Procrastination - what is it? Procrastination: causes, symptoms, methods of coping and treatment


2018-03-18 21:41:34




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They're always late with the delivery of operational projects and utilities... They forget to cash gift certificates, and often are not on the planned meeting... About such people we say that they are irresponsible, lazy and unreliable. This is partly true. But the main reason that these individuals do not have time to do all the time is procrastination. What it is, try to understand just now.

What is it?

The Term "procrastination" comes from the Latin word, where pro - means in front, instead, and crastinus-of tomorrow. That is, in psychology, this concept points to the human tendency to continuously postpone “tomorrow” important and unimportant matters, shirking tasks and problems, the avoidance of the fulfillment of the undertaken commitments. Experts say that often this condition becomes a mechanism for combating anxiety, anxiety, when the individual is experiencing that can not cope with the task or fail to complete it. In addition, they identify three criteria on the basis of which procrastination is defined as the behavior of the individual: the delay, the inefficiency and futility.

procrastination what is itAccording to statistics, 20% of people suffer from this psychological problem. For them, the normal operating condition is procrastination. What is it? In simple words, this is a situation when the implementation of the plan a person is distracted by different stuff: wipes computer monitor, removes the paper from the table or reading a newspaper.

The emergence of the phenomenon

Procrastination is often called the plague of the XX century. But actually people were exposed to her many centuries ago. The earliest mention of “postponing for tomorrow the important things” are the sacred texts of Indian society the Bhagavad-Gita, created before our era, as well as quotations from poems of the famous ancient Greek poet Hesiod. However, at that time the concept was not a separate psychological category.


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when did the term procrastinationWhen did the term "procrastination"? It happened in 1977: in the specialized foreign literature first described the phenomenon and gave it definition. And in 1992, began to examine it in detail thanks to the British scientist Noah Milgram, who drew his colleagues ' attention to the problem. As the most striking example, he described the process of writing by students term papers and dissertations: the job starts in a very set time frame when to postpone quite impossible or there was a clear threat never to stop.


If you dig a little deeper, we can draw the following conclusion: such a state of mind and body makes life much easier. So, procrastination: what is it? In other words, this is a simplified version of the existence, when it becomes less stressful and responsible. Experts identify the main symptoms of psychological phenomena:

  1. Enthusiasm And a willingness to put the job.
  2. The Emergence of desire “jump” solutions to global problems.
  3. Fading enthusiasm — moving the case to a later period. The emergence of criticism itself, and consequent justification.
  4. The Decline of motivation continues — the question is postponed to the critical period.
  5. The Problem remains unresolved, or shifted to the shoulders of colleagues. Man admits that is not right.

The interesting thing is that the cyclical nature of procrastination has symptoms, they are the same process steps are repeated with all subsequent cases. The phenomenon is not a disease, sometimes it's just a lifestyle or a banal self-doubt and self-confidence.

Main reasons

A lot of Them. But psychologists were able to identify the main reasons which make a man a chronic procrastinator:

  • Lack of motivation: the unloved work, difficult situation, small salary.
  • Perfectionism and procrastination, when an individual strives to do everything perfectly. He till the last moment considering even the smallest details, it still remains uncertain and unsatisfied by the result. In the end, the problem remains unresolved.
  • Insufficient knowledge and existing skills. Man doubts the correctness of actions, as previously did not, was not faced with a similar problem.
  • Existing phobias. There are a great many: fear of change, fear to fail, to feel disappointment or to hear criticism, and even the flutter of before success.
  • Inability to plan a schedule and distribute a list of cases by category of importance.

procrastination techniqueThe Above factors in most cases lead to the development of this condition. But it should be remembered that depending on the features of the behavior of human nature will manifest and procrastination. Its causes lie deep in the consciousness and can be customized.

The Guise of procrastinators

To determine the most susceptible to this as individuals, psychologists often use the popular method. Procrastination or a tendency to it is diagnosed in such persons:

  1. Gray mice. Such individuals used to be “average” in team. They believe that talents, their inclinations are small, but positive traits are not pronounced. Therefore, they often listen to the opinions of others, influenced from the outside. It is easier to stay hidden than to stand out. They doubt their abilities and knowledge.
  2. Thrill-seekers. Such individuals especially lay everything at the last moment, because I can not live without the adrenaline. They like the feeling when the heart is beating wildly in his chest from knowing that until the time of the decision remain a matter of hours, minutes.
  3. Irresponsible. This so-called nihilists, that simply nothing in this life is not necessary, or cowards, trembling before important decisions or infirm people without the inner core and the lack of elementary skills of self-education.

defeat the procrastination workbookProcrastinators may be other persons in certain circumstances, upbringing and features of character.

What procrastination is different from laziness?

Many equate these two concepts. In fact, laziness and procrastination – are completely different things, although in many ways similar and inseparable. The main difference – activities. If laziness – it is man's desire to do nothing and just rest, lie, sleep, procrastination – activity directed to any detail, if only to avoid the execution of the main global actions. Procrastinators hard to blame that they did nothing, in fact they were busy – just not what you need. Such individuals are justified, that the other, more important issues.

laziness and procrastinationA Canadian scientist pierce steel for many years studied the phenomenon, revealing new facets that were hidden hitherto procrastination. Books written by them, gave the answer to the question of why people prefer to postpone the case indefinitely. To this end, he derived a formula: U=EV/ID, where U – the desire to do something is equal to the product of the expectation of success (E) and value of completion (V) divided by the urgency of (I) multiplied by a personal sensitivity to a particular activity (D). The findings suggest that individuals postpone tasks if they do not bring immediate success-material benefits, praise, promotion. Then there are fans to drag love to live to the current day, hour, moment, and don't care about the future.


Procrastination is not a disease. Despite this, it requires some care, because the aggravation of the problem leads to serious trouble. The struggle with procrastination, or due to a chronic shortage of time the person will be in constant stress and anxiety. The time constraints also causes mental and physical stress. Such an individual may be nervous and angry, as he often forgets to meet their basic needs for food and sleep. He develops a sense of guilt, he loses productivity and in many respects its potential remains undiscovered or unimplemented.

Gradually the person loses the ability to organization. It is late, with difficulty adjusting to changing circumstances, losing control over time, preferring to concentrate on anything but what is really needed. At the initial stage of the development of procrastination, the individual responds aggressively to changes in schedule, constantly shifts the blame for its failure on others. Subsequently, the situation can develop under two schemes: the first – a tense snatch in front of the boundary term, which will lead to complete exhaustion and exacerbation of the problem, the second – it will not succeed, causing depression and poor health.

How to overcome procrastination?

Each case is different. Only after a conversation with the patient, the psychologist can recommend effective methods for the current specific situation. General recommendations are:

  • Be Aware...

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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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