Why Do You Procrastinate When You Know It’s Not Helping You? – Part 3

In life, there are many things we should do (i.e., things that are good for us) but we don’t (e.g., exercising, save money, etc.). Conversely, there are things we should avoid, but we do (e.g., smoking, eating junk, overspending, etc.). Procrastination is one of those things we should avoid, but we do anyway. We know it doesn’t serve us, but we sometimes can’t resist its appeals.

In this series, to help you overcome procrastination, I’ve presented four reasons why you might be procrastinating even though you know it’s not helping you:

I want to share one more reason—and it’s a big one—with you.

You’re Afraid

Fear and procrastination often work together. In fact, procrastination loves to show up alongside fear. Because fear has many faces, it triggers procrastination in various ways.

For instance, if you fear discomfort (i.e., pain), you might procrastinate. Like a swimmer standing on the side of the pool afraid to jump in the pool because they don’t want to feel the cold water on their skin, you stay on the side, refusing to tackle tasks head-on. For fear of being uncomfortable, you procrastinate. The same thing happens when you fear rejection (after all rejection is uncomfortable and painful).

Similarly, if you fear failure, you might respond by procrastinating. Like a new driver who, fearing an accident, delays the time when they press the accelerator pedal, you procrastinate and refuse to tackle your task.

But you never forget that nothing happens until you press on it. Choosing to procrastinate is choosing to stagnate. Until you take action, you make no progress.

Linked to the fear of failure is the fear of ridicule: for fear of losing face, you procrastinate. The rationale for procrastinating is that, if you don’t perform the task, start the project, launch the business, or what have you, you can’t fail and be embarrassed. I mean if you don’t write the book, no one can criticize your work and make you feel bad about it. However, no one can benefit from your work either.

No matter what you do, people can ridicule you. You can be crushing it, and people will still deride you and criticizing you. Procrastination only provides you with the illusion of protection. Do what you must and let others think what they want to think.

To avoid losing face, you may also use procrastination as a way to self-handicap: you procrastinate until the last minute so that if you fail, you can blame it on the fact that you started late. And if you succeed, you can appear like a genius (i.e., you succeeded despite the fact that you started late; quite a feat!).

This is another protection mechanism that ends up hurting you. The logic of self-handicapping is faulty logic at so many levels, but suffice to say that, if you’re a genius, you shouldn’t need procrastination to enhance your performance.

Don’t let procrastination fool you; it has nothing substantial to offer you.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.