Why we procrastinate when we have an approaching writing deadline

05 Sep 2019


Have you ever had a deadline you needed to meet, but found yourself doing anything and everything, except for what you are supposed to be doing? You know you should be writing that final chapter of your book that is due in a few days, but instead you are making yourself busy by cleaning out your closets.

Yep! Procrastination. We are all guilty of it at some point(s) in our lives.

But, why do we procrastinate?  Is it because we are lazy? Is it due to poor time management skills?

According to this great article from The New York Times, neither of those things are to blame. Believe it or not, procrastination actually stems from the negative feelings that we have in regards to certain tasks. We know that we are avoiding writing that final chapter, and are fully aware of the consequences of not making our deadlines. Yet, we do it anyway.

Yes, in essence, by procrastinating we are self-sabotaging. So, why do we keep doing it?

It turns out that procrastination is generally the result of our inability to properly manage our negative feelings. If you are feeling stressed about finishing your book, and nervous about the next steps in the publishing process, your brain can easily convince itself that putting your book aside and rearranging the furniture instead is a good idea.

Our procrastination does not serve us well, though, because it only causes more stress and anxiety when we have to return to the task at hand. And those added negative feelings only make us want to procrastinate even further.

While it all sounds like a vicious, never-ending cycle, there is a way out. According to the NYT article, the answer lies in re-programing our brains to identify the negative feelings that we are having in response to a certain task. Once we acknowledge those negative feelings, we must practice self-compassion to get to the bottom of why we are feeling that way. Only then can we forgive our negative feelings and focus on the positive outcomes to come, once we finish our tasks. 

Watercooler Writer 
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