Loving “Later”: Why People Procrastinate


“Later” is probably a procrastinator’s favorite word. As long as there’s still time to spare, a task can always be put off. Working out and the whole fitness journey can be done tomorrow. A research paper can be finished later. Calling for roofing installation services can be done later despite the dripping rain.

Procrastination is something we’re so familiar with. At one point, one had to be affected by this habit, but what is procrastination? Probably, a better question is: Why do people procrastinate?

The issue of time-management

Many would contend that procrastination is merely an issue of time management—that a procrastinator simply is yet to master this skill. It’s a matter of self-discipline over impulses. Unfortunately, for procrastinators, the impulses often win. The instant gratification from doing something that seems good at a particular moment satisfies the procrastinator.


Often, the subject of time management revolves around a strict dichotomy of self-discipline and impulses. But researchers have found that emotions play a big role in procrastination. People who deal with backlogs face shame, anxiety, and, most especially, guilt as a result of their decisions. Despite the instant gratification, procrastinators undergo “high levels of guilt — a sign that beneath the veneer of relief, there was a lingering dread about the work set aside.”

Furthermore, other people procrastinate because their current mood does not allow them to accomplish work. Because of this, they put off the work to a later date, in the hopes that they will feel better then.

Man procrastinatingFear of unmet expectations

There could be a big idea that needs fruition. There could be a task assigned to a person because they tend to deliver well at work. These expectations of other people and oneself could result in procrastination since the procrastinator does not want to fall short. Instead of thinking they lack the skills to turn in quality work when they run out of time, they can just say that they didn’t have the time to perform well.

Knowing these, how can one avoid procrastination?

  • Notice your habits and time them. There may be times of the day where your body is more active and other times when it’s the brain’s turn to be active. For example, some artists produce better works at night. Note when this shift is taking place, and take advantage of it.
  • Don’t strain your brain. While there are times that “getting it done” works, sometimes, you just have to listen to your headspace. If you think there’s nothing productive that could come from forcing yourself, do smaller tasks on your to-do list. Then, as you get more accustomed to the “flow,” get onto more crucial tasks.
  • Meditate. When emotions get in the way of accomplishing tasks, one way to regulate them is to bask in the silence and listen to where your thoughts are taking you. You can have breathing exercises to calm you down. Plus, meditation improves your focus and attention span.

It’s easy to have regrets and blame yourself for piling up your workload. However, when you put things into perspective and take it one step at a time, conquering work is a-hundred-percent possible.

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