Procrastination: why putting off is such a turn off
Raj Persaud explains the psychology behind procrastination and gives advice on how to stop putting your life on hold and get on with it instead
We have all done it--put off doing boring discharge summaries, avoided starting revising for exams which are drawing ever nearer, or procrastinated resubmitting that research paper.
Psychologists have become interested in this widespread phenomenon in recent years because of its deep effects on our lives. The technical definition of procrastination is “to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.”
There are two main theories as to why we procrastinate. One reason is “fear of failure”--we are worried we aren't going to do the task particularly well and so put if off and prefer to do things we are better at (such as watching television or playing football).
The other main reason is labelled “task aversion,” or to put this in non-jargon--we hate doing it because it is an awful bind compared with something more enjoyable such as watching television or playing