The definition of procrastinate is to put off until another day or time. Laziness or poor time management skills sometimes comes to mind with the term habitual procrastinator, but how can it be laziness when a person puts off a task like writing a speech to rearrange their pantry or does another task that didn’t need to be done. According to Dr. Fuschia Sirois (a Professor of Psychology at the University of Sheffield) “People engage in this irrational cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods around a task.” So instead of an inability to manage your time maybe you are feeling doubt and insecurity about completing a task or resentment and frustration for having to do the task. Dr. Tim Pychl (a Professor of Psychology and member of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa) says “Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem.” For example, if it is a paper you have to write you may have some negative thoughts like Writing is so hard or I don’t know what to write about. These could be causing you to put that task aside and think about something more pleasant.
We all procrastinate, and we all know it is bad for us so why do we keep doing it? To keep doing it when you know it has negative consequences means we are engaging in irrational behavior. Dr. Sirois says “Procrastination is about being more focused on the immediate urgency of managing negative moods than getting on with the task. The more we procrastinate, the more we compound the negative feelings. Putting off the task provides immediate relief which encourages us to repeat the behavior. So next time you find yourself procrastinating instead of chalking it up to being lazy do a check in with your emotions surrounding the task. Ask yourself, am I having trouble fitting the time in or am I putting this off because I don’t like the way it makes me feel.
Here is a great Ted talk about procrastination, that is very funny!!