We are all combating procrastination, which can negatively affect our productivity, relationships, and well-being. Procrastination is a chronic problem for around 20% of adults.

Additionally, Darius Foroux’s study of 2219 participants revealed that 88% of the workforce procrastinates at least one hour every day. Moreover, it said a person earning $40k a year wastes 15,000 dollars a day procrastinating three hours.

But why does procrastination occur? And, what makes it so hard to overcome?

Procrastination is not caused by laziness or a lack of willpower, as many people believe. In reality, procrastination is often a sign of something deeper and more profound. This could indicate anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

With that said, it’s time to challenge the conventional wisdom about procrastination. In addition, I will introduce you to a new approach to combating procrastination that will help you overcome it.

Related: The Real Reason You Procrastinate and Expert Strategies to Overcoming It

The Causes and Effects of Procrastination

First, let’s look at procrastination’s causes and why it’s so harmful.

Time management or self-control are often seen as causes of procrastination, but it is more complicated than that. It is often caused by emotional disregulation, in which people struggle to manage their emotions.

It is not uncommon for people to procrastinate when they feel stressed or anxious about a task.

Many reasons explain procrastination, including:

  • Fear of failure. Procrastinators fear failure. Sometimes they are so afraid that they refuse even to start the task.
  • Task aversiveness. In other words, the task is unpleasant, boring, or difficult.
  • Lack of motivation. Some procrastinate because they are unmotivated. There are several reasons for this, including boredom, difficulty, or unimportance.
  • Overwhelm. A task can overwhelm people, so they procrastinate. This happens when a job is too big, complex, or urgent.
  • Lack of self-efficacy. When someone isn’t confident in their ability to complete a task, they delay it until they do feel more confident.
  • Distractions. There are many distractions in today’s world that can make combating procrastination difficult. Among these distractions are social media, the internet, TV, and self-talk.
  • Perfectionism. Fear of not doing a task perfectly causes some people to procrastinate. As a result, they may put off the task until they have the resources and time to do it perfectly.

The consequences of procrastination.

Essentially, procrastination is a means of avoiding negative emotions. In the long run, procrastination leads to more problems, such as:

  • Stress and anxiety. Procrastination often results in stress and anxiety about the task at hand. The result can be headaches, stomachaches, and insomnia.
  • Low self-esteem. It can also damage our self-esteem. Incomplete tasks can lead to feeling incapable or unproductive. You may feel guilty, ashamed, and worthless.
  • Poor performance. Those who procrastinate often do not produce their best work. They have little time to think about the task because they are rushed and stressed.
  • Lost opportunities: We may miss opportunities when we procrastinate because we are not finished with the task.

Related: If You’re Procrastinating, Something is Wrong

The Procrastination Mind Framework

A Procrastination Mind Framework helps people develop strategies to overcome procrastination and understand its underlying causes. According to the framework, procrastination is not just a matter of laziness or lack of motivation. Instead, it results from a complex psychological phenomenon with multiple causes.

In this framework, procrastination is divided into three levels:

  • The emotional level. Fear, anxiety, or boredom are some of the negative emotions that drive procrastination. These feelings can hinder starting or completing tasks, resulting in a vicious cycle of avoidance.
  • The cognitive level. Cognitive distortions can cause procrastination, such as unrealistic expectations, catastrophizing, and self-doubt. As a way of coping with these negative thoughts, procrastination may be used to cope with these distortions.
  • The behavioral level. There is also the possibility that combating procrastination is learned. It may be difficult to break a procrastination habit if we have a history of procrastinating.

It is possible to identify procrastination’s underlying causes at each level using the Procrastination Mind Framework. Identifying the causes will help us develop strategies to address them.

How to Combat Procrastination

Procrastination can be difficult to break, no matter the cause. Despite this, combating procrastination makes it possible to become more productive and fulfilled.

To overcome procrastination, follow these tips:

Forgive yourself.

Everybody procrastinates occasionally. When you procrastinate, don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t give up, just pick yourself up and start over.

According to a study, forgiving oneself led to reduced procrastination during the next task. The act of forgiving reduces negative feelings of guilt. After all, these factors encourage procrastination in the first place.

Identify the negative emotions that trigger your procrastination.

Identifying these emotions will help you develop strategies for managing them. For example, you might try deep breathing or meditation if you are anxious about a task.

Challenge your negative thoughts about your task completion ability.

In order to combat low self-efficacy, you can set small, attainable goals and celebrate your successes.

Break down large tasks into smaller ones.

Overwhelming and daunting tasks can cause procrastination. If you break a big job down into smaller, more manageable chunks, it’s easier to manage.

Set realistic deadlines for yourself.

By setting deadlines, you can avoid procrastination and stay on track. A deadline motivates you to complete the task and encourages you to take action.

Reward yourself for your accomplishments.

Treat yourself to something you enjoy when you complete a task. Keeping motivated and combating procrastination will benefit you.

Create a productive environment.

Your workspace should be quiet and distraction-free. Clear your workspace of clutter and unnecessary items, and make sure it is comfortable and inviting.

Partner up with someone.

See if you can find a friend or family member who also suffers from procrastination. By holding each other accountable, you can stay on track together.

Seek help.

If you are not succeeding at overcoming procrastination alone, you can get professional support. Therapy or counseling can help you determine why you procrastinate and develop strategies to overcome it.

People with ADHD who engage in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) show a reduction in procrastination. Learning to accept negative thoughts or circumstances while practicing healthier behaviors is part of the ACT process.

Just start.

When it comes to overcoming procrastination, getting started is often the most challenging part. Initially, it may seem impossible to keep going, but as you go along, it becomes easier and easier. Just take the smallest steps possible if you feel overwhelmed by a task. It is more likely that you will complete the task once you have started.

For example, force yourself to work on a task for a minute if you’re procrastinating. Most of the time, this is what you need to get started.

Related: How to Master the Art of ‘Just Start’


It is important to remember that you are not alone. It is easy to procrastinate, but we can overcome it.

With time, effort, and the right strategies, combating procrastination can help you start living a more productive and fulfilling life.