Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

The causes of procrastination


procrastinationProcrastination is a behavior involving the delaying of actions to a later time. Procrastination is a way of coping with anxiety that is associated with starting or completing any task/decision. Researchers also have three criteria they use to categorize procrastination. To be “procrastination,” it must be counterproductive, needless, and delaying.

Importantly, while people procrastinate in order to avoid the pain of taking on, or completing, a task, they are not comfortable with the outcome. Thus, rather than relief at having postponed what needs to be done, they feel uncomfortable, sometimes miserably so.

Procrastination may result in guilt, the loss of productivity, and the disapproval of others. These promote further procrastination. It is normal for people to procrastinate to some degree. Chronic procrastination may be a sign of an underlying psychological or physiological disorder.

In adulthood, however, behaviors such as obstinacy, procrastination, disobedience, carelessness, negativism, dawdling, provocation, resistance to change and blocking communication from others, are ways of expressing anger and resentment.

Importantly, the chronic indirect expression of anger, in these ways, is obviously self-destructive since it disrupts relationships, interferes with productivity, and places one at risk for failure.

Posted by Dr. D. B. Adams in Emotional Factors at 19:39 Tuesday, May 26. 2009

National Institute of Mental Health

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