Psychology

Why do People Procrastinate



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I was going to write to this subject earlier, but I never got around to it.  Something always came up.  Okay, now that I've bowled you over with my humor, let's talk turkey.  Actually, I think there are several reasons why some people have a tendency to put things off until the last minute.  The obvious, and perhaps least accurate, reason is laziness.  Now, true, for some people it may be true that procrastination buys them time to screw around on the front end of a project.  I think a truly lazy person would try to get the work done for the purpose of being lazy later, or just not complete the task at all.  When I think of procrastination, I think of getting the job done, but waiting until the end to do it.

I think true procrastintors fall into one of two categories.  There are people who cannot manage time.  I sometimes fall into this category.  It seems no matter how much you try to plan; no matter how much preparation you make; no matter how much thinking ahead you do, some little something has to get in the way of a well-timed plan and make for a rushed finish.  That would be the story, anyway.  A really well thought out plan allows for those contingencies as well.  If someone is really not a procrastinator, this kind of bad timing won't interfere with the finishing of a project or task.  Some people are good at managing time and some aren't.

There are other types of procrastinators.  These people actually operate best under that kind of pressure.  I don't know that they necessarily put things off on purpose.;  Frankly, it almost seems as if it's innate in them to put things off.  These are people who will get the job done and they'll do it well.  They just always seem to get it done at the last minute.  I used to know a nurse.  She would get all worked up about the smallest details.  We were working in a psychiatric facility, where it's really good to keep your head about you.  Carol would always get the job done.  She just worked best under that kind of self-induced pressure.  Now, though procrastination wasn't Carol's problem, per se, I use that as an example of operating under pressure.  That's what Carol did.  That's what procrasinators do.  The self-promoted stress actually helps them do the job better.

So, why do people procrastinate?  Is it laziness?  Is it poor time-management skills?  Do they just operate better under pressure?  It might well be any of these or some combination of them.  Whatever the reason, procrastinators sure like to make things interesting.  

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