Psychological reasons for procrastination

Procrastination Psychology: What are the psychological reasons for procrastination?

What is procrastination?

Procrastination psychology is when people often delay or put tasks off because they are afraid of failing at the tasks that need to be completed. There are many psychological reasons for procrastination. The fear of failure often makes people procrastinate. Procrastination also involves a wide range of other problems such as stress and mental and physical health issues. This is also why people claim Procrastination kills dreams.

There is also an Edward Young Quote – Procrastination is the thief of time.

Procrastination Psychology: Psychological reasons for procrastination
Procrastination Psychology: Psychological reasons for procrastination. Source: Tiny Buddha

What are the psychological reasons for procrastinating?

If you’re wondering why you procrastinate, here is a list of psychological reasons that will help you figure out what the issue is and will help you decide on how to overcome these.

Abstract goals

Having abstract goals is one of the few psychological reasons for people to procrastinate. In addition, more than clear objectives, other factors can be used to make a goal more reachable. For example “get fit’ and “lose weight” is a vague way of thinking that could get you to procrastinate. But things like “go to the gym, work out from 9-12, and eat a healthy diet” is a clearer and approachable goal.

Rewards that are far into the future

Moreover, according to procrastination psychology, people often procrastinate when they only get rewards far into the future and not right after they’ve done a certain task. For example, most people wait until the last moment to study for an exam, why? because they know they have more days until the exam and tend to sit back and relax until the last few moments. In addition, the same concept applies to punishments, meaning, the further the punishment is in the future, the more they delay the workload.

A disconnect from our usual self

A phenomenon known as temporal-self discontinuous is a psychological reason for procrastinating as they see their future self as being disconnected from reality. For example, to various people, feeling detached might imply different things. You can feel as if you’ve lost interest in things you used to enjoy. You may feel stuck and unsure of what you want to do with your life. Day after day, it can feel like you’re just going through the motions.

Here are 18 ways you can stop feeling disconnected.


Another procrastination psychology is indecisiveness. People sometimes procrastinate because they cannot make the right decisions in a timely way. For example, a person may delay having a diet because they don’t know which diet plan to follow, or someone may delay writing a novel because they don’t have the right ideas for it. Indecisiveness, also known as decisional procrastination is another psychological reason for procrastination.

Feeling overwhelmed

Another psychological reason for procrastination is when someone feels overwhelmed on projects they need to handle. Overwhelming feelings can come from various issues like having too much to do, or that something takes too long to complete. When this happens, most people tend to neglect their duties, or may attempt to try to complete them, but feel too tired to finish them.


People often tend to procrastinate when they get anxious too. For example, a person may avoid checking their bills just because they’re anxious about how they will pay it all off. This is a common issue for many.


These are all the main psychological reasons for procrastination. If you are experiencing one of these or don’t have any idea of how to overcome it, there are many ways to do productive procrastination. This will help you leverage it to make maximum use of your time.

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