Causes of Procrastination


Procrastination is holding up and putting off activities until the set minute or beyond the set deadline (Lokwani and Ahuja 112-122). Mostly, it is viewed to be troublesome to the academic, life, and general well-being of people. Moreover, procrastination is connected with numerous harmful elements, such as a rapid decrease in academic performance, high levels of stress, and feeble mental health. Unfortunately, procrastination is caused by various phenomena such as perfectionism and fear of failure, fear of the unknown, lack of motivation, and multiple distractions, which result in unpleasant outcomes.

Causes of Procrastination

Perfectionism and Fear of Frustration

Procrastination may arise in an individual due to the acute anxiety of trying to put everything together in place. For instance, at the University of Louisiana, a college student of the College of Business and Social Sciences feared succeeding in his graduate school, according to their dean, William McCown (Ashworth et al. 454-459). After going through therapeutical sessions, it was discovered that he had developed speech and thinking inhibition and utmost emotions. Therefore, William McCown states that many clients with persistent procrastination often prefer seeking guidance and counseling services due to depression, marital challenges, drug and substance abuse, anxiety, and work accomplishment issues.

In addition, many perfectionists struggle with the consequences of perfectionism, such as anxiety and fear; hence, resolving to commit suicide, according to the study carried out by the Western Ontario University. It was found that around fifty percent of individuals who committed suicide revealed a strong desire to be perfect since they often lay down impracticable presuppositions. As a result, they struggle to fulfill them (Yosopov).

Fear of the Undisclosed

At other times, individuals decide to cancel their plans since they become unsettled by what they will face. This cause is mostly related to health cases and issues since they have no deadline, making someone solely decide when to perform the action. As a result, there come negative consequences whereby one may die due to delaying health complications since the problems do not disappear easily. Therefore, procrastination greatly influences the life of people because they decide to postpone their issues and use a lot of mental energy instead of sorting out their health problems (Alblwi et al. 1-18).

Lack of Motivation

Some people may tend to delay carrying out their tasks since they may not be interested in them, or the activities are of not much importance to them. Consequently, they decide to do what is more pleasing to them but less important. Additionally, procrastination is mostly controlled by the surrounding of a person, chiefly when there exist other procrastinators who affect their colleagues or fellow students through pre-owned procrastination. Similarly, people have encountered these challenges due to the misalignment of their tasks to be done with their set priorities (Alblwi et al.). Hence, the lack of motivation results in poor performance of an individual at home, the workplace, or at the educational institution. Lack of motivation also denies one various professional opportunities since employers mostly prefer to employ and promote employees with high motivation. It is also applicable to better academic performance.

Many Distractions

Procrastination occurs when numerous distractions eventually prevent one from fully concentrating on a specific task. This is a challenge, especially for people working in the present-day environment, because they are exposed to smartphones and unbound internet access; hence, they have difficulties concentrating on working rather than being entertained. Consequently, procrastination leads to negative consequences on individual well-being and production. For instance, students who prefer being engaged in entertainment rather than carrying out academic activities are more likely to perform poorly in their papers due to their late submission of assignments than those who focus only on academic studies (Teng et al. 152-160).

Low Self Confidence

Low self-criticism and self-esteem result from loneliness, psychologically distant guardians, condemnatory parents, alcoholic parents, and lower self-esteemed parents throughout one’s childhood (Yang et al. 1-15). Therefore, children cannot fully understand that their surroundings cannot provide adequate emotional support. Hence, they feel angry and hurt since they are not getting the affection, attention, and affection they require. As a result, they pull back their anger into themselves to keep themselves safe and interested when the need for their perfection from parents fails.

Poor Organizational Skills

This cause of procrastination happens mostly among students since they cannot prioritize their tasks well. Therefore, they tend to carry out the easiest activities first, even if they are urgently needed (Saplavska et al.). As a result, the most difficult tasks begin piling up, leading to a dispersed schedule and a misinterpretation of which task is to be tackled first or last. Disorganization is brought about by huge chunks of work that cannot be portioned and tackling new opportunities first, then resuming the most urgent task. In addition, procrastinators believe that they can accommodate many tasks in their memories more than they do. They always think they can recall every task ahead of them, including the exam dates and project completion deadlines. Unfortunately, many procrastinators do not admit to forgetting their tasks due to their poor organizational skills.


When individuals become depressed, they always tend to lose interest in the activities that they carry out in their normal routines. Therefore, when one ought to be present at work or class, they may hesitate to be committed since they may fear that they will not feel like doing it when the time comes. For instance, an employed person with children, who likes reading books, novels, and gardening, is mostly subjected to depression, being worn out, and emotionally distressed (Kinik et al. 638-649). Depressed individuals tend to believe that people with the best working skills or the best academic performance are always confident and accomplish their goals easily since they do not feel that they will succeed. On the other hand, successful individuals always think that they are going through difficult moments, frustrations, and misfortunes at their workplaces and learning institutions.

Emotional Regulation Difficulties

The difficulty in emotion regulation is mostly associated with academic performance procrastination when individuals are faced with aversive and difficult tasks; hence, preferring to regulate the negative emotions of the activity instead of focusing on achieving their goals. According to a study carried out by students of the Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, procrastinators fail to regulate emotions. They are incorporated with various strategies that monitor and modify the duration, extent, emotional responses, and expression of their feelings (Mohammadi et al. 1922).

Exhaustion and Anxiety

Employees or students may get exhausted at their workplaces and learning institutions, hence, outweighing their control and motivation, resulting from inadequate support from colleagues and poor working and learning environments. In addition, workers or students may be afraid of getting negative results in their work outcomes and academic results.

A Problematic Working and Learning Environment

Individuals usually unnecessarily procrastinate due to poor working and learning environments, such as using the workplace internet for social media entertainment, watching funny videotapes, playing video games and storytelling at the workplace, or skiving classes for entertainment students.


A person may procrastinate due to challenges within the management system in a learning institution or workplace. For instance, harassment from supervisors and managers may make one lose morale in working perfectly and completing tasks right on time. In addition, employees may be receiving delayed and poor payments, which may make them procrastinate to carry out their duties when the managing team is not around or cancel the tasks as they wait for better payments. Similarly, students in learning institutions may prefer tackling their assignments later in case they find out that they are difficult to handle (Laybourn et al. 2325).


In conclusion, procrastination results from numerous causes such as distraction, perfection, fear of frustrations, fear of the unknown, lack of motivation, depression, and lack of confidence. Those causes lead to negative implications on the outcome of tasks carried out at work and academic performance. Therefore, procrastination hinders an individual from excelling in the workplace to higher ranks, flourishing in training sessions, and developing a positive character. However, it is advisable to avoid these causes of procrastination by eliminating distractions, setting goals, and self-motivation.


Alblwi, Abdulaziz, et al. “Procrastination on social media: predictors of types, triggers and acceptance of countermeasures.” Social Network Analysis and Mining 11.1 (2021): 1-18.

Alblwi, Abdulaziz, et al. “Procrastination on social networks: Types and triggers.” 2019 6th International Conference on Behavioral, Economic and Socio-Cultural Computing (BESC). IEEE, 2019.

Ashworth, Burt, and William McCown. “Trait procrastination, hoarding, and continuous performance attention scores.” Current Psychology 37.2 (2018): 454-459.

Kınık, Özge, and Hatice Odacı. “Effects of dysfunctional attitudes and depression on academic procrastination: does self-esteem have a mediating role?.” British Journal of Guidance & Counselling 48.5 (2020): 638-649.

Lokwani, B., & Ahuja, B. S. (2020). Procrastination amongst the Dentists–Mother of all the Evils. World Journal of Advanced Scientific Research3(4), 112-122.

Mohammadi Bytamar, Jahangir, Omid Saed, and Sahel Khakpoor. “Emotion regulation difficulties and academic procrastination.” Frontiers in Psychology (2020): 2922.

Saplavska, Jelena, and Aleksandra Jerkunkova. “Academic procrastination and anxiety among students.” Engineering for rural development-International Scientific Conference 2018. 2018.

Teng, Felianne, and Yu Sun. “Devising An Application to Decrease Procrastination.” J. Comput. 14.3 (2019): 152-160.

Yang, Xiantong, et al. “The relations between academic procrastination and self-esteem in adolescents: A longitudinal study.” Current Psychology (2021): 1-15.

Yosopov, Lital. “The Relationship between Perfectionism and Procrastination: Examining Trait and Cognitive Conceptualizations, and the Mediating Roles of Fear of Failure and Overgeneralization of Failure.” (2020).

Author: Mark Robson
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