9 Reasons Why We Procrastinate and How to Address Them

By Mel Johnson

February 6, 2017   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

why we procrastinate

‘Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone’

~ Pablo Picasso

Procrastination can be one of life’s biggest barriers to success. If we don’t tackle it, it can really prevent us from moving forward towards our goals.

Everyone puts off tasks they don’t want to do from time to time, but chronic procrastinators deliberately look for distractions to avoid these tasks. In this era of technology there are many distractions readily available. When have a task that needs to get done, we can sometimes find we are literally doing anything else other than that task.

Making a cup of tea, checking Facebook, messaging friends, watching YouTube video clips, catching up on some TV or even having a snooze — does that sound familiar? When we are procrastinating, we can find a multitude of things to do instead of getting to work on our important tasks.

There are many different reasons of why we put things off. Let’s look at each one in detail and explore some suggested resolutions:

Too tired

too tired

If we are feeling tired, it is hard to be productive and get things done. When we are wide awake, refreshed and with lots of energy we are less likely to procrastinate. The answer to this is simple. Get great sleep.

See Also: Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping

Overwhelmed by the task

If we feel overwhelmed with what lies ahead, the best thing to do is break down the task into smaller manageable chunks. The task in its entirety may feel huge, but once we have split it down into smaller activities, it is much easier to tackle. To ensure progress, just get to work on the first task. This gets you started and heading in the right direction. The rest of the tasks should follow on more easily from there.

Lacking motivation

If we can’t find motivation to complete what needs to be done, there are two things we can try to help us out. Firstly spend time with awesome people. If you can spend time with people who inspire and motivate you it will help you to find your own motivation. Secondly, prepare a vision. If you know what the bigger picture you are working towards is, it can help you with the journey to get there.

Getting distracted

If you find yourself easily distracted, there are many ways to try to limit these distractions. Sort out your notifications so you limit the amount you are receiving, leaving you to decide when you want to check rather than being constantly notified. Try using an application that blocks website usage. There are a number of different apps out there that range from blocking all usage to those that just block certain sites. Review the environment you are working in to ensure that you have the least number of distractions. The key is figure out what the key distractions you are facing are and then take steps to remove them.

Lack of time

lack of time

We have 168 hours in a week. We need to organize our days and weeks in a way that we can fit in everything we want to do into that time. If you feel you don’t have sufficient time to fit everything in, maybe you just need to reallocate how you are using your 168 hours. Maybe you can spend more time on the things you love by better planning. The more organized you are, the more likely you will be able to fit everything you want to do into your schedule.


At times we might find we have taken on more than we can manage. When you find yourself in this situation, you need to organize and prioritize. If you are overcommitted, you might fall into the trap of not being able to manage anything very well. By prioritizing and focusing on the most important tasks, you can ensure that you make progress and save some of the other activities for a later date. If it is not possible to delay them, you may have to look at what help you can get to complete them or any other ways of getting them done.

Magnifying a task

At times we can make a task seem harder than it actually is. This especially seems to be the case the more we put something off. We can delay starting a task as it seems too big, then the longer we leave it, the more daunting it can seem. The trick is to take the 1st step. Once you start it, you will usually find it was nowhere near as hard as you thought.

See Also: How to Stay On-Task…Every Day

Unclear where to start

It can be tempting to put off a task if we don’t know where to start with it. If you’re not really sure how to complete something you need to do, your first inclination may be to avoid trying. A better option is to chat through your options with someone else until you find the inspiration you need to get started on it.

Not wanting to do the task

It can be very common to put off an activity that you’re not going to enjoy. This happens with many life admin tasks. The trick here is to start with your least desirable task and get it over and done with. Completing your worst tasks first can provide you with great motivation for all the remaining tasks which should then seem much easier.

Try working out which of these areas are stopping you from moving on with what you need to get done and follow the tips to beat your procrastination.


Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson is the founder of Bestselfology a blog about reaching your full potential to become the best version of yourself. You can follow her on Facebook or sign up for one of her Coaching Plans.

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