The Psychology Behind Why You Procrastinate And How To Break That Habit



If you’re stuck in the cycle of procrastination, guilt, and chaos, understanding why you procrastinate is the first step to changing your behavior. Let’s get started!

In the never-ending battle against procrastination, many often chalk it up to plain old laziness. But experts, like clinical psychologist Jenny Yip, urge us to think differently. Procrastination, she says, isn’t the same as laziness.

Laziness is about having zero desire to tackle a task, while procrastination stems from the anxiety and trouble that the task brings, making it difficult to dive in.

Why You Procrastinate?

Psychologist Linda Sapadin categorizes procrastinators into four types: the perfectionist, the dreamer, the worrier, and the defier. While these categories aren’t backed by research, they provide valuable insights into why people procrastinate.

Perfectionists set impossibly high standards for themselves, leading to daunting tasks that are hard to start. Worriers seek constant reassurance and are indecisive, often fearing criticism or failure. Both these types share a fear of not measuring up.

Dreamers, on the other hand, dislike the nitty-gritty details of tasks and prefer grand ideas, often thinking fate will intervene. Defiant procrastinators tend to rebel against expectations and authority, diminishing their motivation.

How To Break That Habit of Procrastination

  • To overcome procrastination, it’s essential to challenge these beliefs and behaviors. For perfectionists and worriers, recognize that perfectionistic standards are unrealistic, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Set time limits and stick to them.
  • Dreamers should learn to differentiate between dreams and goals, asking the crucial what, when, where, who, why, and how questions and creating a timeline for each step.
  • For defiers, open communication with authority figures can be empowering. Rather than passively resisting, engage in constructive conversations to find solutions.
  • Addressing procrastination isn’t easy, especially if it’s rooted in deep-seated issues. Sometimes, seeking professional help from a psychologist might be necessary, especially for those whose self-esteem is fragile.
  • Visualization can be a powerful tool. By picturing yourself completing a task, it becomes more achievable because you have a mental image of its accomplishment.

Ultimately, conquering procrastination is about belief. If you believe you can overcome it, you’re on the right track. Procrastination is not about laziness but rather about understanding yourself and developing strategies to break free from its grip.

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