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Procrastination Definition

Posted on January 20th, 2010 - last modified on February 6th, 2010

If you look up the word “procrastination” in a dictionary you will surely find a simple explanation that goes something like this:

Merriam-Webster:  “To put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.”

TheFreeDictionary.com:  “To postpone or delay needlessly.”

Dictionary.com:  “To put off till another day or time; defer; delay.”

These definitions are simplified explanations of a complicated issue.

Firstly, procrastination is not the result of lacking time management skills.  If that were the case then procrastinators could easily overcome their problems by getting a daily planner.  But even with proper planning and a well thought out To Do list, procrastination would almost certainly persist.

Secondly, and contrary to many popular definitions of the word, procrastination is not laziness.  Many of the worlds procrastinators are not lazy people, quite the opposite; many are highly successful people with busy lives.

To properly define procrastination, one must understand the causes of the problem: fear of the unknown, fear of a negative outcome, perfectionism, and even rebellion are among the most common.

It is often the case that the delayed tasks are ones that the procrastinator perceives to be unpleasant.  This is key to understanding what procrastination is all about.

Most people procrastinate because it offers them comfort and relief from having to undergo an unpleasant task.  Everybody encounters unpleasant tasks in their lives and everybody procrastinates from time to time.

A chronic procrastinator is a person who has mastered their ability to justify why something can or should be delayed, often deciding illegitimately that they cannot begin a task due to external forces beyond their control.

At StopProcrastinating.net, we define procrastination as follows…

The Definition of Procrastination:

A chronic habit  (caused primarily by fear or discomfort) of illegitimately justifying to oneself that a task does not, should not, or cannot be started now.

Overcoming procrastination can be a difficult process, especially if the person has been a chronic procrastinator for many years.  It is difficult for one to change when they are set in their ways and willpower is often not enough.

StopProcrastinating.net offers a 21-day program specifically designed to break the habit of procrastination.  For more information please follow this link for information on how to stop procrastinating.

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