Why We Procrastinate

By the Numbers

When most people think about why they procrastinate they immediately say they procrastinate because the task is too difficult or because of a lack of interest.

However, the one I hear the most, especially in the business world, is that people procrastinate because of due dates. In my book, “Life’s Leadership Lessons”, I tell the story of Carolyn Reese of 3M. She was taking part in a focus group I was conducting in my Vendor Development role at Kmart.

The focus group was discussing a request Kmart was making to receive some information from the vendors. The group could not decide on a deadline when Carolyn broke the stalled debate.

“You know you can ask for the information this Friday, next Friday, or three weeks from Friday,” Carolyn said. “The truth is whatever day you ask for it I’m not going to work on it until it’s due”

Many are motivated by deadlines. Just ask postal workers on April 15! Although due dates, disinterest, and difficulty are valid reasons, there are many others, some not as noticeable. One is a lack of organization. It is very difficult to be motivated for a task if it is difficult to find the tools, reports, information, materials, or other items required to successfully perform a task. Fortunately, this is something easily resolved by time management’s unique technique Shutter Clutter.

Another reason we do not often admit is the distraction of other work. We want to do one task but the burden of thoughts about another task prevents us from focusing on the task at hand. Again, Shutter Clutter will help reduce this factor’s impact on procrastination.

There are more reasons we procrastinate, but these are among the most common.