By David Joel Miller.
Why do you procrastinate?
Anyone can procrastinate some of the time. Some of us seem to be plagued by more procrastination than others. Procrastination can result in all manner of life problems, from conflicts with spouses to job failure or loss. With so many negative consequences to procrastination why do so many of us procrastinate and why do some of us procrastinate so much?
Six factors appear to be major contributors to procrastination. No one factor seems to be solely responsible and you may experience one or more of theses causes. There are listed in roughly their order of importance based on some rather old research studies but most of us can and do procrastinate for several of the reasons on this list.
1. Fear of Failure fuels procrastination.
As we talk about fear of failure it is easy to see why being afraid you might fail at something would cause you to avoid doing it. Who wants to have to do something that has a high chance of failure?
Fear of failure is a major reason for procrastinating but it is not the only reason.
2. Lack of energy increases procrastination.
Not having the energy results in putting off things we know we should do but just can’t seem to get to. This is the consequence of over scheduling, having just too much to do. Most of us are guilty of trying to do too much in life.
If you can’t say no and you keep taking on projects for others or at their insistence, you can run out of time and energy. Sometimes you just need to rest and that old buddy of yours, procrastination can help by making time for you to rest by putting off things you say you “should be doing” but the reason for doing this is to please others not yourself.
Depression or other physical and mental health issues can also leave you with too few resources to take on that one more task.
3. Task aversion cases procrastination.
It makes sense that we put off things we do not want to do and we do the things we enjoy or at least the things we find less onerous. Not liking something results in it having a low personal priority.
Ever notice you tend to put off the things others want you to do but find the time to do the things that you most enjoy. Most of us do that. Despite the negative consequences, we may experience for failing to do what others, our boss or partner, want us to do. Most of us will do other things first and put off that requested project.
4. Dependency or conformity justify procrastination.
If you find that others requests move to first place, and you are procrastinating about doing things you want to do for yourself, you need to look at your goals and priorities. What are you getting out of sacrificing yourself for others?
Do you fear being different? Conformists avoid criticism. The also do not get noticed. Putting off things that might result in accomplishments may be the result of fear of success making you different from others.
5. Extraversion encourages you to procrastinate.
Extroverts may be procrastinators? Who would have guessed this?
Extroverts like doing things with people and they may go for the fun thing like being around others, attending a party or engaging in social activities, rather than study or do something boring over the weekend.
Extroverts sometimes will put things off because they like to take risks. It is more of a challenge to do the paper the night before it is due. Putting things off adds to that element of risk, that gambler’s instinct, and makes life more exciting.
6. Rebelliousness expresses its self through procrastination.
Who picked this project anyway?
If you need to do something because someone else said so, one way your brain may protect you from domination by others is to forget to do what you were instructed to do.
So why do you procrastinate? Do you do it for one of these reasons, or do you have your own personal reason for putting things off? Research says that you probably procrastinate some of the time. We all seem to do it at least occasionally. If you are a procrastinator like the rest of us, you probably do it for several of these reasons and some others as well.
Until next time, have a happy life. David Joel Miller, LMFT, LPCC
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books
- Fear of Failure Prevents Success (counselorssoapbox.com)