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Now that working from home is the norm and we draw closer to exam season, you may find the usual surge in articles such as ‘Procrastination Tips’ and ‘How to Avoid Procrastination’ appearing in your feeds. However, before jumping into some new strategies it is first worth developing a little bit of awareness about what procrastination means to you and whether it serves a valid purpose in your life.


Procrastination is the act of delaying or putting off a behaviour, often a ‘work’ related task. There are also lots of illustrative phrases that try to capture the meaning of procrastination such as ‘procrastination is the killer of time’ and ‘procrastination is the gap between intention and action.’

In short procrastination happens when an individual has acknowledged that a task should / needs to be done (note these are negative motivation words) but actually getting started on the task feels difficult because avoidance behaviours take priority.


In his book, The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done, Piers Steel goes further to define the separate parts of procrastination:

Motivation = (expectancy x value) / (impulsiveness x delay)

By defining procrastination in this way it allows you to look at the different aspects of procrastination that affect you – as different people procrastinate for different reasons.


There are a wealth of articles out there criticising and shaming procrastination without recognising that it does have some benefits – some of the time. Being aware of these benefits is important because it may be the case that your brand of procrastination is actually serving a valid purpose in your work flow:


Destructive may seem like an intense word to use for putting things off – but the knock on effects can be quite damaging when procrastination is a regular habit:


Having seen the pros and cons of procrastination it is worth noting that procrastination can sometimes serve a very valid purpose in your life and work flow. So the real question to ask yourself is:

What impact is procrastination having on my life?

Learning to develop this self awareness is essential for either accepting and owning the patterns that work for you or recognising the changes you want to make to a healthier and more productive you.


If you notice that elements of your procrastination are not working for you then the good news is that there are lots of things you can do to start tackling procrastination:


If you want to understand your work patterns better and get more out of your day, The Self Leadership Initiative provides bespoke training and workshops to individuals and teams. Get in touch today to find out how self motivation, time management, goal setting and workspace planning can help you to achieve your goals.