Why You Put Things Off Until the Last Minute
Most of us procrastinate and assume it’s normal behavior. But sometimes, “putting it off” can point to a larger issue.
December 4, 2022
It’s the end of your workday and you’re staring at the to-do list you made earlier. You have one project at the bottom of the list that you’ve been putting off. It’s already late—you still haven’t gotten to it.
You tell yourself you’ll tackle the item tomorrow. You become increasingly frustrated with yourself for not getting it done.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.
Almost everyone procrastinates at one point or another. For many, the issue doesn’t interfere with their quality of life. But if you find yourself continually procrastinating, and then regretting it, you could be caught in a negative cycle.
It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you delay tasks, either at home or in the workplace. But do you deserve self-criticism—or is your procrastination pointing to something more serious?
It’s important to know that procrastination is not your fault. There are reasons we engage in this behavior, and there are ways we can address it.
Keep Reading To Learn
- Why we delay important tasks by procrastinating
- How procrastination is linked to mental health
- How to overcome procrastination
What Is Procrastination?
Experts define procrastination as a self-defeating behavior pattern marked by short-term benefits and long-term costs. Many of us know it as putting off things that we need to get done, no matter the level of difficulty behind the task.
We all procrastinate from time to time. However, when we develop a habit of putting off necessary actions, even when we face negative consequences, procrastination can affect our well-being.
According to a 2014 study on procrastination and coping, 20-25% of adults worldwide are chronic procrastinators. The issue can be linked to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, ADHD, and poor study habits.
Procrastination is connected to negative functioning and risks to mental health. People who procrastinate tend to have high levels of anxiety as well as poor impulse control.
Procrastination is even linked to physical illness. People who procrastinate experience more stress and tend to delay treatments—which can create a cycle of poor health due to just putting things off.