The many faces of procrastination
We all know and experience it: delaying tasks that we are supposed to do, but we feel held back. It is remarkable for how many different reasons a person can feel held back.
Scientific research gives a lot of reasons. Lack of self-control and difficulty tempering certain emotions are big reasons that other researchers found.
But what does that even mean exactly…
In the hunger for knowing more, I decided to find people who were willing to share the thoughts in their mind when they postpone their tasks. The combination of talking to people and translating scientific research into human thought patterns led me to the list of thought patterns I created to conduct this research.
Do you also relate to the thoughts that came out as the most common?
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When do people procrastinate
With the open question “When do you tend to procrastinate the most?” the following information was found:
Men mostly say to procrastinate in their education (3), work (5) or in both (1). They were accompanied by 10 women, giving these reasons as well.
Women gave a variety of different answers of which these where most said:
Reasons connected to time management like working with(out) deadlines and busier schedules (23).
Reasons connected to Fear, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed (21).
19 women say they always procrastinate.
Procrastinating in boring or unimportant tasks and when they don’t want to do something (12).
187 people of which 21 men and 166 women
30% in the age of 18-25
37% in the age of 25-30
23% in the age of 30-35
11% in the age of 35-40
These people were found in Facebook Groups that attract people who stay in foreign countries, who are travelling around or who have a passion for travelling. In 2 of the four groups starting an (online) business is part of why people come together in these groups.
The expectation is that these people come from a lot of different countries and have different cultural backgrounds.
The questionnaire these women filled in existed of thought patterns, just like they are mentioned here. These where the thoughts most women could either completely relate to, or relate to a lot.
Men were given the same thought patterns.
Procrastination thoughts women
I simply don’t know where to start, my concentration drifts away, jumps from one thing into the other and there’s just so many ideas and information (111).
I can hardly motivate myself to work on it, the pressure is just so much, I have to be successful otherwise everything goes to shit. I fear I will not be successful enough (91).
I feel like I’m constantly searching for relief. The weight of everything that is going on is becoming too heavy and I just need a break in between. The stupid thing is, that after my breaks I feel a new pressure because I didn’t do my obligations and I fall behind schedule (87).
I’ve only recently started to really look at what I want in my life. I don’t like my current job and it made me insecure about what is supposed to be my next step. How can I use the experience I’ve built so far, while I want a completely different career? (65)
The questionnaire these men filled in existed of thought patterns, just like they are mentioned here. These where the thoughts most men could either completely relate to, or relate to a lot.
Women were given the same thought patterns.
Procrastination thoughts men
When I work on something I’m constantly distracted. there are too many thoughts in my head and it’s hard to ignore them or clear them out. Exercising works, but the thoughts come back when I’m done. And with meditating my mind gets boring (11).
When I try to work on something important I sometimes get held back by my body. The energy is not there, while my mind wants to get things going. It frustrates me a lot because the only thing that seems to help is to rest, which is precisely not what I want to do (10).
I simply don’t know where to start, my concentration drifts away, jumps from one thing into the other and there’s just so many ideas and information (10).
I’ve only recently started to really look at what I want in my life. I don’t like my current job and it made me insecure about what is supposed to be my next step. How can I use the experience I’ve built so far, while I want a completely different career? (6)
This research was conducted in July 2020 by the founder of Entreprenality; Gina Schlee. It was used as a starting point to create the Entreprenality Platform with information and tools meant for people who can relate to the patterns behind that surface called procrastination.