Procrastination: Everything You Need to Know and How To Stop!

Want to beat procrastination? Today we’ll be going over what procrastination is, why we do it, and the negative impact of procrastinating.

The purpose of this guide is to help you understand why we procrastinate and actions to take to help you stop procrastinating.

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is the act of delaying an important task, usually by focusing on an easier, or more enjoyable activity.

According to Timothy Pychyl, a procrastination expert, procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem.

And if you are familiar with the term, “Present Bias” you might agree with Pychyl.

Present bias is the habit of putting a greater value on the reward received in the present moment instead of receiving the same in the future.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Remember the time you thought you had a time you decided not to work out because you “didn’t feel like doing it right now”?

One of the greatest factors contributing to procrastination is the belief that you need to feel motivated to work on a task at a particular time.

Also, sometimes you may assume that a project won’t take as long to finish as it actually will, and this can lead to a false sense of security.

The reality is that if you wait until you are in the right time frame to do certain tasks, the “right time” may never come along.

10 Causes of Procrastination You Should Be Aware of.

  • Believing that you work better under pressure.
  • Lacking the drive to start.
  • Pausing/ delaying one task in favor of working on another.
  • Waiting for the right time.
  • Need for perfection.
  • Thinking a lot or not thinking at all.
  • Lacking self-compassion.
  • Unrealistic views of your future self.
  • Inability to prioritize.
  • Getting distracted.

Types of Procrastination.

Some researchers claim that there are two main types:

Passive Procrastinators

These individuals delay a task because they find it difficult to make a decision and follow through.

Active Procrastinators

These individuals delay a task intentionally because doing it last minute makes them feel “motivated and challenged”.

There are also procrastinators based on behavioral types.

Characteristics of Procrastinators.

  • Low self-esteem.
  • Low agreeableness.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Low self-efficacy.
  • Sensation seeking.
  • Neuroticism.
  • Lack of vision.
  • Lack of organization.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Lack of vision.
  • Poor communicator.
  • Unapologetically late.
  • Setting unclear and unreachable goals.

 The Negative Effect of Procrastination on Your Brain.

The reason why we procrastinate differs from person to person and is not always obvious.

Sometimes you procrastinate because you aren’t motivated to do a certain task.

The negative effect of procrastination could be short terms such as missing the deadline on an important project, or long-term such as missing a life-changing opportunity that could help you achieve your dream.

What Happens When You Procrastinate Too Much?

The reason why people procrastinate is that it sometimes feels great.

And, as you will see in this video by Science Insider, procrastination isn’t so great for your brain because it causes your limbic system, and your prefrontal cortex to start a literal head-to-head match.

We get it, doing work isn’t always an easy or fun task.

But by choosing to do tasks that you consider fun such as watching TV over cleaning your room, you’ve launched a terrible battle in your brain.

Procrastination: Feelings VS Self-Love.

Just because it feels good doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you.

“The lower levels of self-compassion among chronic procrastinators suggests that treating oneself harshly, with self-blame, criticism, and a general lack of kindness and acceptance after failure to do intended tasks may contribute to the stress linked to procrastinating and further affect well-being and potentially physical health “_Fuschia Sirois, Ph.D., University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Sirois explains that serial procrastinators are stuck in a vicious cycle, in which the thought of previous uncompleted tasks haunts, paralyzes, and stops them from completing present tasks.

5 Steps to Help You Quit Procrastinating Now.

  • Forgive yourself for past procrastination by learning how to stop self-sabotaging.
  • Redefine what success means to you (i.e. waking up by 7:30.a.m instead of 10. a.m.).
  • Get rid of any potential distractions by learning the power of focus.
  • Take periodical breaks from work.
  • Break your tasks into smaller sub-tasks it makes it easier to manage.
  • Build a personal development plan. And, always start your day by writing down things you need to do.

Use the 2-Minute Rules to Stop Procrastinating.

If an action will take less than two minutes, it should be done at the moment it’s defined. _David Allen, author of the time management book, “Getting Things Done”.

Often it’s the small tasks that pile up in your To-Do lists that make you feel overwhelmed.

Tidying your desk, walking the dog, or doing the laundry are tasks that take about 120 seconds (or less).

But when you ignore them, they pile up and become a laundry list of chores that you continually put off.

Next time, when you start a new habit it should take less than two minutes to do. You can start (and complete) anything within two minutes:

  • Cleaning the entire house at once becomes, “doing laundry”.
  • Writing a summary each day becomes, “write one sentence”.
Image showing 2-minute rule works
2-Minute Rule

It’s a great strategy to help you form and stick to good habits. And very useful for achieving and mapping your goals.

Why does the 2-minute rule work? Learning to show is important, doing so regularly will make you easily stick to a new habit.

Want to start achieving your goals today? Take our free course on Building Your Personal Annual Plan!

Summary on How to Stop Procrastinating.

At first glance, procrastination may not seem so bad. But over time the effects can increase, leading to stress, low self-esteem, and anxiety.

The best way to avoid procrastination is to develop time management strategies.

While everybody may procrastinate now and then, not everyone is a procrastinator.

If you find yourself struggling with procrastination aside from the steps shared in this guide, cognitive behavioral therapy may help.

Research shows that behavioral therapy reduces procrastination more than other interventions.

Getting People Right (GPR) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in human resources and leadership. 

To keep evolving your leadership toolkit, additional GPR resources below will be useful

How to Stop self-sabotaging yourself. A complete guide.

Time Management Strategies to Buy Your More Time.:

The Power of Focus: How to Hit Your Business, Personal, and Financial Targets with Absolute Confidence and Certainty.

Building Your Personal Development Plan.

Recommended Resources:

Uncover your strengths and weaknesses with our complimentary assessment. Boost your effectiveness at work and with your team.

Free Resource Library: Access our extensive collection of valuable resources for instant support in your personal and professional growth.

Explore Our Course Library:

Enhance your leadership skills with our diverse selection of courses. Take your abilities to the next level and become a more effective leader and team player.


Our Clients Love the Professional Leadership Institute

Your team will, too! Check out some reviews from our students.
The PLI program was invaluable to our network.
The range of topics delivered, the open dialogue, experience, and examples that PLI brought to each session were outstanding and provided a path for our Franchisees and Managers to look at leadership, coaching, and connecting with their teams in a new light. Many have implemented these strategies in their bakeries and have seen immediate results.
Michelle C.
COBS Bread
Highly recommend to help your team move forward
We have locations around BC and Alberta, so getting people on the same page can be very difficult... Until now. Our entire management team and location managers take the same great courses and then meet monthly online with our coach to apply it to our situation. People are engaged, the courses are excellent, we love our coach, and we are all learning together!
Jason Fawcett
President, Kelson Group
The result has been a transformation of our culture. 
We decided to implement PLI's strategies across the country in over 150 locations and over 3500 employees.  The result has been a transformation of our culture.  People's lives have been positively impacted - professionally and personally.  Morale is high and sales and profits are up as a result.
Daryl Verbeek
Daryl Verbeek
We’ve learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all
The roadmap laid out set our business up to quintuple in sales.  We've learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all, attract top talent, and spend our time focused on results, not internal staffing problems.  I highly recommend PLI to you - it's worked for us!
John DeJong
Satisfied Client
I had no idea that running a business could be this fun!
In less than 18 months of working with Trevor, he has transformed my business from being average to exceptional, where mediocrity is not acceptable, where being great is standard.  Working with PLI has allowed me to realize my dream of not simply owning a job, but owning a business.
Justin Bontkes
Principal, Caliber Projects
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year with Trevor’s help.  He is funny, relatable, and his tools are very very practical and have helped us focus and upgrade our teams throughout our retail network. Trevor recently spoke to an employee group, and one person remarked, “I could listen to Trevor all day.”   We would highly recommend Trevor.
Stan Pridham
Founder, KMS Tools
The results have been remarkable
At first, we resisted, “This just won’t work with a law firm.” But we persisted and the results have been remarkable: our client base and profits have steadily improved, and staff engagement and morale is the healthiest its ever been.
Doug Lester
Partner, RDM Lawyers
Helped our fast-growing business become what it is today
I've experienced PLI's approach first hand and it's been crucial to sustaining our growth.  I can't imagine a business that wouldn't benefit greatly from his help.
Brian Antenbring
Founder, TEEMA
Provided practical ways to make positive changes
Trevor was incredibly well-received by the entire organization. He was able to articulate people issues that many of our franchisees were experiencing and provided them with practical ways to make positive changes. We have implemented the Star Chart tool across the organization and see it as vital to building happy, effective teams.
Aaron Gillespie
President, COBS Bread
Scroll to Top

Start Learning Today

For Individuals

Unlock your potential and accelerate your career with sought-after management and leadership skills.


Transform Your Organization

For Teams

Book a consultation to discuss your challenges and discover how we can help you build a winning team.


Sign Up For Weekly Tips!

Get Weekly Coaching Tips Straight To Your Inbox Every Monday.