Chronic Procrastination – Understanding Its Impact and Strategies to Overcome It

Benjamin Bonetti Therapy Online Coaching

Chronic procrastination can affect anyone, from young professionals to adults experiencing mid-life transitions or significant life events.

It may seem like a harmless habit, but it can have far-reaching consequences on various aspects of our lives. Here we will help you understand the implications of chronic procrastination and offer practical strategies to overcome it, so you can achieve your goals and lead a more productive, fulfilling life.

The Impact of Chronic Procrastination

Chronic procrastination is not just a minor annoyance; it can have serious consequences on our mental health, relationships, and professional success. Some of the potential impacts include:

  1. Increased Stress and Anxiety: Constantly delaying tasks can lead to mounting stress and anxiety. For example, if you regularly put off studying for exams, you may find yourself cramming the night before, resulting in heightened stress levels and reduced overall performance.

  2. Poor Performance: Procrastination can result in subpar work or missed deadlines. For instance, if you consistently wait until the last minute to start a work project, you may be unable to complete it to the best of your abilities or submit it on time, potentially harming your professional reputation and career prospects.

  3. Strained Relationships: Constantly putting off tasks can cause tension and conflict in personal and professional relationships. For example, if you habitually procrastinate on household chores, your partner may feel resentful and overburdened, leading to arguments and a strained relationship.

  4. Lower Self-Esteem: Chronic procrastination can erode our self-confidence and sense of accomplishment. For instance, if you continually delay working on a personal goal, such as losing weight or learning a new skill, you may start to doubt your abilities and feel frustrated with your lack of progress.

Identifying the Causes of Chronic Procrastination

  1. Fear of Failure: Procrastination may be a way to avoid facing the possibility of failure. For example, you may put off applying for a promotion because you're afraid of not getting it and feeling disappointed or embarrassed.

  2. Perfectionism: The desire to produce perfect work can paralyse us. For instance, if you're working on a presentation and continually revise it, searching for the perfect wording or visuals, you may never complete it or waste valuable time that could have been spent on other tasks.

  3. Lack of Motivation: We may procrastinate when we are not genuinely interested in a task. For example, if you're assigned a project at work that doesn't align with your interests or values, you may find it difficult to muster the motivation to complete it promptly.

  4. Poor Time Management: Difficulty prioritising tasks or accurately estimating the time needed to complete them can lead to procrastination. For instance, if you spend excessive time on low-priority tasks, you may find yourself scrambling to finish high-priority tasks at the last minute.

Strategies to Overcome Chronic Procrastination

  1. Break Tasks into Smaller Steps: Divide larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps. For example, if you need to write a report, break it down into steps like researching, outlining, writing, and editing.

  2. Set Realistic Deadlines: Create specific, achievable deadlines for your tasks. For instance, instead of setting a vague goal to "finish the report this week," commit to completing specific sections by particular dates.

  3. Prioritise Tasks: Determine which tasks are most important or time-sensitive and focus on completing those first. For example, if you have a tight deadline for a work assignment and a more flexible deadline for a personal project, prioritise the work assignment to ensure timely completion.

  4. Manage Perfectionism: Recognise that perfection is unattainable and strive for progress rather than perfection. For instance, if you're working on a painting, accept that it may have flaws and focus on learning from the experience rather than obsessing over every detail.

  5. Develop a Routine: Establish a daily routine that incorporates dedicated time for work, breaks, and leisure activities. For example, you might set aside specific hours for focused work, regular breaks for exercise or relaxation, and time in the evening for hobbies or socialising.

  6. Seek Support: Share your goals and struggles with friends, family, or a professional therapist who can offer encouragement, guidance, and accountability. For instance, if you're trying to overcome procrastination related to exercise you might enlist a workout buddy who can help keep you motivated and accountable for sticking to your fitness routine.


Chronic procrastination can have far-reaching consequences on our mental health, relationships, and professional success.

By understanding the underlying causes of procrastination and implementing practical strategies to overcome it, we can take control of our lives and achieve our goals.

Remember, the journey to overcoming chronic procrastination is a process, and it requires patience, self-compassion, and persistence. 

Online Mental Health Treatments - Click Here
Professional References:


  1. Ferrari, J. R., Johnson, J. L., & McCown, W. G. (1995). Procrastination and task avoidance: Theory, research, and treatment. Plenum Press.

  2. Steel, P. (2007). The nature of procrastination: A meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure. Psychological Bulletin, 133(1), 65-94.

  3. Tice, D. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (1997). Longitudinal study of procrastination, performance, stress, and health: The costs and benefits of dawdling. Psychological Science, 8(6), 454-458.

  4. Sirois, F. M. (2014). Procrastination and stress: Exploring the role of self-compassion. Self and Identity, 13(2), 128-145.

  5. Pychyl, T. A., & Flett, G. L. (2012). Procrastination and self-regulatory failure: An introduction to the special issue. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 30(4), 203-212.

  6. Knaus, W. J. (2000). Procrastination, blame, and change. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15(5), 153-166.

Related Articles