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  • The Mind Body Foundation

Procrastination - An emotional regulation problem

We all have been in situations where we planned to carry out a task but ended up putting it off for later. For eg: You pick up your phone to reply to your work emails but ended up scrolling on social media for the next 30 minutes.

We procrastinate. Even as we are scrolling on social media instead of replying to emails, we are aware that we are avoiding a task that we intended to carry out and that this is not going to be helpful for us. This seemingly harmless activity can soon turn into chronic procrastination.

When this happens, we are more likely to make sense of procrastination as a time management problem or lack of self-control or poor scheduling, etc., however, it is not.

Dr. Timothy. A. Pychyl states that, “Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem.” The emotions we feel while carrying out the task, thoughts about our ability to carry out the task which in turn influences our emotional state, deeper feelings evoked in us related to the task such as self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety or insecurity play a major role in the whether we carry out the planned activity or procrastinate.

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