Procrastination is like a lawn of grass.
You may think that the grass is gone after you mow the lawn. But a few weeks down, they’ll grow right back.
If you want to completely remove them, you’ll have to make sure that you remove the roots.
The scene is not much different in case of your procrastination.
Unless and until you start addressing the root causes, your procrastination will remain intact. Procrastination is not completely bad if you know the ways to procrastinate productively.
This post will help you identify the emotional roots behind why people procrastinate and suggest you actionable tips to tackle them.
Psychologically speaking, procrastination mainly occurs due to the feeling of vulnerability.
When you are afraid of being insecure, you procrastinate.
We’ll discuss this further in detail. But before that let me answer a doubt you might have in your mind.
Is Procrastination a Problem?
Yes, procrastination may create significant problems in a person’s life. A majority of these problems can be labelled into two main categories:
1. Internal Consequences
This consists of the majority of emotional problems people undergo due to their procrastination.
They might not show any signs of their emotional problems externally. On the outside people may consider them as highly successful.
But on the inside, however, they will be suffering emotionally because of not achieving things they think they would’ve if they didn’t procrastinate.
2. External Consequences
People also suffer from external set backs due to their prolonged procrastination.
This may range anywhere from getting a small fee penalty to losing close relationships just because they procrastinated.
Fears Behind Why You Procrasinate
When I asked a few students, “Why do you procrastinate?”, their answers had a common theme in them.
“I don’t want to be imperfect.”
“I don’t want to risk it and fail miserably.”
“What if I can’t do it right, I don’t think it’s still worth doing.”
“What if people won’t like me if I showed them who I really am?”
Now what do you think do all these answers have in common?
They all have some sort of fear in them. Let’s try to break that down.
1. Fear of Failure (Of Being Imperfect)
Fear of failure or being imperfect is one of the major reasons so as to why people procrastinate.
Some people believe that what they produce is a direct reflection of their abilities.
And they use their level of abilities to calculate how worthwhile of a person they are.
So indirectly they are indicating that they’re only worth as much as their performance. This sense of self-worth affects their emotional satisfaction a lot.
What we said above can be translated to the following equation.
Performance = Abilities = Self- Worth
This makes them procrastinate on their tasks because the less time they focus on their tasks, the more likely that they’re going to under perform.
Then they’ll have a reason to say why they couldn’t perform well.
“I didn’t have enough time.”
You introduce procrastination into the equation and that makes you comfortable and less vulnerable.
2. Fear of Success
It’s easy to identify the desire for success than the fear of it.
Procrastinators can actually be afraid of the perils of success. It may sound odd, but have you been in a situation where you were so over appreciated for something that it made you reluctant to try it again because of anxiety?
The common reasons why procrastinators avoid success can be categorised into three:
1. Success demands great efforts
People procrastinate on committing to a single goal just because they’re afraid of the consistent efforts they’ll have to contribute in order to maintain their success.
2. Achieving success might hurt someone
Your success may cause someone to feel bad about themselves because of the little amount of output they produce compared to yours.
This thought can cause you to hide your success in front of others.
The fear of being criticized also comes under this category.
3. Feeling that you don’t deserve success
Procrastinators often find in them a basic fault which they assume makes them less worthy of success.
This is often just a constructive idea rather than a fact.
3. Fear of not being in control
Ever delayed working on your assignments till the day before submission?
Procrastinating in such a situation can make you feel like you’re in control and there are no rules restricting your actions.
This fear is therefore a battle, a battle for control. Let’s try to break this further.
Breaking the rules
It is hard to play by the rules. Sometimes people may get so restrained by the rules and regulations set by someone that they delay a task subconsciously and feel satisfied for doing that.
Crushing the hierarchy
If there’s a hierarchy of positions and you’re not at the top, you’ll procrastinate due to the helplessness you feel because of someone’s authority over you.
Procrastination can help you restore your confidence by making you feel like a rebel who has the power to stand up against your superior.
Overcoming the intrusion of privacy
Procrastination can also arise when you feel like someone is intruding into your privacy.
While working on this post, a call centre representative of a famous organization contacted me requesting to become an affiliate of their company.
Although I loved the idea of working with them, the fact that I was working on this post made me say no to guy.
But his persuasion made me say yes in the end. However, I recently noticed that I haven’t completed the process which I had to, in order to become an affiliate.
Instead, I procrastinated. It is most likely because of the person’s intrusion.
Sometimes a simple request can make you feel like your privacy is being intruded.
4. Fear of Separation
People may become too much dependant on others that they fear to make decisions on their own.
For example, students who were too much supported during their high school years would find it difficult to handle college life on their own.
This is because they’ll have to rely on themselves during college and make independant decisions which they might feel like an overwhelming task.
5. Fear of Intimacy
Anxiety is another major reason behind your procrastination.
While people with the fear of separation tries to be close with their relations, people with the fear of intimacy try to stay away from them.
They find having a distance between relationships much more comfortable.
They like to be in their comfort zones and therefore have a hard time shifting between jobs and relationships.
These 5 fears are the root causes why you procrastinate
Eliminating them can be hard but it is not certainly impossible.
While procrastination is a good way to feel instant gratification and has benefits of its own, in the long run, its effects can be quite devastating.
Try to spot these fears when you’re procrastinating and stop them slow and steady.
If you have any doubts please let me know through the comments.