top of page

The 4 Hidden Causes of Procrastination

Did you know that procrastination ISN'T a time management problem, it's an EMOTIONAL management problem?

Yup, you don't procrastinate when you're lazy or don't have enough time, you procrastinate when you're overwhelmed, anxious, or fearful.

Understanding psychological root causes of behavior is the first step towards personal freedom.

So, here's the breakdown on each of these 4 reasons you're procrastinating:

1️⃣ "I don't know where to start."

-It's not that you don't know where to start, it's that you're struggling to plan step 14, before you take step 1.

This is a result of feeling the need to be in control.

You've learned that when you're not in control, things aren't done correctly and people get hurt.

So you feel everything must be planned, in order to mitigate any risk of getting lost, doing a poor job or mis-stepping.

This is why you're procrastinating.

You're caught in analysis paralysis.

2️⃣ "I feel unprepared."

- Self doubt is a useful tool for analyzing where you need to gain competency.

But self doubt that cripples you in inaction, despite evidence of past success, points to imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome, very simplified, is doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud, or that you don't deserve the success you have.

You're procrastinating because you don't feel capable enough, or the task difficulty doesnt match with your perception of your own skill.

Sometimes this mismatch between task difficulty and resources is real. Often times, it is a cognitive distortion, wherein you're projecting your own feelings if inadequacy onto the possible outcome of failure.

3️⃣ "I'm afraid of failing."

-Fearing failure isn't the problem, it's allowing the fear to stop you from start that is what we're trying to address.

In order to develop a relationship with fear in which you work with it, instead of being controlled by it, you need to face the scary possibility you're imaging in your head.

When you fear failure, you really fear what failure means about you, your ability and your intelligence.

4️⃣ "I've spread myself too thin."

-Often times we fill up our schedules with important things that nonetheless are being used to avoid the one or two most important things that would really matter and move the needle for our business, relationship or career.

This is why you catch yourself feeling restless when you rest, because it gives you time to realize you're doing busy work and avoiding both the more uncomfortable emotions, and the uncomfortable tasks.

Staying in this cycle is like putting your car in park and pressing the gas to the floor. See how long your car lasts doing that.

The Solution

Since you now realize that you don't procrastinate you're lazy, but rather because you're avoiding the discomfort of not knowing where to start or the anxiety of potentially failing, you now know the overcoming procrastination isn't what you expected.

If you continue to push yourself with guilt, anxiety and self-criticism after you procrastinate, you're actually perpetuating a cycle of more procrastination.

Instead, you need to follow these 3 steps:

1. Self-Compassion

Ask yourself: "What is it about this task that makes me anxious?" "What is it that I fear will happen?"

I'm sure the answer will be something you can identify as potentially frightening, and you can tell yourself it's understandable why you're feeling anxiety.

If instead you've spread yourself too thin, consider asking yourself "What have I been postponing lately?" and "What has all this work allowed me to avoid?". Sometimes we fill our schedules as a way to avoid the work that really matters.

And if you don't know where to start, acknowledge that although you don't know exactly where to start, you probably have a hunch or where you could start. Often times perfectionists procrastinate because they fear starting in the wrong place, and so they get stuck in analysis paralysis. Acknowledge the perfectionism and choose imperfect progress.

2. Self-Encouragement

Think of the times you've succeeded in the past. Remind yourself that even if you do fail, or start in the wrong place, you'll survive and you'll learn from it, just as you have up until now.

Secondly, remind yourself that procrastination is failure by default. The regret of "what if I tried?" is a much harder pill to swallow than the disappointment of "I tried and didn't achieve what I wanted."

3. Self-Discipline

Move towards the discomfort. Action comes before motivation, especially when you're doing something uncomfortable.

I promise, if you just take some small steps, you'll build momentum, you'll show yourself you're capable of keeping your word, and you'll build grit, you'll build up your discomfort threshold.

Building your self-trust and grit will allow you to not only take more action with less hesitation, but bigger and riskier actions. And that's when you'll find yourself utilizing more and more of your potential, on an upwards spiral my friend.

Now, imagine how much more productive you'd be if you were able to put down the anxiety of always having to be productive and never make mistakes, and you were able to use your creativity and natural enthusiasm to work from a place of curiosity and flow?

It's possible for you.

If you're done, actually done with being frustrated and angry at yourself for wasting time again and again on things that are really important to you, click here, and I'll give you a free coaching session to break this cycle of procrastination and guilt.

79 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page