The despair grows in tandem with the panic. As sadness worsens, so does the need to escape reality.
#3 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness characterized by recurrent unpleasant thoughts or feelings or a strong need to repeat a behavior (compulsions). Obsessions and compulsions can coexist in some persons. Obsessive-compulsive disorder isn’t about destructive behaviors like chewing your nails or obsessing over negative ideas.
The idea that specific numbers or colors are “good” or “evil” is a common obsessive concept. After touching something potentially dirty, a compulsive practice can be to wash your hands seven times. You feel powerless to stop thinking or doing these things, even if you don’t want to.
How OCD can lead to Procrastination
Procrastination is common in people with OCD, and I believe that there are a variety of causes for this. In OCD, avoidance can be considered a compulsion. Someone with OCD may try to avoid a potentially triggering circumstance or, at the very least, delay confronting it as long as possible.
Another factor contributing to procrastination is that many persons with OCD are prone to indecision. It’s so easy to postpone, or perhaps not decide at all, because making the right option is so essential, which gets us back to avoidance.
Because a person with OCD takes action to avoid suffering, the behavior is negatively reinforced, further strengthening his procrastination habits. It’s easy to see how OCD might contribute to procrastination once you grasp the loop. A cycle of uncertainty, aversion, and repetition fuels Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
It begins when you are anxious about an unknown threat, such as disease or death; you take action to keep the threat at bay; and, if that action does not remove your feared consequence with 100 percent certainty, you repeat it until it becomes a compulsive habit.
#4 Fear of the Unknown
As I have mentioned before, Procrastination is deeply rooted in fear of the unknown. It might sound like a strange reason to procrastinate but believe me, the fear of not knowing whether you will succeed is what drives us to postpone our tasks.
Almost all of us have had nagging self-doubt, made unfavorable comparisons between ourselves and others, or felt that we weren’t skilled, smart, or disciplined enough to achieve our goals at some point.
Ironically, these anxieties often turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. Fear of failure has been linked to procrastination, according to research. That is to say, the more fear we have of not attaining our objectives, the less likely we are to act to achieve them. It’s an absurd reaction, yet anyone who has experienced this type of paralysis knows how difficult it is to resist.
#5 Doing Too Much at a Time
While procrastination by definition is “doing too little at a time,” ironically, doing too much can also cause you to postpone a certain activity.
Although studying procrastination can be a tricky subject, researchers are more certain than ever that anxiety coupled with stress would push you to always procrastinate.
“Procrastination is an emotion control problem, not a time management one,” said Dr. Tim Pychyl, a psychology professor and member of Carleton University’s Procrastination Research Group in Ottawa. Dr. Tim argues that procrastination is the mind’s mechanism for implementing behavior to “fix” the pessimistic mood of the individual.
The work or situation determines the procrastination condition. It could be because the task is intrinsically unpleasant, such as cleaning a filthy bathroom or preparing a long, monotonous spreadsheet for your employer. However, deeper feelings associated with the activity, such as self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety, or insecurity, could be the cause.
Procrastinator knows the job is too much but can’t resist postponing
As you stare at a blank document, you might be thinking to yourself, “I’m not smart enough to create this. What would people think of me if I were? Writing is quite difficult. What if I fail miserably?”
These are questions that would randomly start to pop up, slowly seducing you to abandon the task at hand. You can understand why compiling too much work makes you procrastinate. The sight of the hectic workload immediately sends your emotion into a frantic race. Your brain reacts to the negative mood by suggesting that you postpone the task or work for a much more suitable time when you feel better.
A procrastinator’s brief moment of peace is not good
But that day never comes because each time you observe how difficult the work might be, you reboot the negative emotions, thus starting the procrastination cycle again. However, the temporary relief we experience when we procrastinate is what makes the cycle so vicious.
Putting off a chore brings immediate relief — “you’ve been rewarded for delaying,” Dr. Sirois, co-researcher to Dr Pychyl, explained. We also know from basic behaviorism that when we are rewarded for doing something, we are more likely to repeat it. This is why procrastination is more likely to be a cycle than a one-time occurrence, one that can quickly become a chronic habit.
It’s ironic, but it’s true that we postpone to avoid negative emotions and eventually feel even worse. And, once again, evolution is to blame.
Procrastination is an excellent illustration of present bias, which is our natural inclination to favor short-term requirements above long-term ones. “We weren’t created to look forward because we needed to focus on providing for ourselves in the here and now,” said psychologist Dr. Hal Hershfield, a marketing professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management.
#6 Lack of Pressure
A common deceptive ideology found among procrastinators is the “I prefer to work under pressure”. This is what procrastinators resort to when they are face to face with a task that they ought to be doing at that moment. “ah, I would work better when the environment is more intense, and my blood is pumping. I’d just do it later”.
This is a deception that is buried deep in the foundations of procrastination, It is another coping mechanism or rightly put- an escape route for the brain to avoid the task waiting to be done.
One of the main reasons you put off doing anything is to avoid being under pressure. However, there will come a time when you must choose between the lesser of two evils. Which is worse: starting late or not starting at all?
Tell the truth, do you enjoy working under pressure?
You’re probably procrastinating if you wait until you’re almost out of time before rushing to finish. It’s an excuse to work better under duress. How do you perform better when you’re distracted by worry, for example?
Avoiding being under pressure is one of the key reasons you put things off. However, you will have to choose between the lesser of two evils at some point. Which is more detrimental: starting late or not at all?
If you wait until you’re virtually out of time before racing to finish, you’re probably procrastinating. It’s an excuse to work harder when you’re under pressure. When you’re distracted by concern, for example, how do you improve your performance?
The truth procrastinators avoid
You may not enjoy feeling pressed if you postpone, postpone, postpone, and then rush to finish. However, the compounded pressures from delaying, when combined with last-minute pressures, will usually outweigh the lower pressure you escape by postponing. That’s the logical conclusion. However, procrastinators avoid this truth like dirt. No matter how much you avoid this, the truth would hit, and it would hit you hard.
#7 Doesn’t Like Being Bossed Around
Consider the following scenario. Your supervisor has assigned you a task that is either tedious, ordinary, or downright foolish. You believe it isn’t worthwhile. You’re enraged. Perhaps you’re resentful. So you postpone. You put it off because you believe there are more important things to do.
However, you’re overlooking the fact that you’ll have to complete that assignment at some point because the person who assigned it to you is your boss. Anger is a common idea that underpins the Procrastinator’s sentiments of dissatisfaction and rebellious behaviour.
The conviction that “I shouldn’t have to do anything!” lies beneath this rage. The problem is that you will almost certainly have to do it in life. Often seen in agitated teenagers.
Understanding the Defier procrastinator
The Defier is generally described as a procrastinator who wants to break the rules. They create their timetable by postponing, one that no one else can foresee or control. Passive-aggressive is a more subtle term.
Someone who defies authority is someone who despises it. They are often regarded as dissidents. The defier’s instinct is to reject someone who tells them what to do and when to do it.
They will refuse to complete a duty that is imposed on them because they do not want others to have control over their time. The defier has no issue carrying out duties that they want to complete for themselves. The defier, however, would procrastinate when it comes to job duties or favors for their boss.
#8 Fear of Failure
People frequently procrastinate out of fear of failing at the activities they must perform. This fear of failure can encourage procrastination in a variety of ways, including encouraging people to postpone starting a task in the first place or avoiding finishing one.
Someone might, for example, be so afraid that their company concept will fail that they keep working on it endlessly without ever releasing it to the world.
In circumstances when fear of failure is the driving force behind a person’s procrastination, how fearful they are of failing is often proportional to how essential the job in question is, so more important activities are often associated with higher degrees of procrastination.
When Fear Gets Mixed with low Self-esteem
Certain psychological traits, such as low self-esteem and low self-confidence, are linked to a higher fear of failure, making those with these characteristics more inclined to delay.
Furthermore, fear of failure is a particularly major problem for people who have a lot of self-doubts, and especially for people who have negative, irrational views about their talents.
A small note about Procrastinators who are scared to fail
It’s worth noting that fear of failure doesn’t always lead to procrastination. On the other hand, fear of failure encourages procrastination when it decreases people’s sense of autonomy or makes them feel incapable of completing a task they’re frightened to fail at.
Fear of failure, on the other hand, might operate as a motivator for people to avoid delaying when they believe they are well-equipped to handle a certain activity.
#9 There’s No Deadline
People frequently procrastinate on projects that have results that they will only feel a short time after completing the activity since they tend to underestimate the importance of long-term outcomes. Temporal discounting or delay discounting is a phenomenon that is depending on the time of outcomes.
For example, it’s easier to dismiss the importance of getting a good score on a test when it’s still weeks away versus when it’s only days away, which is one of the reasons why individuals put off completing critical activities until the last minute.
As a result, people frequently exhibit a present bias when they choose to engage in activities that reward them in the near term over those that would provide them with superior long-term consequences.
#10 Lack of Motivation
People frequently postpone because they lack the motivation to complete a task. For example, if a student doesn’t care about achieving a good score on a test in a subject that isn’t related to their major, they may procrastinate on studying for it.
This is especially true when the primary motive for completing a task is extrinsic, such as when a student is forced by their parents to do well in school, rather than intrinsic, such as when a student simply wants to feel like they’ve grasped the topic.
As a result, when people are motivated by an external source of motivation to accomplish a task, they are more likely to procrastinate than when they are motivated by an internal and autonomous source of motivation.
There are a variety of different reasons why people are unmotivated to complete a task. People may be unmotivated in some circumstances because they do not value the reward for completing the activity or because there is a mismatch between the task at hand and the incentive that is linked with it.
Finally, keep in mind that various people have varying levels of general achievement motivation, implying that certain people are more motivated and driven to attain their life goals than others. As a result, those with low achievement motivation are more inclined to delay a variety of tasks.
Conclusion: Is There Hope for Procrastinators?
People postpone for a variety of reasons, and one person may procrastinate for several of them. Understanding why others postpone is beneficial because it can help you figure out why you procrastinate as well, which can lead to a solution to your procrastination problem.
You have complete power over whether or not you complete a task. There are a variety of behavioral tactics that can assist you in achieving your goals. These excellent tactics will raise your drive and ability to manage your time effectively. I’d prepare and leave the tips for another article.
If you’re a Procrastinator, don’t give up hope. There’s help; seek it!